Wake Forest Law offers students unique study abroad opportunity through new partnership with UIBE School of Law in Beijing, China

Group photo of Thomas Gaffney, Chris Choe and Kelly Donigan studying abroad in Beijing

Second-year JD students Thomas Gaffney, Chris Choe and Kelly Donigan are spending the semester studying at a law school in Beijing.

For the first time in the history of Wake Forest Law, JD students have the opportunity to spend a semester studying at a university in China.

Dean Suzanne Reynolds (JD ’77) has finalized the exchange student agreement with the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) School of Law in downtown Beijing, China.

“We are beyond thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to our JD students through this new partnership,” Reynolds says

Three, second-year Wake Forest Law students — Thomas Gaffney, Kelly Donigan and Chris Choe — are currently in China taking classes.

“For me, this semester is about developing myself as a person and lawyer who will be able to better navigate the ever changing legal field and client demands of tomorrow,” Choe says. “I believe that when you look at the next 20 years of the industry, and compare that to the past 20 years, we’re going to be looking at a different market with all kinds of new issues and tools.”

The Wake Forest Law-UIBE partnership is one of the first of its kind between American and Chinese law schools, according to Professor Andrew Verstein, who was instrumental in bringing the two schools together. In particular, the ability to study abroad during the second year of law school is quite uncommon, and gives students the chance to make international study a central part of their three-year program. Students from UIBE School of Law will also be able to study for a semester at Wake Forest Law.

The program also features a unique internship opportunity during the summer, either with a Chinese law firm or multinational corporation.

“We couldn’t have picked a better partner in terms of schools. UIBE has a terrific dean and renowned faculty. As its name would suggest, the University of International Business and Economics is one of China’s most international programs, both in its offerings and in its student body. UIBE also has particularly strong ties to Chinese businesses and law firms, helping our students to enjoy valuable internships and build lasting ties,” added Verstein, who visited a half-dozen law schools in China.

According to the agreement, up to three students from each institution may participate in any given semester. Exchange students may enroll in any class of interest for which they are qualified, partnering with their home institution to develop a challenging curriculum and ensuring that credits may be transferred back to the home institution.

Another goal of the new partnership is to support academic collaboration between the institutions. Wake Forest Law hopes to implement a faculty exchange program with UIBE Law that will allow professors from each institution to broaden their experiences of academic exploration and collaboration internationally.

Students participating in the program will have numerous opportunities to expand their legal, cultural and economic knowledge in another country, according to Associate Dean of International Affairs Dick Schneider.

“Professor Verstein and I worked hard on this agreement because we believe that Wake Forest Law students need to be given as many opportunities as possible to demonstrate their capabilities in a global legal market.  This is an exciting time to be a lawyer because law is global, and Wake Law strives to introduce that excitement into the lives of our students.”