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Vermont Law School Graduate Passes Paris Bar

June 1, 2009

SOUTH ROYALTON, Vt.- Eliza Meeker of Washington, D.C., has become the first Vermont Law School graduate to pass the Paris Bar exam, thanks to a unique dual-degree program VLS offers in partnership with the University of Cergy-Pontoise, home to one of France's top law schools.

Through this program, Meeker earned a JD degree from Vermont Law School and a Masters I droit des affaires from Cergy-Pontoise. All classes at Cergy were in French, and Meeker passed with honors both semesters. Meeker fulfilled the experiential learning component of the dual-degree program through a stage, or internship, at the Paris office of the international law firm Salans.

The Paris Bar exam Meeker took is a rigorous, multi-day experience of both written and oral exams in French law, practice, and procedure for lawyers who are already licensed to practice in a foreign jurisdiction. Professor Stephanie Farrior, director of International and Comparative Law Programs at Vermont Law School, says, "Eliza's accomplishment is all the more notable because she may have been the only non-EU foreign lawyer to take the exam who was not already practicing law through another jurisdiction. Eliza had previously passed the New York bar, and went straight from her law studies to taking the Paris Bar."

Meeker had set her sights on this qualification during her first year at Vermont Law School and came to the program after many years of living abroad and with fluency in both French and Japanese. She had spent several summers in France and Belgium while a high school student, and prior to enrolling at VLS in 2004 taught English in Japan for 10 years. Meeker is currently interviewing for positions with law firms in Paris and has also recently been admitted to the Washington, D.C. bar. She says of her law school experience, "VLS's dual-degree program and the Paris Bar were my dream. So now I am living my dream."

Students like Meeker, who wish to study foreign legal systems or international law through Vermont Law School, have an extensive array of options from which to choose. Programs range in duration from two weeks to two years abroad and take place in leading law schools, including McGill (Canada), Cambridge (England), Trento (Italy), Cergy-Pontoise (France), Seville (Spain), and Sun Yat-sen (China). Recognizing the increasing globalization of law practice and the demand for lawyers well-versed in multiple legal systems, VLS also offers students the opportunity to pursue an international semester in practice at law firms, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and international tribunals worldwide.

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