For outsiders, studying law might seem like a grueling series of Jedi Mind Tricks, including memorization of dense case law, statutes and legal theory. But, Anglo-American University Law School (in Prague) lecturer James Heller really knows how to engage the minds of young Jedis and law students.

His course “Legal English/Law in Action” focuses on practical training, based on real-world legal scenarios, which prepares future lawyers to take on any challenge ahead.

In celebration of “May the Fourth” (which is also known as Star Wars Day), Anglo-American University law students take part in a simulated negotiation which mirrors closely to George Lucas' legendary Star Wars negotiation with 20th Century Fox Studios, which ultimately helped George Lucas become a billionaire. This is an example of the practical training that law students go through on a frequent basis at the John H. Carey II School of Law.  

Most students in Mr. Heller’s class are from the Certificate of Higher Education in Common Law program, such as Darja Kedrinskij, a student from Russia. Despite not being a native English speaker, Darja shows great confidence and makes convincing arguments throughout the negotiation.

I’ve never felt disadvantaged as a non-native English speaker when negotiating,” says Darja. “Your language skill isn’t as important. What matters is that you aren’t shy to speak up regardless of making mistakes.” Mr. Heller says it is mistakes which allow for some of the greatest learning opportunities.

During the “Star Wars negotiation,” students are judged based on their planning, ethics, creativity, and teamwork. Christopher Guenev, who is on exchange from the University of South Carolina, is a member of the winning team. Christopher takes the class because he believes that the legal knowledge would benefit him in his future career.

“I felt in control of the negotiation which paid off for my team in the long run,” says Christopher. “The most challenging part of the negotiation was coming to an agreement within the time frame that was given. I was thinking about a win-win scenario, rather than trying to beat down the other team.” Mr. Heller says a successful negotiation is one where both sides can walk away from the negotiation feeling good about the deal.

Mr. Heller did a good job illustrating examples for the class which helped immensely,” says Christopher, stressing the importance of hands-on learning experience in class. “It was actually pretty fun for me and increased my desire to keep learning about law.”

The Certificate of Higher Education in Common Law is designed to support the early stages of laws studies, helping students improve language and writing skills and intellectual development. Anglo-American Law School Dean Carollann Braum says “The Certificate of Higher Education in Common Law program helps build a strong foundation for future Bachelor of Laws (LLB) courses, graduation and a career as a lawyer or in a law-related field.” The Certificate of Higher Education in Common Law at Anglo-American University Law School offers an alternative entry to the study of law; students who successfully complete this certificate are able to progress directly on to the second year of the LLB degree. 

The LLB degree at Anglo-American University Law School is a common law degree offered jointly with the University of London. Graduates of the LLB at Anglo-American University Law School/University of London will have satisfied the academic requirements to become a lawyer, solicitor or barrister in several common law jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Canada, some states in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. In fact, one Anglo-American University alumna named Ido Mashinsky even had his law degree recognized by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, a prerequisite to admission to the Israeli Bar.

The Certificate of Higher Education in Common Law at Anglo-American University Law School (in Prague) is ideal for students and for those who wish to undertake legal studies at a slower pace while building a stronger foundation for Bachelor of Laws course, in cooperation with the University of London.  

Those interested in enrolling on the Certificate of Higher Education in Common Law or the LLB should submit their application directly to Anglo-American University. For more information, check out the law programs offered at AAU:

May the force be with you!

On a related note, Anglo-American University Law School recently established its Legal Institute named “Institute for Anglo American-Central European Business Law.” This institute further strengthens Anglo-American University Law students abilities to engage in experiential and practical learning, utilising their common law education across many jurisdictions.

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Publication date: May 31, 2018