UT, Mexican law school begin partnership

Shamoyita DasGupta

UT law students can earn a dual law degree from the UT School of Law and from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México in Mexico City through a new program currently accepting applications.

Law school Dean Lawrence Sager and Jorge Cerdio, dean of the Department of Law at the Institute, spent several years developing the program, which aims to increase the number of lawyers who are able to practice in both countries.

“In a globalized world, there are more and more legal transactions and interactions,” said UT Law Professor Ariel Dulitzky. “Establishing these types of programs is an idea to prepare first-rate lawyers, both in Mexican law and U.S. law.”

The deans also decided to create the program as a way to strengthen ties between Texas and Mexico.

“We don’t only share the border, but we share a common heritage, history, traditions,” Dulitzky said. “There are a lot of economic interactions between Texas and Mexico, and many Texan law firms have partners or offices in Mexico, so it was very easy for us to make that connection.”

The program will allow participating students to earn their Juris Doctor degree from UT and the Mexican equivalent, a Licenciatura en Derecho, from the Institute. Once students receive both degrees, they will be eligible to sit for the bar exam in the U.S. and apply for a license to practice law in Mexico. It is the first program that links a top-tier U.S. law school to one in a Latin American country.

“I really think it’s a terrific opportunity for students in the program, as well as for citizens in the country, because we’ll be able to achieve greater levels of collaboration,” said Assistant Law School Dean Kirston Fortune.

Students can apply for the program now, and each school will begin offering coursework for students from the other in fall 2012. Students who begin at UT must complete two years at UT and four semesters at the Institute, while students who begin at the Institute must complete four years at the Institute and two years at UT.

Second-year law student Aparna Talluri said although she will not apply to the program, it is a great opportunity for students to learn more about other cultures and thereby further improve their knowledge of the law.

“Because business is crossing national borders, our legal system has to, as well,” she said “If you’re dealing with policies abroad, you need to be well aware of their policies and law[s] in order to be the best lawyer you can be for
your client.”