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Law school’s Egypt program temporarily shut down due to protests

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In light of recent protests in Egypt which have resulted in looting and fires in the streets as demonstrators demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak, the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis program, in association with the Alexandria and Cairo University Faculties of Law has halted operations, at least for the time being.

The only program of its kind in Egypt where an American university teaches courses to students that result in the Egyptian students receiving the same master of laws degree as the students who attend courses at the school’s American campus, cohorts of about 65 students each have started each January since 2008. The 2011 cohort started classes earlier this month.

Frank Emmert, executive director of the law school’s Center for International and Comparative Law and director of the Egypt program, left Cairo on Friday and arrived in Indianapolis Saturday morning. He taught the first block of classes for the Egypt program for almost three weeks, up to and including Thursday, when he expected to leave Cairo due to the instability of the area, but that flight was delayed and he was booked on a Friday flight instead.

He said he did not expect the protests to fizzle out until the president resigned, and added the protestors, mostly middle-class, educated citizens, had grown more confident each day since the violence erupted a week ago.

Swadesh S. Kalsi, a retired attorney who practiced at Krieg DeVault and was scheduled to teach a course in Egypt starting today, left Cairo Sunday. As of this morning, the latest Emmert had heard was that Kalsi and his wife made it to Frankfurt, Germany, but had experienced delays on his flight back to the United States due to the weather. The important thing was that Kalsi was out of Cairo and safe, Emmert said.

While there were no other American professors for the program who were still in Egypt as of today, he said he and others involved in the program were concerned for their Egyptian colleagues.

The unrest in Egypt had been building, Emmert said, partially due to the economy and difficulties faced by the middle class.

Part of the reason for the law school’s program, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development and has received funding for the 2011 cohort of students, was to help the country’s economy by training business lawyers. While many of the students who have started since the program’s first class in 2008 have had a connection to or interest in practicing business law, a large number of students also enrolled due to their interest in rule of law issues, including judges in the court that is equivalent to the federal Circuit courts in the United States.

“They don’t want to do it to help their government, they want to do it to help their country,” he said.

Because courses for the program are taught in blocks, Emmert said those involved with the program have decided to wait and see how things are going closer to mid-February when the next block of classes is scheduled to start.

A more in-depth article about the Egypt program will be published in the Feb. 16-March 1, 2011, print edition of Indiana Lawyer.
 

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  1. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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