Switzerland, and especially Lausanne, have long been recognised for high-quality teaching. Thanks to excellent funding and working conditions, the University of Lausanne ranks consistently among the best in the world. Post-graduate programmes are especially responsible for the city’s and university’s outstanding academic reputation.
The LL.M in International and European Economic and Commercial Law is a perfect illustration of the well-balanced mix of academic excellence and practical application the University of Lausanne has always promoted through its courses. Created some 20 years ago, this LL.M has never ceased to evolve to truly mirror the ever changing nature of international regulations, constantly adapting to new global parameters to make sure students taking the course are well prepared to face the challenges of economic and commercial law. Professor Andreas R. Ziegler, one of the academic directors of the programme, knew from the start how he wanted to shape the programme, ensuring that it gave the students the tools they needed “in order to be truly successful in this global economy”.
In the arena
A lawyer specialised in economic law himself, Andreas R. Ziegler embodies what the LL.M tries to achieve, having served in the Swiss administration as a high-level civil servant. He held several delegate mandates for the WTO, UNCTAD, OECD and the European Union where he took part in Switzerland’s bilateral negotiations. Having navigated through a wide spectrum of international organisations, Ziegler occupied a first row seat to witness the spectacular evolution of international relations, and points out how the LL.M took great care in incorporating these developments in the programme’s syllabus. “The LL.M initially focused largely on Europe for its first ten years, at a time when the area was experiencing a massive transition period with the downfall of the USSR and the birth of new countries and new economies,” he notes. “The 2000s saw the programme rightly become more global, acknowledging the rise of emerging economies in Latin America and Asia. For the past five years, the LL.M has accentuated this global focus, rebalancing its European and global contents, introducing courses on BRIC countries.” Abandoning teaching in French, part of the programme was a deliberate decision made to reflect the clear international orientation of the programme, as well as to not discourage foreign students.
It is a testimony to the programme and its administrators’ open-mindedness that this LL.M welcomes individuals from all around the world. With an average age of 27, they are all graduate students who have already enjoyed a few years of professional experience. Some of them are at a more advanced stage in their career, and have decided to take upon the LL.M to boost it and broaden their horizon. They benefit from the programme’s ideal blend of academia and practice, something the LL.M administrators are very attached to. “We want to give them the right exposure, and allow them to meet as many practitioners as possible,” confirms Andreas R. Ziegler, who points out the advantage of being based in a region that enjoys a cluster of organisations and corporations that all have to deal with international regulations. “Thanks to our contacts and expert collaborations with international organisations, law firms and multinationals located in Lausanne and Geneva, we are able to invite speakers on a very regular basis and provide our students with first-hand experiences.” Many of them go on to take a traineeship in Geneva or elsewhere in Europe, be it in international organisations, law firms or international corporations. A fair share also go back to their native countries where they are usually rapidly allowed to take on senior level positions within national administrations.
Far from being restricted to the sole area of law practice, the programme is global and well-thought enough to allow for a wide range of possibilities once the students obtain the LL.M. In that respect, the programme compares well with other LL.Ms in Switzerland. The University of Bern offers one essentially focused on training civil servants while in Geneva the focus is on arbitration and tax law. The LL.M offered by the University of Lausanne is unique in the sense that it stands in the middle of these rather specialised programmes, enabling the students that take this course to broaden their horizons and choice possibilities. On the practical side, the programme can be taken in one-year of full time studies (September to June) or in two years of part-time studies, for example while working in a related field (law firm, internship etc.) as the programme is made up of specialised modules which can easily be planned in advance. The courses are given by a team of distinguished academics and experienced practitioners working in the Government, in major international law firms and international organisations in Geneva as well as the EU institutions in Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg, preparing the students to become highlyskilled experts and decision makers in international law firms, multinational enterprises, civil service, international organisations and academia.
The LL.M. in International and European Economic and Commercial Law (Master of Advanced Studies) has been designed for commercial or economic lawyers who want to distinguish themselves and pursue a carrier in one of the Swiss-based international organisations focused on trade law and economic governance or in multinational enterprises, international law firms, diplomatic services, EU institutions or academia. The degree grants 60 ECTS credits, which results in one year of full time studies.
However, it is possible to complete the programme on a part-time basis, which will allow students to be employed at the same time and avail themselves of the many great employment opportunities in the Lake Geneva region. Furthermore students may personalise their study plans and take courses “à la carte”.
You will find more information about the LL.M. on www.unil.ch/llm
Andreas R. Ziegler
- 1995: Doctorate from the University of St. Gallen
- 1996: Postdoctoral research at Georgetown University Law Center, Washington
- 1998 to 2003: Working for several Swiss Ministries, EFTA Secretariat and European Commission
- 2003: Appointed Professor of Law at the University of Lausanne
- 2006 to 2010: Vice Dean of the Law Faculty at the University of Lausanne Currently Co-Director of the LL.M in International Economic and Commercial Law
Article by Lauriane Zonco