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St. Louis Diary

Well, thatís it for 1999.


Well, thatís it for 1999. My first semester in Saint Louis is almost over, the last week of classes was two weeks ago, and now Iím right in between my finals. In total I have four finals and I also wrote a seminar paper on trademarks. Last week I took copyright and cyberlaw and this week I am going to take contracts and commercial transactions. Copyright was a two-hour open book exam, which consisted of two parts, an essay section and a true or false question section. The stile of the questions in the essay section was pretty much comparable to the stile of German essay exam questions, with one big difference though. While in Germany students are required to put themselves into the position of judges and consequently solve the problems of the case, here students have to put themselves in the position of attorneys. Therefore, a typical question would be: "Imagine you are Aís counsel. How will you advise your client in this situation? What defenses will the other side possibly raise?" Accordingly, the answer does not call for a lengthy development of the legal questions, but rather requires to precisely spot the issues of a case, and to state the applicable rule together with a short reasoning.

The cyberlaw exam was a 24 hour take-home examination. We had a three-day time window to pick up the examination from the schools registrar an then to answer and return it within 24 hours. (Delivery via email was possible.) The examination consisted of three essay questions, with a limit of 14 pages for the complete examination. Although 14 pages and 24 hours might not sound too bad it actually is pretty stress full, since one has to do some research, make up oneís mind about the answers and finally type everything.

What else happened during the last weeks? One thing I definitely have to mention is the student appreciation day during the last week of classes. The faculty of the school arranged a breakfast with fresh bagels, orange juice, yogurt, and coffee as well as a pizza dinner for the students. I never heard of something like that in Germany ( and I sometimes even have the feeling that the only thing some German professors appreciate with regard to students is that the contacts are in fact very limited.) However, this is different here and the support professors give to the students during the exam preparation is extraordinary, especially in comparison to German standards. Review sessions outside the regular class schedule are nothing unusual and every professor reminds you several times, not to hesitate with contacting him with any question regarding the exam. My commercial transactions professor even gave his private telephone number to the class ("But donít call before six in the morning and after 2 at night or I get terribly mad...")

Another thing I donít want to forget is "turkey day" - Thanksgiving, which was during the last week of November. My mentor Professor Nevins and his wife invited me to a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, and I guess this is the right place to give them thanks for the invitation and the pleasant afternoon.

Well, just as I mentioned earlier, thatís all folks (at least for this year). Thursday is my last exam and Friday Iíll catch the plane to Germany. Thank you all for reading and have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year.