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St. Louis Diary

I am now an official member of the Saint Louis School of Law Class of 2000.


I am now an official member of the Saint Louis School of Law Class of 2000. In Germany my student life ended with a meaningful handshake by a professor right after the oral examination and my diploma arrived by certified mail two weeks thereafter. In St. Louis however, the graduation was a big festivity consisting of two parts on two days. The first event was the official law school graduation for the law graduates and their families, held at the historic Saint Louis Symphony Hall. At this ceremony the graduates appeared in the traditional black gowns and black caps with a purple tassel, showing the year of the graduation. The ceremony started with a musical overture, an opening prayer and several speeches, some of which where quite witty and entertaining. Thereafter each students name was called and the student proceeded onto the stage where he received his official hood from a faculty member. Moreover, each student was personally congratulated by the Dean and the University Chancellor. After the ceremony graduates and their families gathered at the school for a champagne reception. Another tradition of the law school is that a couple of weeks before the graduation each graduate has his picture taken. After the graduation the pictures of each class are framed and displayed in the school, now going back until the turn of the century.

The official school commencement for all colleges of Saint Louis University was held two days after the Law School graduation ceremony at the Kiel Center, a large sporting arena in downtown Saint Louis. The graduates from the different schools and colleges of Saint Louis University were separated into individual groups. During the ceremony the schools were asked to raise one by one from their seats by the respective Deans and then pronounced "sons and daughters of Saint Louis University forever". The commencement speech was given by August A. Busch III, CEO of the world's largest brewery Anheuser Busch, whose son is a 2000 graduate of the Business School. After the commencement each graduate received his diploma, the size depending on the respective degree. I received my LL.M. diploma in a huge blue leather envelope. While the size of this diploma was pretty impressive it reminded me of a more serious issue. Now, that my time in Saint Louis was over, I had to move all my stuff back to Germany. And although I always tried not to assemble too many things to carry back, I had more bits and pieces than I expected. While I had already brought the books from the first semester back home, I still had a large stack of them sitting on my desk. After going over the equipment of my apartment several times, I eventually decided to give all my plates, utensils, the coffeemaker etc. to charity and went to buy a new suitcase and a duffel bag to fit the remaining goods.

Many American students sell their books after each semester to the bookstore for half the price they paid themselves. The books are then resold and offer a cheap opportunity to get equipped for the coming semester. However, I never disposed of a book, therefore selling them was not an option. Luckily I did not have to pay extra for my two additional suitcases, though it took me some time to convince the lady at the airport check in to take all my luggage onboard the plane.

If I have to make an overall judgement of my time in St. Louis, I can honestly say that it was a very good decision to study there there. The school and every professor and staff member tried to do everything they could to make is a most valuable and pleasant experience. While Saint Louis itself might not be the most exciting city one can imagine, I discovered during my time that there are many things that are worth doing and many places worth going. Moreover, being a city in the middle of the country one can get a very good impression of the "real" America.

If you are thinking about making a similar step, I hope that my diary entries over the past 10 month do encourage you to do so. However, if you need more information about the Saint Louis University School of Law LL.M. Program, the school's WebPages at http://law.slu.edu/cicl/index.html would be a good starting point. Additionally, everyone in need of more information is more than welcome to contact me personally via the e-mail address of the German Law Related Internet Project at redaktion@jurix.jura.uni-sb.de

Later, Nils