After Kaila Rieders, a native of Williamsport, PA, graduated from the University of Hartford with a Bachelors degree in history and politics, she came to Israel to take a break. I wanted to see what I could do here. I wanted to see how I could help Israel, said Rieders. I loved Israel, but I never meant to stay, she remembers.
Rieders has now been in Israel for five years. She served in the army and lives in Jerusalem, commuting daily to the College of Law and Business (CLB) in Ramat Gan, where she is a second-year law student. I wanted to go back to school. I wanted a career, she explained. Rieders did an Internet search for law in Israel and CLB popped up. The semester had already begun, and Rieders was skeptical. She visited the college on a Friday, and by Monday, she was attending classes. I didnt feel the need to look anywhere else, she recalled.
Unique bilingual program
The College of Law and Business, ranked by Forbes Magazine as being one of the seven most prestigious law schools in Israel, launched its bilingual LLB degree in 2013. Students earn 140 academic credits in order to graduate; half of these credits must be earned in courses taught in English, and the other half in courses taught in Hebrew.
The degree program takes three-and-a-half years; students who already have a Bachelors degree can complete their LLB degrees in three years. Classes are taught by Israeli faculty members from some of the best academic institutions worldwide, as well as by first-rate instructors and professors from universities such as NYU, Chicago University and Brown University. Areas of legal specialty offered at CLB include human rights, criminal law and criminology, and commercial law.
Like Rieders, most of the participants in the bilingual LLB program are recent immigrants with varying levels of Hebrew. The school provides a great deal of support for its non-Hebrew-speaking students. First year students have Hebrew language classes. As they start taking regular classes in Hebrew, these students are afforded tutors on a regular basis to help them understand the material, and are also given the opportunity to write papers and take exams in English in almost all the classes that are taught in Hebrew.
Rieders didnt know any Hebrew prior to enlisting in the army, and while her Hebrew vastly improved during her service, when she enrolled at CLB, it wasnt at the level she wanted or needed. Other students would tell me, you need to work on your Hebrew, she remembers. Her hard work has paid off and her Hebrew has gotten much better during her time at CLB. If you work hard, you can do it, she attests.
Fourth-year student Zachary Goldig agrees. Goldig, originally from Montreal, Canada, has been studying at CLB for two-and-a-half years. He came to CLB with a degree in international business from Concordia University and heard about the school from a friend. Goldig arrived with basic Hebrew learned in a Jewish high school. Today, not only are all of his courses in Hebrew – he has also chosen to take his exams in Hebrew as well. I knew I needed to put in more work than what was required of the Israeli students, admits Goldig.
A world of opportunities
At CLB, students enjoy the best of both worlds, learning Israeli law as well as studying international law. In addition to the courses taught onsite at CLB, there are a growing number of courses and exchange programs with academic institutions around the world, offering possibilities to study abroad at universities such as Oxford, Harvard and Kassel University in Germany, as well as courses in China and India, to name just a few. Graduating students are also eligible to take the New York State bar exam.
Says Professor Moshe Cohen-Eliya, President of CLB, Some of our students know Hebrew and want to work here, while many are also interested in practicing law abroad. Adds Cohen-Eliya, our school has an outlook that is both global and local, which is proving to be a winning combination.
Prior to becoming President of CLB in 2015, Cohen-Eliya served as dean of the CLB Law School for five years. He places a lot of emphasis on the schools diverse, pluralistic community, which includes native Israelis, immigrants and visitors from around the world.
One of the things that amazes him the most about the CLB student body is the high level of involvement and social activism. CLB students participate in a multitude of legal clinics and are engaged in tutoring and mentoring programs, using the tools theyve received from CLB to positively impact society.
Tools to succeed
Goldig notes that CLB was the only law school to which he applied. He was attracted by the schools international presence as well as the fact that he could take courses in English. I was impressed that the instructors are well-known, that they are leaders in their fields, he adds. Hes also drawn to all of CLBs opportunities to travel abroad, whether it be to study or to participate in international competitions. Goldig played an intrinsic role in CLBs recent win at the ICC International Mediation Competition in Paris, writing the teams mediation plans (see sidebar).
Rieders is also very enthusiastic about her CLB experiences, and appreciates the wide variety of opportunities that CLB has to offer. Participating in such a young, new program allows students to forge new paths, and the school is 100% willing to help, she explains. Because of this, she points out, students can be the first to try new things. Rieders has applied for CLBs exchange program in China, and is thrilled at the prospect of representing her college abroad. I would be the first person from my school to do this, she says with excitement.
Cohen-Eliya and the CLB faculty are dedicated to preparing students to meet both local and global challenges. Our program gives students the tools they need to succeed, whether they choose to practice in Israel or abroad, he notes proudly.
Rieders, whose father and sister are lawyers, plans to stay in Israel and is considering both intellectual property law and commercial property law once she completes her degree. Goldig, who will receive his degree this Spring, already has an internship lined up with a prestigious Israeli law firm.
According to Goldig, Israeli companies often look for English-speakers to fill legal positions, but many of these English speakers lack legal experience. My degree from the CLB bilingual LLB program enables me to be a big fish in a small sea. The program is a really cool way of transitioning into the Israeli environment, he points out. Says Goldig with confidence, You have to put in the work, but as long as you do, I cant see any reason why you wouldnt succeed.
CLB team wins international competition
CLB students Rachel Rhodes and Daniel Winer took first place in the 12th annual International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Commercial Mediation Competition, held in Paris in early February. The CLB duo beat out 65 other university teams, including teams from institutions such as Oxford, Cornell and Georgetown Universities.
During the competition, participants apply ICCs Amicable Dispute Resolution (ADR) rules aiming to settle commercial dispute scenarios that have been exclusively drafted by a special group of international mediation experts. These problems are submitted beforehand to the teams for their preparation. Each team also has to prepare a written analysis of the problems, the so-called mediation plan.
The teams mediation plans were written by Rhodes, Winer and fourth-year CLB student Zachary Goldig. As a result of the plan, the judges know your goals and want to make sure you reach those goals through mediation, explains Goldig.
CLBs participation in the competition was initiated by Uri Benoliel, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Commercial Law Department. CLBs victory was an exceptional accomplishment, especially given the fact that this was CLBs first-ever appearance in the competition, remarks Benoliel.
The final round saw Rhodes and Winer beat a team from the Indian V.M. Salgaocar College of Law Goa, Goa University. It was truly heartwarming to see that despite what we generally see on the news, a large group of individuals with different languages, cultures, colors and beliefs are able to not just be civil towards each other, but are able to build friendships, enthuses Winer. Representing Israel in such a prestigious competition was probably one of the most meaningful life experiences Ive had, he added.
Rhodes concurs. It was an absolute privilege to be able to represent CLB and Israel in such an international forum. After we won, people from Saskatchewan, Brazil, Germany and all over the world came up to us saying that they were rooting for us because they were Jewish too! It was an honor to help Israel promote a positive reputation in the international community.