On Thursday, January 26, a group of 52 Brazilian attorneys said “Adeus,” the Portuguese word for “farewell,” to TJSL after being the second group to take part in the three-week U.S.-Brazil Legal Education Exchange Program (LEEP). LEEP gives the attorneys an education in the ways of the American legal system, which is very different from the system in their native Brazil.
At the closing ceremony, Associate Dean for Graduate & Distance Education Programs William Byrnes asked the entire group to give the Director of the Brazilian Program, Carla McEwen, a big round of applause. McEwen, also a Brazilian attorney who now lives in the U.S., was instrumental in setting up the program.
“Everyone owes Carla a huge debt of gratitude,” Dean Byrnes said. “She is the person who spearheaded and organized this entire endeavor.” "We fulfilled our mission” McEwen said. “I am happy the students benefitted from the program, and we have a sense of accomplishment that the exchange program went so well.” On their final day of the program, the Brazilians were treated to a farewell luncheon on the 8th floor and given LEEP certificates of completion. Dean Byrnes also treated them to Louisiana-style king cake, that he ordered direct from New Orleans, to celebrate Mardi Gras, or Carnival as it is called in some countries.
Many of the Brazilian attorneys expressed their satisfaction with LEEP and said that what they had learned about the American legal system would be helpful in their legal practice. Others thanked TJSL for being such a good host and for providing such a beautiful environment in which to learn. One LEEP participant added that he had taken 396 photos while here for the program and was looking forward to returning to California again soon.
Professor A. Thomas Golden, who is TJSL’s Director of Graduate Law Degree Programs in American Legal Studies and International Trade and taught Introduction to the U.S legal system to the Brazilian attorneys and encouraged them to stay in touch with TJSL and visit again in the future.
The first group of LEEP attorneys came to TJSL in July 2011 as part of the exchange program that will send TJSL students to Brazil later this year. The next group will arrive at TJSL in June 2012.