From: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky
Date: Friday, March 24, 2020
Our LL.M. program is very special to Berkeley Law. Each summer we are greatly enriched by our professional track and hybrid option students. We know the importance of these programs in facilitating an LL.M. for students who cannot take a year away from their careers and families.
We have thought very carefully about how to proceed this summer, given the uncertainties about public health and travel restrictions in light of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. We do not want to cancel the program. We know that many of you are counting on it. Our returning students want to complete / continue their degrees and our entering students want to begin so they can graduate in 2021. At the same time, it is impossible to know at this point when international travel will resume and whether classes on campus in Berkeley can take place.
Therefore, we have decided to conduct the program this summer entirely by distance learning. As you may know, the University of California, Berkeley began having all classes by distance learning on March 11. It has been a remarkably smooth and successful transition, with many students writing to me to express their satisfaction with their classes. I have now taught my own classes for two weeks over Zoom, a video conferencing tool, and I have found it to be effective and engaging.
The summer 2020 summer classes will be held at times that students can participate live (in the same online meeting room at the same time) if they are able, but we will also record all classes for those not able to do so. Timing live classes is challenging because our students come from countries all over the world. Attendance and participation will be encouraged when possible, but not required. Every class will be recorded so students will have access even if they cannot attend live. We are planning a robust schedule of classes so that no one’s education is compromised in any way. And I wanted to reassure our continuing students that you may decide to finish your degree on campus next summer at the 2020 tuition level. The Advanced Degree Programs team will be in touch with you shortly to give you all the course information and details about how to move forward.
I wish I could personally welcome you to Berkeley this summer. But with all of the uncertainties, and with no sense of when and how they will be resolved, I am very excited to go forward with the program in this way. I hope you will join us.
Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law
University of California, Berkeley School of Law