In addition to the many thousands of civilians murdered, Ukraine has had over 8 million refugees forcibly displaced outside of Ukraine and another 8 million displaced within Ukraine. This includes many attorneys and law students who have left Ukraine and are without employment or opportunity for professional development. Due to the war, most of those who have stayed in Ukraine have been unable to pursue professional development either.
This is why The Center for American Studies (part of the Center for American & European Studies, an American-led non-profit foundation operating in Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy) is raising funds to organize a 100% FREE LL.M. Program aimed at Ukrainian law students and lawyers, who are interested to continue their professional development while the war continues in Ukraine.
The LL.M. Program is hosted by the Center for American Studies, West Ukrainian National University Law Faculty, Uzhhorod National University Faculty of Law and the Zakarpattian Bar Association.
Make your contribution via check to the Ukrainian American House (UA House) headquartered in Rancho Cordova, California (a non-profit 501(c)(3) supporting organization and conduit of the Center For American Studies). Your charitable contribution to the Ukrainian American House will be tax-deductible in accordance with U.S. law (www.uahouse.org)
Make your contribution directly to the Center For American Studies via the GoGetFunding page
Normally, American LL.M. programs cost from $70,000 to $100,000 per student. LL.M. degrees at such costs are completely inaccessible to Ukrainian lawyers. Our Program will educate fifty (50) Ukrainian students at a cost equal to that of an LL.M. program for two or three (2 or 3) students on American soil. Our LL.M. will be accessible to Ukrainian students from all backgrounds and demographics, and we will give priority of admission to students dealing with economic hardship and consequences of the war.
The Program will have a dual focus: on international private law (including International Business Transactions, Corporate Governance, Transborder Bankruptcy) and practical legal and language skills (Legal Writing, Contract Drafting, Negotiation, Commercial Arbitration, Mediation). The program will also include courses aimed specifically at post-war restitutions and combating future potential corruption in the process of using financial aid by national and local state institutions in Ukraine.
Each course, depending on the subject matter, will last between 10 and 40 hours. The planned time frame for the first edition of the Program is September 2023 – June 2024. For logistical reasons, we will admit a maximum of 40-50 students to the Program. A group of this size will enable the interactive format of the courses.
Because the Program is 100% free for Ukrainians, the criteria for admission will be: (a) the need for professional development presented in the application letter resulting from economic hardship and/or consequences of the war, and (b) the desire to support Ukraine during and/or after the war (e.g., through pro bono legal assistance to war victims).
The entire Program, due to the geographic spread of Ukrainian refugees, will be carried out online in English. In order to verify the acquired knowledge, individual courses will end with relevant exams, leading to the LL.M. Diploma..
Because attorneys are integral to the functioning and build-up of any democratic society governed by the rule of law, and Ukraine is no exception, the professional development of Ukrainian attorneys during the war will assist Ukraine tremendously in its post-war reconstruction efforts, fighting for post-war restitutions and indemnifications, and combating future potential corruption in the process of using financial aid by national and local state institutions in Ukraine now and for years to come. Moreover, a strong legal community of Ukraine will be conducive to Ukraine meeting all necessary criteria of being accepted as a member of the European Union.
All faculty teaching in the Program will be the best American attorneys and law professors, graduates of leading American law schools (Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, etc.) many of whom regularly teach for the Center. This guarantees excellence in teaching. All American faculty will teach in real time, connecting with participants directly from the United States.
Establishing and operating the Program carries substantial costs, such as U.S. law faculty compensation, setting up a learning management system, record keeping system, cybersecurity/data privacy system, marketing the program, as well as paying tech-support personnel, accountants, coordinators, and other support staff for the duration of the program (one year).
An American-led non-profit first established in Poland, the Center For American Studies operates in Ukraine, Italy, Spain, and DACHL (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein), and provides high quality practical education for lawyers whose native legal education systems are overly domestic law-based and detached from practice.
Fusing experience and energy, the Zakarpattian Bar attracts young lawyers who help their distinguished mentors achieve excellence in legal education and advocacy. Operating as a model for other bar associations across Ukraine, the Zakarpattian Bar is on the forefront of safeguarding the rule of law and unity within the entire Ukrainian legal community in the turbulent times of war.
West Ukrainian National University (WUNU) is a leading Ukrainian educational institution, which shapes the academic spirit, passion, and discipline of Ukrainian intellectuals, professionals, and leaders. While WUNU is a stalwart of Ukrainian identity formation, it embraces modernity and retains a competitive spirit among its students.
The Uzhhorod University Faculty of Law is a leading Ukrainian legal education institution known for its excellence in the fields of Jurisprudence, International Law, and Law Enforcement. Striving to advance values such as tolerance and freedom of inquiry, the Faculty actively implements programs that allow students to integrate into the legal academic space and legal profession.
Luke Darby Bartosik, co-founder and Executive Director of the LL.M. program, is a Polish-American supporter of Ukraine trained in law both in the U.S. and Central-Eastern Europe, thanks to which he is able to diagnose the advantages and disadvantages of legal training on both sides of the Atlantic. He has 8 years of experience in establishing and managing legal education programs, including coordinating an LL.M. Program at the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law in Washington, D.C.
Valery Loumber, co-founder and Legal Director of the LL.M program, is a Bulgarian-American supporter of Ukraine and an attorney with 21 years of extensive experience in appeals, bankruptcy litigation, business litigation, complex federal civil procedure and litigation, creditor rights, insolvency, fraud, fraudulent conveyances and other intentional torts. Valery is a partner at Gavrilov & Brooks, which is a full-service law firm with offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento (California) built upon providing exceptional legal representation to businesses and individuals.
Christopher R. Kelley, Academic Director of the LL.M. program, is Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law and a Visiting Professor at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (leading Ukrainian law school). He worked at the office of Minnesota Attorney General and leading American law firms, including Arent Fox and Lindquist & Vennum. Kelley has frequently lectured on legal writing, negotiation, and the rule of law for law firms, corporations, and universities in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Poland, and Lithuania.
Lilya Kurii, Managing Director of the LL.M. program, holds a Ph.D. in Labor Economy and Social Policy and a M.A. in International Economic Relations. She has vast experience in academic research and project management. She served as an expert for the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation and the EU4Culture Project. She is an alumna of the U.S. Department of State Professional Fellows Program. As the Center For American Studies Ukraine Country Director, Liliya will manage and oversee the execution of the Program.
Sebastian Rogalski, Marketing Director of the LL.M. program holds degrees in international relations and management. He has several years experience in co-organizing international academic programs and a wide range of skills necessary to create successful nonprofit campaigns (including graphic design, video editing, and social media marketing). Sebastian will oversee the marketing of the program in order to attract the most deserving Ukrainian participants (based on need and merit).