Three law students from Norway made an unusual choice: instead of studying law at home for their fifth and final year, they would embark on an exchange program at Penn State to learn about the American legal system. After graduating in May, Sindre Bogen, Ole Kristian Holtsmark, and Rolf Nyhus will return to Norway to begin careers at major law firms.
Holtsmark said there are major differences between education in Norway and the U.S. “School is different at home,” said Holtsmark. “There are more lectures and less interaction with the students. Here, you work closer with the professors and are supposed to participate.”
Holtsmark has accepted a position working in litigation as an associate attorney at the law firm Hjort in Oslo. Holtsmark chose to study at Penn State Law because he wanted to study the American legal system and experience American culture.
“The LL.M program is formed in a way which encourages progressive learning,” said Holtsmark. “It makes it easy to improve both English skills and the understanding of the legal system in a fast way.”
Rolf Nyhus has accepted a job working in corporate law at Kluge, a large business firm, in Stavanger, Norway. He came to law school in University Park during his fifth year because he heard good things about Professor Samuel C. Thompson Jr. and corporate law at Penn State Law. He chose to take Arbitration, Business Planning for Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporations, and International Business Transactions.
Nyhus encourages Norwegian students to be open-minded when considering an LL.M. program. “Don’t be afraid to apply and travel here,” said Nyhus.
Sindre Bogen said he decided to look for an LL.M. program in dispute resolution after realizing the importance of having an international perspective on law while interning for large law firms in Norway. “Lawyers must master different aspects of international law in order to best serve the client´s needs,” said Bogen. “This recent trend, generally speaking, is one I do not see changing anytime soon in the legal profession; I see an international law degree as a necessity.”
Bogen said studying at Penn State Law was a “life-changing” experience. He has accepted an associate position at Wiersholm in Oslo. “The freedom you as a student have to tailor your own degree by selecting from so many different and interesting courses really gives you the opportunity to specialize in your preferred legal field,” said Bogen. “I believe this gives me a running start on the challenges I will meet when I leave the library as a student and step in to the office at Wiersholm as an associate.”
Wiersholm is an internationally orientated business law firm. Bogen will work in litigation and dispute resolution. Though the students are excited to start their careers as lawyers, they said they will miss Penn State. “Life as a Penn State student is something that is best understood by experiencing it personally,” said Bogen. “All I will say is that it has lived up to my expectations, and beyond.”