Mary Kate Wagner ’15, an undergraduate French and English major, was drawn to law school by her love of language and its relationship with the law. So when she was chosen to participate in the prestigious Philadelphia-Lyon Bar Exchange Program, she could hardly believe her good fortune.
The program, which is run by the Philadelphia Bar and its sister bar in Lyon, France, was initially envisioned as an exchange for attorneys just beginning their legal practice. French interns, who are either young lawyers or law students, are placed with host firms in Philadelphia, and their Philadelphia counterparts are placed with host firms in Lyon.
One of the first American students to participate in this type of exchange, Wagner spent the summer of 2013 as an intern with Bird & Bird, an international firm with 1100 lawyers in 26 offices across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. She learned to be fluent in multiple legal systems working in the commercial and IT department under the supervision of Eric Wallenbrock, the firm’s senior European counsel.
“There was a specific contract dispute involving import/export regulations from France to the U.S. that became my project,” Wagner said. “One of the most fascinating aspects of this project was that each party believed they had complied with the terms of the contract, but it all came down to the correct interpretation of American law.”
Wagner is the Managing Editor of Outside Articles for the Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal and recently participated in a judicial internship with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. As a student in the Villanova’s J.D./LL.M. International Studies Program, she is pursuing a J.D. from Villanova Law and an LL.M. in French, European, and International Business Law from University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne.
Wagner chronicled her experiences abroad in the cover story for Summer 2014 edition of The Philadelphia Lawyer.