Summer Study Abroad in the Alps

at the Institute on World Legal Problems in Innsbruck, Austria

Distinguished Visiting Jurist for Summer 2014: The Honorable Patrick Higginbotham, Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit

Image of Judge Higginbotham

Judge Patrick Higginbotham

In the summer of 2014, Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will serve as the Distinguished Visiting Jurist for the Institute on World Legal Problems. The author of numerous scholarly works, Judge Higginbotham was the youngest sitting federal judge when he was appointed to the U.S. District Court. A widely respected jurist and frequent lecturer and visiting professor, Judge Higginbotham has been widely and frequently honored for his contributions to the legal profession.

Past Distinguished Jurists in the St. Mary’s Innsbruck program have included eight members of the United States Supreme Court (the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito, Sandra Day O’Connor, Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia); then-President of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Hon. Gabrielle Kirk McDonald; Richard Goldstone, retired Justice of the South Africa Constitutional Court and Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda; and András Sajó of the European Court of Human Rights.


Nestled in the breathtakingly beautiful Austrian Alps, and long a favorite vacation spot, Innsbruck has been a vital crossroads for commerce, education, and the arts since the Middle Ages. Its prominence is due in part to the great natural beauty of the Tirol, the region of which it is the capital. But the city also enjoys the advantage of proximity to numerous diverse cultures. To the east there is Hungary; to the west Switzerland and France; to the north Germany, the Czech and Slovak Republics, and Poland; and to the south Italy. All are only a short distance by train. Innsbruck has twice has been the site of the Olympic Winter Games.

Summer 2014 will mark the 29th year of the St. Mary’s program at Innsbruck. Since 1986, students from more than 130 American law schools and several European law schools have participated in the Institute, which is conducted in English.

Visits are made to the local courts and to the state seat of government, and guest lectures typically are presented by European professors. Scholars traveling in Europe and lawyers abroad on international business often are invited to share insights with the classes or deliver special lectures on important international topics. Students have the opportunity to converse with foreign scholars and Austrian lawyers on several occasions, including at the gala opening reception at Schloss Ambras (the great Habsburg castle overlooking the city). Austrian students will participate in classes, off-campus visits, and social events, along with their American colleagues.

Classes will meet Monday through midday Thursday. This schedule allows students time to travel on weekends to such destinations as Rome, Paris, the French Riviera, Venice, Vienna, Zurich, Munich, Prague, and Budapest.

The University of Innsbruck is the foreign sponsor of the Institute. Offices, study areas, and classrooms are comfortably housed in the main building of the University. Students have access to the international and comparative law collections of the University libraries. Selected American works are also available and students are provided Internet access through the University of Innsbruck.