For dinner on our fourth night, we joined lawyers from the region around the Sea of Galilee for a meal and mingling. Much thanks for the yummy food and company to the partnership between this region in Israel and Milwaukee that sets this up every year. Many students built professional relationships during this meal, gleaned advice from practitioners and professors, and engaged in meaningful dialogue.
Student Lucas Bennewitz had a particularly thoughtful discussion:
During our trip, we had dinner at a kibbutz in Tiberius with different Israeli attorneys practicing in different areas. Both our stomach and our brains were stuffed to the brim that evening with both excellent food and lively discussions about Israeli law and politics. While enjoying more hummus and rice than we could handle, we gained valuable insight on the nature of the Israeli legal system, heard some criticism from the Israeli lawyers about their current system, and compared the Israeli and the American legal systems. We also discussed the role that legal internships play in the Israeli law school experience. During the last year of law school, law students in Israel have to do practical work before being licensed. I found this comparison striking, for I know many Marquette students participate in internships before graduating, but they are not required. However, I think it would be a hard sell to American law students to extend their law school education from three years to four solely on the basis of getting hands-on experience outside the classroom.
I also had an interesting exchange with one particular lawyer–who was now a law professor–about the American trial-by-jury system. He stated that the American jury system is too complicated and cumbersome, saying that it creates more problems than it solves. I questioned him on this, and he stated that judges are in better positions to solve disputes and that most countries do not have the jury trial system for a reason. Although I agreed with him in a certain respect (after all, the jury can certainly be rife with errors in many circumstances), it was still striking that a lawyer from a country so centered on community and the shared bond of faith between its people would disregard the idea of being judged by your fellow citizens. I think this spoke to the nature of the conflict right now in Israel, in that the idea of being judged by a fellow citizen who might be biased based on their religious sect is worrisome to many. Nonetheless, it was great to get a different perspective–the outsider looking in–on American politics and law in order to help me understand how others view our legal system and see it in a different light.