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Center for International Legal Studies

FAQs for Senior Lawyers

Senior Lawyer definition | Who can apply | Assignment length | Remuneration | Travel cost and Administrative Fees | Housing | Distance-learning orientation | Teaching location | Travel arrangements | US tax refund | Luggage restrictions | Money | Visa | Host assistance with visa | Insurances | Dress code | Distribution of teaching papers | Study of materials | Host communication | Gifts | Calling home | English | Attending other classes | Spouse teaching (non-law) | Spouse teaching (law) | Timing | Useful Links

What is a "Senior Lawyer"?

A "senior lawyer" has at least 15 years of significant practice experience in the area in which he or she proposes to teach.

Can anyone with 15 years practice experience apply?


How long are the assignments?

Usually about two weeks, but some have also taught one week or twelve weeks. The main importance is that a minimum of 15 hours are taught.

Are the positions remunerated?


What costs are involved?

For utilising the CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL LEGAL STUDIES’ services to obtain a teaching position, a payment of an administrative fee is due. In addition, the senior lawyer has to cover his or her own travel cost and cost associated with his or her stay in the country of assignment.

Will housing be provided?

Generally, yes. Some hosts, however, cannot afford to assist with housing. It is up to the visiting professor if he or she still wishes to take up the assignment in such case.

I understand there is a distance learing orientation. Do I have to complete this even if I have taught before?

The distance learning package will deal with the history and politics of Eastern Europe, legal education in Europe, and the relationship between Eastern Europe and the European Union. The goals of the distance-learning component are to better equip you to teach in our program by providing an understanding of the legal and political environment of your assignment.
The package will consist of numerous video lectures, commentaries, and special reports, PowerPoint presentations, and short readings. The format will be similar to other distance-learning modules that CILS has developed for the LL.M programs of Boston University and Lazarski University.

Can I choose my teaching location?

To a certain extent. You can state your country preferences on your application. We do our best to assign you to a country of your choice. Course requests from host universities have precedence, however, and the university that needs your expertise may be in a different country than coveted.

How do I best make travel arrangements if I do not have a travel agent?

Our travel agent, Alfred Nagl, will be available if you wish to work with him on organising your travel to your teaching assignment. He can be contacted as follows: Mag. Alf Nagl, TUI Travel Agency, 5020 Salzburg, Tel: +43 50 884-23425, Fax: +43 50 884-23410, Email:

How does the tax refund for US federal income tax work?

Your selection to teach is made by the Center for International Legal Studies on behalf of CILS Benefactors Inc. As CILS Benefactors Inc. is a tax-exempt public charity under section 501(c)3 of the United States Internal Revenue Code, properly receipted and reasonable travel expenses incurred in taking up your teaching assignment should be deductible from your federal income tax. In order to claim any deduction, you must provide relevant receipts to and such expenses will appear in the public record as donations to CILS Benefactors Inc.

Are there luggage restrictions when travelling to my destination overseas?

It will depend on your destination, airline and booking class. Make sure you have checked with your travel agency regarding how much luggage you are allowed to bring on the flight ticket you have booked. Also be aware that luggage contingents for a transatlantic flight may be different from an inner-Continental connection. There are also a number of luggage delivery services to be found online, if you prefer to try out such an alternative.

What money (and how much) shall I bring?

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia are members of the Euro zone, so you only need to bring a few Euro bills. For all other host countries you will have to change into the local currency. Though a few of the fellow EU members, but not Euro zone members, may accept the Euro as well.

Do not travel with too much cash. If you change at your local bank, be prepared that it might need a couple of days to get the currency of your host country. Alternatively, there are ATM machines available where you can withdraw with your debit or credit card. Make sure to check with your bank or credit card provider if your cards will work outside the US for withdrawing cash.

Will I need a visa?

Most host countries will not require a visa, but a valid US passport (with at least 6 months left before renewal). Learn about your destination. When applying for a visa (for Russia for instance), take note of the visa wait times for interview appointments and processing and plan accordingly.

Will the host assist with obtaining the visa?

Yes. The host university prepares a visa letter for you and will need certain information (copy of passport, arrival and departure days, and flight number et. al.) from you. If uncertain, just be sure the visa letter refers to a "business" and not "study" trip.

Under the US-Russian Visa Agreement, which entered into force September 2012, it is expected that qualified US applicants for humanitarian, private, tourist, and business visas can receive multiple-entry visas with a validity of three years, but will still be beholden to the six-month rule. In theory this is possible, in practice no Senior Lawyer has been successful with a 3-year multiple entry visa thus far.

Do I need medical or travel insurance?

It is advised that you make such arrangements. Credit card companies sometimes provide travel insurances, check with your provider.

Do I need to dress up for the teaching?

Best to ask your university contact, as the first instance, and/or Senior Lawyer Alumni who have taught at your host, as a second instance, what the university's preference is.

Can I distribute teaching papers to students in advance?

Yes. Discuss with your contact, whether the university has a web upload possibility, or if you should email them to him (or any other assistant)

Will students read the materials before I teach?

It is the ideal, but does not happen too often. Do not get your hopes too high. In addition, many students are shy about their English language capabilities, and may "tune out" from reading texts without explanation by the instructor.

When should I expect to hear from my host?

After we send you the assignment letter, send an email to your contact. Sometimes it takes the university a few weeks to respond, so do not despair, if there is no 24-hr turnaround. Should you, however, not have had any response after 4-6 weeks (or after more than one attempt on your part), send us an email so we can follow up. Often messages get stuck in spam filters (outbound or inbound alike).

Shall I bring or expect to receive gifts?

There is no rule to this, but generally, yes visiting professors bring small tokens either to the host contact, or for students as an incentive to get them to speak. Some hosts give lavish gifts to the visiting professors, others small ones, a few give nothing.

Will I be able to call home?

If wireless is available the easiest way is to use skype or facetime or what's app. If you do not have this option, look for phone cards for cheaper calls to the United States.

Will everyone speak English?

Most will understand English, but not everyone will be fluent. It is advisable to learn a few words in the local language. If you go to a country (Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia to name a few) that uses the Cyrillic Alphabet, make sure to study it in advance to help you read street signs and get around.

May I attend other classes?

Most likely, yes. Best to offer to your host contact at the beginning that you would be willing to make guest appearances or presentations in other classes or at events that may be planned at the university during the time of your stay. It is some of the best exposure for you and use of your spare time. You may also invite local professors to your classes.

My spouse is interested in teaching. Is this possible?

It depends on the host. But we have had many visiting professors whose spouses organised successful assignments (literature or English language, to single two out), while the Senior Lawyer was teaching the law class.

My spouse is also a lawyer. Can we co-teach?


What is the best time to teach?

1. With regard to the semester, most hosts prefer the visiting professor to come for a fortnight in the middle of the semester (this tends to be March/April in spring, or October/November in fall, though senior lawyers have also taught in May, June, December or February).

2. Time of day depends on the university, the classes, and the structure. Some only offer evening courses, others only morning courses.

Useful Links and Tips

For teaching (US Law): Understanding the Federal Courts Booklet. The Administrative Office of the United States Courts will provide copies of the booklet if you wish to use it as a handout for your teaching assignments.

For travel: Traveler's Checklist US Dept. of State

For Russia: Russian Visa Requirements Information Page, Russia visa requirements, forms, instructions

Always carry the telephone number of your Embassy with you.