Faculty of Law
The Faculty is notable for a focus on legal principles and dogma coupled with a keen appreciation of the requirements of legal practice, making it a pioneer of attorney-oriented legal training in Germany. Students participate regularly and with great success in German, European and international moot court competitions (German), where mock courts try hypothetical law and arbitration cases.
A great tradition
As an academic discipline, the study of law involves reflection upon and the development of norms and conflict settlement programmes accepted by society for the conduct and regulation of life in the community. As such it mirrors and engages with the challenges posed by the increasingly complex nature of life in the modern world. Its specific role in the academic canon is clearly defined. Among the outstanding Heidelberg law scholars in the 19th and 20th centuries were such luminaries as Anton Friedrich Justus Thibaut, Bernhard Windscheid, Karl Joseph Anton Mittermaier, Johann Caspar Bluntschli, Georg Jellinek, Otto von Gierke, Gerhard Anschütz and Gustav Radbruch. The Faculty is fully alive to this glorious tradition and the obligations it imposes both for the present and the future. The status it enjoys makes it a prominent operative factor in developing and disseminating continental European legal thinking in the global context.
There is no more trenchant statement on the perennial issues involved in the education of academically trained lawyers of sound judgement than the memorandum addressed by professors of the Faculty to their ruler, Elector Friedrich IV, back in 1604: "The Heidelberg School envisaged is not a trivial [= elementary] or particular [= specialist] school; its aim is to provide a universal course of study."
The universal perspective
In Heidelberg, this universal grounding leading up to the First State Examination is based on a broad range of classes on core subjects, fundamentals and more specialised aspects of law. They include study-integrated "attorney oriented" training, moot courts, lecture programmes (Federal judges, symposia, visiting professors from abroad), foreign language instruction courses for lawyers and a special exam preparation programme. A new feature is the specific Heidelberg profile of special subjects for the part of the examination organised by the Faculty. For several years now, the University of Heidelberg has had the highest application rate in Germany for places in its law school.
Heidelberg has a number of excellent law collections providing ideal conditions for study and research.
The Faculty's international contacts are wide-ranging. It provides an extensive exchange programme for its students and offers graduates from foreign universities all over the world a much sought-after LLM programme. In collaboration with the law faculties of the Universities of Cracow and Mainz it established a School of German Law for Polish students at the Jagiellonian University of Cracow in 1998 and with the same partners it runs a European postgraduate research group on "System Transformation and Law Harmonisation in the Uniting Europe". It is also actively involved in the development of the German-speaking Andrássy University of Budapest, conducts an LLM programme on International Law in Santiago de Chile and maintains close partnerships with law faculties in Montpellier, Cambridge, Ferrara, Budapest, Cracow, Georgetown and Porto Alegre.