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University of Iowa News Release

July 26, 2004

Photo: UI law professor Adrien Wing, second from left, meets with attorneys, judges and others in Italy's Supreme Court chambers. Click here for a high-resolution version of the image.

UI Law Students Treated Like Dignitaries During Italian Trip

A recent trip to Italy by University of Iowa law students turned into an opportunity for an exclusive hearing at the Italian supreme court and meetings with top lawyers.

"We were treated like visiting dignitaries and diplomats," said Adrien K. Wing, the UI law professor who took the 39 students on the week-long visit to Venice and Rome earlier this month. "We had extraordinary access to some of the top institutions in Italy's legal system, and our bus was even escorted into the town of Tivoli by the Italian Carabinieri. It was an extremely educational and unforgettable experience for our students."

The access was provided by Luca Ramacci, a judge and prosecutor based in the Rome suburb of Tivoli. His connections allowed the students to attend legal hearings at the Court of Cassation-Italy's Supreme Court-and two criminal trials.

"We were really surprised that the judge even held up the trial until we arrived so we could see it," Wing said.

Following their Roman visit, the students received their police-escorted trip to Ramacci's hometown of Tivoli, where he hosted a reception at a historic landmark Villa D'Este. There, they met some of the area's top attorneys, prosecutors, judges and the mayor.

Some of Ramacci's English-speaking colleagues also helped by working as translators at the court hearings.

"We had access in Italy we never could have had in local courts in Iowa or the United States federal level," she said. "It was a learning experience our students never could have had otherwise, and an intercultural exchange that showed them much about Italian law and culture. All of it was thanks to Signore Ramacci."

Wing said the reception came despite generally harsh European opposition to current U.S. foreign policy, particularly concerning the war in Iraq.

"We found a lot of anti-Bush sentiment, but that did not manifest itself as anti-American sentiment," Wing said. "People treated us wonderfully wherever we went and wanted to meet with us."

The Law in Italy course was part of an annual program that Wing coordinates in connection with the law school's Arcachon Program. Each summer, UI students study European and international law at the law school's facility in the French sea coast town of Arcachon. Last year, students visited Strasbourg and The Hague following their studies in Arcachon. She said next year's destination is likely Berlin.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu.