The following is a first-person perspective by Kyle Sill, a 2009 Coastal Law graduate and a charter class member of the school’s study abroad program with the University of Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand France. The program is now in its sixth year.
When you are asked to go to France to teach American law you don’t say no. What started as a law school summer abroad in Clermont-Ferrand, France, developed into living and working in France as a professor of law. And now, that has blossomed into clerking at Florida’s busiest district court of appeal, while also serving as an adjunct professor at my law school alma mater.
Coastal Law’s five-week summer abroad program is amazing. My full course load included classes on international and French law and made me realize, though we may govern differently, the laws are extremely similar.
Living and later working expanded on this in ways I could never imagine. I figured out how to teach American law concepts in what was a second or third language for most all of my students. I now know that being a law professor is the end-game for me. I traveled all over France and Europe: from the Alps to Ukraine. I solidified my inner travel bug and now take—at least—yearly trips to scratch the ever-growing itch.
Today, I am a judicial clerk at Florida’s First District Court of Appeal, where I get to research, discuss, and write on every facet of law: administrative, criminal, civil, and everything in between. I get to recommend courses of action. It is an incredible challenge, and no two days are the same.
If not for Coastal Law’s summer program, I would never have made the initial trip. If not for that trip, I would never have met my future employer in France. If not for the professors, education, and opportunities I received while at Coastal Law, I would never have thought of teaching as a career or been qualified to do so. If not for each of these things, I would not have been hired to clerk for two appellate judges.
When I started law school, if you had told me this is how it would have played out, I would have laughed. But now, I cannot see doing it any different or any other way. I developed and followed my passions and dreams—and have reaped immeasurable benefits.
I wake up every day and get to do what I love.