WMU News

WMU attorney selected for German study program

Sept. 16, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- Brian K. Kurzmann of Kalamazoo is one of a small group of young lawyers from the United States and abroad who have received a fellowship to participate in a 10-month study visit to Germany.

Kurzmann has been a staff attorney in the Office of Legal and Compliance Affairs at Western Michigan University since 1994. A Portage native, he attended Hackett High School and earned two undergraduate degrees from WMU as well as a law degree from the Ohio State University College of Law.

The study visit, called the Young Lawyers Program, is sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service. The fellowship includes a monetary award and living allowance that will fund Kurzmann's entire studies.

The program allows participants to learn about the structure and function of German law. Its aim is to support and encourage closer international links in the area of law and improve mutual knowledge of the legal systems in other countries.

The exchange service is a publicly funded, self-governing organization of German higher education institutions that promotes international academic relations, particularly through student and faculty exchanges. It annually selects up to 20 attorneys from eight countries for its Young Lawyers Program.

Those selected for the program must have a good command of the German language and be no older than 32 years of age. Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis to the best qualified candidates. In addition to the United States, the program is open to candidates from Belgium, Canada, the Commonwealth of Independent States, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The program runs from the end of October to the end of August. It begins with a two-month intensive language course that includes an introduction to legal terminology. This is followed by a five-month special course that introduces participants to German law and legal systems as well as provides insight into the relationship between the Federal Republic of Germany and its citizens.

Course work concludes with a three-month practical experience, where participants pursue their special areas of interest while working in the office of a practicing lawyer or in institutions such as banks, insurance firms, chambers of commerce and administrative agencies.

As a staff attorney for WMU, Kurzmann primarily has worked in the legal and legislative affairs areas. His responsibilities have included such activities as assisting in property transactions, developing media agreements for athletic coverage and monitoring legislation that affects higher education as well as reviewing contracts and other documents.

Kurzmann, who is fluent in German, was a 1987 recipient of WMU's prestigious Medallion Scholarship. He served as student body president in 1990, was named a Presidential Scholar in Philosophy in 1991 and was selected as a presidential intern in 1994. He has been involved in Kalamazoo Young Lawyers, the World Affairs Council of West Michigan and the Boy Scouts of America.

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