Interview: Katharina Faber, President of ELSA Germany

Author Solveig Heilmann
December 13, 2021
What is ELSA and what does ELSA do?

ELSA stands for European Law Student Association and is an association of and for law students from all over Europe. It is organized in a three-tier system: the local, the national and the international level. The individual local groups from German universities (e.g. ELSA-Leipzig e.V.) are united in the national organization ELSA-Deutschland e.V.. These different national associations of the various member countries are then united under ELSA International.

The goal of our association is to broaden the horizon of students beyond the regular law studies, especially through international exchange. Within this framework, ELSA offers, among other things, numerous events such as lectures and discussions, but also internships abroad.

In addition to the academic aspect, ELSA is about getting to know new countries and cultures, forming new friendships across Europe, exchanging ideas and enjoying an exciting and educational time together beyond national borders.

What is your role at ELSA?

Currently, I am the president of ELSA-Germany e.V. for the term of 2021/2022, i.e. the chairperson of our national association. My concrete tasks can be divided into three areas. On the one hand, I take care of all external relations of the association, for example, taking care of the existing cooperations with our partners, but also establishing new cooperations with new partners. On the other hand, I am generally responsible for the further development of the association. Within the board, I also take on a supporting and mediating role by coordinating the work of the entire board team and providing help and assistance in the event of problems. In addition to these specific tasks of my position, each member of the National Board is assigned certain faculty groups as support groups and takes care of their concerns in a particular way.

Why did you join ELSA? 

My first point of contact with ELSA was the presentation of their local group during freshman week. However, I did not actually become a member instantly. That only happened for a “mere” short trip to Paris, but it didn’t stop there. I realized that I didn’t just want to be a “simple” member who attended an event every now and then, but that I wanted to get actively involved and help shape ELSA. However, I didn’t know at the time that over the next two years I would make new friends all over Germany and work with numerous international law students. That I would be working through nights to organize events and meetings. That I would willingly invest all the energy and every free minute I could spare besides my studies into ELSA. Through this work, my first impression of Paris was solidified and filled larger and larger parts of my life.

What is special about ELSA and its members? 

Students are offered the opportunity to network, exchange and come together across Europe. Thus, ELSA stands for international exchange in the context of international understanding and for the opportunity to develop oneself personally. It stands for unforgettable experiences and inseparable friendships. 

And this is exactly what characterizes the people involved in ELSA: they are open-minded and curious to get to know new cultures. Our members spend a lot of time every day getting involved in the association besides their studies and to contribute to bringing Europe closer together. They don’t just want to achieve a good exam as quickly as possible, but to personally develop and discover new skills.

Which exciting events will take place the next time?

At the local level, there are always many great events hosted by the individual local groups in accordance with the aforementioned three-tiered organization of the association. However, we as the national board also organize some events, for example, the ELSA Germany Moot Court (EDMC). A moot court is a simulated court hearing in which the participants take on the roles of the respective parties in court and negotiate accordingly. The EDMC has been held since 1994 and is thus the oldest German moot court for civil law. The participants first compete in local preliminary rounds, before reaching the national final, in which the finalists are allowed to argue before real judges of the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe. This year, the national final will take place in July 2022. 

Additionally, the National Council Meeting will be held at the beginning of January. The National Council Meeting is the highest decision-making body of ELSA Germany, where proposals are discussed and voted on. In addition, our new partner, Taylor Root, will introduce itself to the ELSA network!

What are you looking forward to regarding the partnership with Taylor Root?

I am particularly pleased about the cooperation with Taylor Root, as the contact came about through Solveig, a former president of ELSA Germany. Apart from that, Taylor Root as a legal recruitment consultancy offers a view beyond the law school and into the opportunities that might be available to our members after graduation. Such an opportunity to bring practice into the lives of law students is exactly what we aim to provide with ELSA, among other things: To create a change from long days in the library and to convey what the real life of law students can be like and what prospects are offered by this study.

How can we at Taylor Root support ELSA best?

The best way Taylor Root can support us is by giving our members an insight into the practice of law outside of their studies and by enabling them to think outside the box. In this context, we would like to organize lectures or discussion rounds together, where our members can get a better insight into this and perhaps also get the opportunity to actively participate themselves.

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