The Impact of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 on Operations at Bucerius Law School

Updated 01.07.2020, 16:00

Following closure of the Law School campus on March 12, 2020, Bucerius has implemented numerous digital solutions to continue its operations remotely, including student instruction and assessment. Excluding a handful of employees performing critical functions, no other activities are taking place on campus; staff members are working remotely.

The first (entirely) virtual trimester within the LLB program kicked off on April 27, 2020.

Following a two-month internship window, members of the Master of Law and Business Program took part in their virtual summer session from May 4 - June 12, 2020.

We hope to answer all your questions regarding Law School operations in the FAQs below and will update this information to reflect new developments. Should any questions remain unanswered, please contact the head of the relevant department or, when in doubt, send a message to Jonathan Schramm, Executive Assistant to the CEO.

We look forward to hearing from you and, after the situation has improved, to welcoming you on campus!

#BuceriusStaysHome #FlattenTheCurve

No anniversary celebration at Bucerius in 2020

We have postponed our anniversary celebration to June 10, 2021 as a result of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19.

Master of Law and Business to take place as scheduled

Bucerius Law School is closely monitoring the developing SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 situation and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months.

In the interest of safety and with regard to the uncertainties created by the global impact of the virus, we have decided to cancel the 2020 Summer Programs as well as the 2020 International Exchange Program.

At this time, we anticipate hosting the Master of Law and Business as scheduled.

Over the course of the summer, we will analyze the situation, review updated state and federal guidelines and provide additional information regarding our fall plans. Should we have to postpone or cancel the MLB program at a later stage, all registered applicants will be notified at once.

Stay up to date by signing up for our Prospective Student Mailing Lists:

General

Yes, though only for ​short​ visits. Until further notice, the building is accessible ONLY via

  • the main courtyard entrance
  • ​the entrance to the Coffee Lounge
  • ​the side entrance to the library

and is restricted to individuals with a valid Bucerius ID card.

Individuals visiting campus are required to wear facial protection covering both the mouth and nose while in public areas, including hallways, the library, seminar rooms and restrooms. Masks and facial protection may be removed while seated at individual workspaces (including in the library). When move through the building, individuals are asked to keep right (right-hand traffic flow) to facilitate maintaining safe distances from others.

If only we knew! We are monitoring developments closely and exchanging regularly in video conferences with all department heads.

Until further notice, ALL on-campus events have been canceled.

As information becomes available, we will communicate updates regarding on-campus activities for the autumn and winter.

Once regulatory frameworks permit and the health risk for students, faculty and members of the administrative staff has returned to a normal level, we will reopen campus. We of course hope that this day will come sooner than later but are aware of our responsibility in ensuring the health and safety of both the Law School Family and greater Hamburg community—we therefore elect to avoid any unnecessary risk. Until then, a few employees will hold down the fort so that campus will remain virtually empty but not completely deserted.

Working remotely, the Bucerius Event Team is in close contact with all clients who have planned on-campus events for the coming year. Many events—particularly those planned for the spring—have been tentatively postponed until autumn of the current year or even 2021. As new event inquiries reach us, we are responding with great flexibility to accommodate demands of the current situation and are making use of the opportunity to advance our analogue and digital offerings. Should cancellations become necessary, registered participants will be informed immediately via email.

Please refer to our event calendar for information about the status of all non-curricular events. If in doubt, be in touch with the respective event organizer.

Should you have any questions about your upcoming event, please do not hesitate to contact the Bucerius Event Team: bucerius-event(at)law-school.de or via phone +49 40 3 07 06 217.

Contact with benefactors is continuing to take place via email, telephone and the occasional video conference. Many of our patrons are themselves working remotely and busy organizing situational adaptations within their own law firms and companies. The spring meeting of the ZEIT Foundation to discuss continued funding of Bucerius Law School was carried out via video conference for the first time.

As would normally be the case, Andrea Leuck-Baumanns remains the primary point of contact for our friends and benefactors.

Yes!

The ​Law Clinic​ quickly made the switch to a virtual platform. As a result, individuals seeking advice in pressing legal matters can still find assistance. Affiliated social counseling centers may turn to the Law Clinic Team with requests for advising. A large proportion of student legal advisors and attorneys have offered to hold consultations via Zoom. A round of thanks to everyone helping to ensure access to the Law despite the situation prompted by SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19.

Bucerius Executive Education has been offering opportunities for blended and online learning since 2016. Activities and training sessions are bundled on the Bucerius Academy eLearning platform. In coordination with our partnering law firms and legal departments, events that had been planned across the country are being conducted online as webinars—working together with lecturers, Bucerius Executive Education is developing training concepts and strategies for their implementation. In addition, open certificate courses such as the Compliance Officer Certificate Program have been shifted to the Zoom platform; the final module, including the oral examination interview, has been successfully carried out as a webinar.

The Bucerius Executive Education Team is in contact with all participants and lecturers regarding their offers for continuing education in the legal profession. If you have any questions concerning your event, please do not hesitate to be in touch with your contact or directly with Patrick Schroer.

Jonathan Schramm, Executive Assistant to the CEO, will be happy to address any inquiries that you may have regarding this topic. For all other questions, please feel free to contact our Press Office.

Get a feel for the state of affairs here in Hamburg—and across the country.

Browse a list of FAQs (in English) exploring the impact of the coronavirus on life in Hamburg—it's updated daily.

You might also want to explore Coronavirus updates on Deutsche Welle (DW), a public international broadcaster that offers content in 30 languages.

Teaching and Research

Following the closure of our campus, we decided to transition to online instruction and were thus obliged to react quickly and, with equal agility, communicate information with and incorporate students into new models of learning. We are in close contact with student body representatives—to whom we offer our deepest gratitude for their outstanding support and dedication in the middle of their own exam period—and additionally relay updates to students via our website, intranet platform and email.

Yes!

Lectures and seminars slated to take place during the summer trimester will, until further notice, be conducted virtually.

In the week from March 16-20, 2020, a total of 31 small group recitations belonging to the core curriculum were held on the video conference platform Zoom.

Since Monday, March 23, 2020, the preparation program for the First State Examination (Examensvorbereitungsprogramm), complete with lectures and small group recitations, has been offered via distance learning. Each week, members of the cohort taking part in this program come together via video conference for a total of five lectures. In addition, a total of eight small group recitations are held each week.

The Law School kicked off its first virtual summer term on April 27, 2020 for LLB students and May 4, 2020 for MLB program participants.

With summer term lectures running until June 5, 2020 for MLB participants and July 4, 2020 for LLB students, a total of 11 courses (each with up to 120 students) and 127 small group recitations (each with up to 17 students) have been planned as interactive webinars. This portfolio of virtual offerings includes all curricular events planned for the bachelor and master courses of study, including the general studies (Studium Generale), professional studies (Studium Professionale) and foreign language programs.

When possible, all library users—in particular, the large pool of doctoral candidates—are strongly encouraged to continue their research undertakings from home. Library staff are committed to providing remote assistance.

Following a revised mandate from local authorities, the library reopened for limited use on April 24, 2020.

After a successful first phase of the reopening process (with access initially having been limited to doctoral candidates, MLB students, individuals currently taking part in the state exam prep course and LLB students who matriculated in 2017), the library again became available to all other currently authorized users on May 13, 2020.

In the interest of safety, the follow policies have been implemented and will be enforced with appropriate technical measures as well as through library staff and student workers:

  • Until further notice, the facility may be used only Mon - Fri, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. (8:00 - 20:00) and, beginning May 21, 2020, on weekends and public holidays, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. (10:00 - 20:00)
  • Upon entering the library, all users will need to sign in and document their presence using a form available in the entryway (and provided via email); this information will be maintained for three weeks so that, should an infection be documented, contact tracing can be undertaken to inform any individuals who may have been exposed to the virus
  • A distance of at least 1.5 meters between all individuals must be observed at all times; library users must adhere to all postage signage, warning tape and staff instructions
  • To comply with mandated minimum distance policies, four-seat workstations may be used only by two persons sitting diagonally across from one another; six-seat workstations may be used by a maximum of three individuals. Where necessary, fixed table assignments (reservations) have been lifted. To emphasize the gravity of this restriction, many chairs have been removed; the number of workstations that would typically be available has been reduced by approximately 50%
  • Prior to entering an immediately after leaving the library, you are strongly encouraged to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
  • While in the library, you are strongly encouraged to wear a face mask covering both your mouth and nose
  • The consumption of food while in the library is strictly prohibited; only drink containers with a lid are permitted
  • Print media must be returned to designated carts. The library team will do their best to disinfect external surfaces after use and keep these items out of circulation for 24 hours

In the event that policies are not followed or the library becomes overloaded, usage will once again have to be restricted.

During the spring trimester exam period, both written exercises (Übungen) and assessments (Klausuren) for the core curriculum were conducted using the web-based tool WISEflow. Digital supervision was carried out using Zoom: in this context, the only aspect of the examination being monitored was that one (single) person was in front of the screen at a time that no assistance was offered within the room itself. This procedure was carried out following consultation with the study and examination committee and student body representatives.

Our priority has always been the health and welfare of our students, staff members and wider law school community. In light of the circumstances posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, we have decided to postpone the study abroad term for (outgoing) Bucerius students to summer/autumn 2021.

As the term abroad is a mandatory part of the curriculum, this will result in two cohorts of students going abroad simultaneously in 2021—namely, students who matriculated in 2018 and 2019.

The nominations for and applications of Bucerius students who had been slated to take part in an exchange term during the fall 2020 term have been withdrawn.

With our recently created Bucerius Alumni Mooting Center itself currently operating via email and Zoom, the majority of competitions scheduled for the spring and early summer have been canceled already, e.g., the Frankfurt Investment Arbitration Moot, Jessup Moot in Washington and the Vis Moot in Hong Kong and Vienna. This year, the Vis Moot, both in Hong Kong and Vienna, was carried out online as a series of video conferences. After having used Zoom to prepare for this new and extraordinary format with numerous other teams, our team took part in the virtual rounds for Vienna from April 2-9, 2020.

A variety of different services and platforms are being used across the Law School landscape: from Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint, Zoom and our campus intranet platform to online learning environments such as PlayPosit that support the creation and sharing of interactive video lessons, myriad tools are available to students and can be selected to suit a variety of applications.

Students are of course also making use of private messenger services and social networks to exchange. From FaceTime sessions to group chats on WhatsApp, a wide range of platforms and outlets are being utilized.

We are working to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, materials at our disposal are made available for students whose time has been spread thin by the current situation. We hope to provide timely access to resources that will enable asynchronous learning so that students, for example, who have been called upon to provide childcare or care for family members impacted by recent developments, will be to continue their studies with greater flexibility.

In addition, the IT Team and staff of the library are working diligently to ensure that digital resources and research tools, e.g., legal databases, will be accessible from off-campus locations.

Our efforts are divided into three areas:

First, our Zoom Taskforce is ensuring that a virtual seminar or lecture space will be made available to all lecturers wishing to make use of one. We have chosen the Zoom video conference platform in creating these spaces and will of course train all lecturers and staff so that they can maximize utility of this tool.

At the same time, our recently founded Learning Innovation Lab is continuing its work in the creation and expansion of innovative teaching concepts and the production of instructional videos.

Beyond these tasks, the Lab is also offering direct assistance on short notice to lecturers as they prepare coursework for the coming term that may require additional planning or restructuring in being transformed for the digital world. This includes, for example, not only support for lecturers who do not feel comfortable with the platform, but also courses whose content enables instructional videos to be created in the development of a blended learning concept—that is, a combination of recorded video with real-time lectures conducted via Zoom.

Where possible and desired, we will also employ previously recorded lectures to serve as a preparatory tool or accompaniment to upcoming courses.

Members of the faculty meet each Wednesday in a virtual space to address matters such as student examination and discuss initial experiences with and best practices for using tools like Zoom in conducting classroom instruction.

Law School Administration & Management

Despite having had to close the campus, we have been able to continue teaching and research operations such that not all student positions have been impacted by the closure, an outcome for which we are incredibly fortunate! In situations where this is not the case and students are dependent upon the income from on-campus work, we would be glad to offer an advance to compensate for the current circumstances.

Immediately following the closure of campus, most employees began working remotely and, with incredible commitment, have supported the transition of Law School operations to the digital world.

Most of our colleagues are now equipped with the necessary hardware and software to make the most of their time in working remotely.
Bucerius Law School has thus been able to avoid turning to strategies such as reducing employee work hours. In cases where workload has seen a reduction, our employees have been able to make use of previously accrued overtime hours or vacation allowances carried over from the previous year. In addition, employees have been able to pool resources in supporting other departments for which recent developments have created additional work.

We offer our gratitude to sponsors who stand beside us—even in difficult times—and, above all, thank the ZEIT-Stiftung for its long-term, sustainable and unwavering commitment to our institution; it is through this generosity that all employee positions remain secure.

A large component of the Law School Spirit lies in social interactions that takes place on campus. With topic-focused video conferences a poor substitute for exchanges that would otherwise take place in the ​Fofftein​ (​our quaint staff kitchen)​ during group lunches in the cafeteria or in spontaneous hallway run-ins, we are implementing virtual after-work meet-ups to liven the mood and break up the monotony! This way, our staff can come together each week to chat about things beyond the workplace over a cup of coffee or a cold drink—a way to discuss a bit of this and that and rekindle bonds even when the campus lies dormant.

Applicants

Master of Law and Business

Yes! Please refer to the program website for details.

International Exchange Program

Regretfully, not in 2020. In light of the circumstances posed by the current situation, we have decided to cancel our upcoming international exchange program for both incoming and outgoing students. We plan to resume student exchange for the 2021 fall term and will be in touch with our partner institutions as soon as we are able to offer more information. Applicants for next autumn should follow the instructions posted here as well as those provided by their home institution.

LLB Program

Yes! Students who are interested in applying to the LLB program should follow instructions noted on the program website (in German). The selection process will be conducted virtually (in German).

We ask that all applicants register in their respective application portal. We will keep you informed of any procedural changes as information becomes available.

A proof of language proficiency is a mandatory component of an application to the Master of Law and Business Program. If you cannot provide it at the time of application, please submit it as soon as possible. Please note that without a proof of language proficiency, we can at best issue a conditional admission that is contingent upon submission of such proof before the start of the program.

In some countries, ETS offers the option of taking the TOEFL from home.

Applicants for the LLB Program may also take the at home TOEFL or submit the score by the time of the oral selection process; more information is available on the program site (in German).

Hamburg