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

Updated 03.03.2021, 13:30

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, contact Jonathan Schramm of our Press Office.

Strength through community

“A year to remember” in times we would love to forget: 2020 was a challenge for us all and 2021 continues to demand agility and resourcefulness.

Like you, we have spent the past months doing our best to overcome difficult situations and cope with factors beyond our control. Looking beyond the moments of frustration—and outright exasperation—that the past year thrust upon us, we offer our deepest gratitude to the Law School community, to the residents and administrative leadership of Hamburg and to our network of outstanding partners for the support, patience and resilience they have demonstrated. Teamwork and a dash of Bucerius spirit have enabled us to continue our operations and we are grateful for this opportunity.

Certain international programs to take place as scheduled

We are closely monitoring developments surrounding SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 and will continue to do so over the coming months.

In the interest of safety and with regard to uncertainties created by the global reach of the pandemic, we have chosen to cancel our 2021 Summer Programs. During the month of May, an online series will be offered—check out Legal Tech Essentials

At this time, we anticipate holding our 2021 International Exchange Program and the 2021-22 Master of Law and Business as scheduled.

We will continue to analyze the situation, review updated state and federal guidelines and provide additional information regarding our plans. Should we have to postpone or cancel upcoming academic programming, all registered applicants will be notified at once.

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

The Current Situation

  • The 2021 spring term is in large part being held remotely
    • The LL.B. program is being conducted virtually
    • The MLB program is continuing in hybrid form
  • Meeting distance requirements remains a top priority
    • Members of the MLB program have been meeting in one of the our largest lecture halls
    • We set up a large tent in the campus courtyard for use by student cohorts
  • We have developed protective measures and a list of hygiene policies
    • While on campus, applicable rules must be observed by all members of the community

Anniversary celebration canceled

Our 20-year anniversary celebration, which had been postponed until June 10, 2021, has been canceled as a result of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19.

Looking back on the past year

  • The Law School saw on-campus operations grind to a halt on March 12, 2020
    • Internal processes, including teaching and examinations, were shifted to digital platforms
    • With the exception of critical functions, no activities were held on campus
    • With a few exceptions, staff transitioned to remote work
    • Owing to the financial support of the ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, our community was well prepared to navigate these difficult circumstances—especially in the area of digitization, e.g., through establishment of the Learning Innovation Lab
      For details about the first six weeks after the closure of campus, check out this post
  • The first (entirely) virtual trimester within the LL.B. program was held from April 27 - July 19, 2020
  • Following a two-month internship window involving a large amount of remote work, members of the Master of Law and Business (MLB) Class of 2020 took part in a virtual summer session from May 4 - June 12, 2020 and graduated (as planned!) on September 1, 2020.
  • The 2020 autumn term was held in hybrid form
    • Modules for the MLB program and legal coursework for the LLB program, including exams, were held on campus and via Zoom
    • The MLB Class of 2021 began their orientation on August 24 and coursework on September 7


    Yes, though only in following health and safety guidelines. Students are encouraged to conduct as much work as possible from off campus and staff are encouraged to work remotely.

    Individuals visiting campus are required to wear facial protection covering both the mouth and nose while in public areas, including hallways, seminar rooms and restrooms. Masks and facial protection may be removed while seated at individual workspaces (including in the library). When moving about the building, individuals are asked to keep right (right-hand traffic flow) to facilitate maintaining safe distances from others. Campus visitors must maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters from persons who do not reside in the same household.

    Turn your smartphone into a warning system and help disrupt chains of infection: learn more about the Corona-Warn-App, a tool that can help you to determine whether you have come into contact with an infected person and are at risk of infection.

    We are monitoring developments closely and exchanging regularly in video conferences with all department heads.

    As information becomes available, we will communicate updates regarding on-campus activities.

    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.

    Working remotely, the Bucerius Event Team is in close contact with all clients who have planned on-campus events for the coming months. Many events have been tentatively postponed. 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) 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.


    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 will be happy to address any inquiries that you may have regarding this topic; please feel free to contact him via the 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.

    Barring changes in health regulations, the MLB Program 2020/21 will continue to take place as scheduled on campus. The Orientation Program began on August 24, 2020 and regular classes began on September 7, 2020. For the beginning of the academic year, classes have been made available through Zoom for students who have not yet been able to travel to Hamburg. It is not foreseen that Zoom instruction will continue for the entire academic year, as the MLB Program cannot be studied in its entirety from abroad.

    Following a revised mandate from local authorities and in the interest of safety, the library has been closed.

    Library staff are committed to providing remote assistance.

    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 were 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.


    Master of Law and Business

    Yes! Please refer to the program website for details.

    International Exchange Program

    We plan to resume student exchange for the 2021 autumn term and will be in touch with our partner institutions as soon as we are able to offer more information; applicants for this term 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).