LL.M. Spotlight: Nina Oldehaver

Author: Amanda Gray

Nina Oldehaver

For Nina Oldehaver, her LL.M. degree from Notre Dame Law School will give her a better understanding in her international workplace.

During her mandatory two-year internship to become a lawyer in Germany, she worked in labor and employment law for international businesses. Working with American clients who have German businesses opened Oldehaver’s eyes to the differences between American and German labor laws. Knowing that she will do this kind of work long-term, she felt getting an LL.M. would give her an advantage.

“I became curious and wanted to find out how labor and employment law works in the U.S. to get a better understanding of it, so it could make my work with U.S. clients easier,” Oldehaver said. “I figured out that an LL.M. would be the best option to do so, so I started looking around.”

She found Notre Dame Law School’s LL.M. program at a higher education fair in Germany and felt an instant connection with the program.

“Everybody is really caring at Notre Dame and there is always somebody there, even if it’s just to ask you how you are,” Oldehaver said.

Between 30 and 40 students enroll in Notre Dame Law School’s LL.M. programs each year. These small programs provide students with individual attention and what Oldehaver described as a tight-knit “family” atmosphere. Oldehaver is enrolled in the LL.M. program that allows students to choose their courses and tailor their education to their specific interests. Another program, the LL.M. in International Human Rights Law, is designed to prepare lawyers to protect people’s rights around the world.

“The classes are really small, so the professor can actually adjust the syllabus to what the students want and need. And, of course, the London program,” she added.

Oldehaver is currently in London. She spent the fall semester at Notre Dame’s main campus in South Bend, Indiana, and she is spending the spring semester in London, where Notre Dame Law School has operated a study-abroad program since 1968.

Notre Dame’s LL.M. students have the option of studying for two semesters in South Bend or two semesters in London, or one semester in each location as Oldehaver is doing.

The London LL.M. program is smaller than the South Bend cohort, with a limited number of classes focused on comparative and international law. Oldehaver is enrolled in classes with current J.D. students from Notre Dame Law School, and taught by European faculty, focusing primarily on comparative law.

“Apart from the obvious — London is without a doubt one of the most exciting cities I have ever lived in — it gives me the great opportunity to learn both the American and the English legal system,” she said.

Whether she’s in South Bend or London, though, she said one thing stays the same: Notre Dame Law School feels like home.

“Notre Dame offered me a new home with amazing fellow students during my LL.M. year and the opportunity to fulfill any personal and professional objective I set myself for the year. I was able to get engaged in voluntary work, take which classes I preferred, and write an article together with one of my professors about a topic I have always been interested in. Everybody helped me to make this happen,” Oldehaver said. “And this is really the spirit of Notre Dame.”

Learn more about Notre Dame Law School’s LL.M. programs at law.nd.edu/LLM.