Thursday, March 17, 2011

New International Barista Law Program

[One of the most somber and well thought out processes at any Law School is the development of new International Programs. They can take many forms -- an externship in a foreign land, a summer program in a country that is likely to be important in the future of the students, an exchange with students or faculty, or just a decision to send people to a random country that a tantrum-prone faculty member has an affinity for in order to enlighten students there. Here is a proposal a friend at another school emailed me. I wish someone at my school had thought of it first.]

I will shortly present to my Foreign Programs Committee for their assured approval and eventual faculty affirmation "Comparative International Barista Law." This builds from the solid faculty already in place who are the leading experts on barista law, or at least coffee law, or maybe just drinking coffee -- which happens a whole bunch -- but it's really all the same.

In the summer program, a small group of highly qualified students (qualifed because they are affluent enough to afford it or willing to incur yet another several thousands of dollars in debt) will visit the coffee shop capitals of the world, INCLUDING, a super special side trip to Amsterdam so the full breath of coffee shop diversity can be fully experienced. For many this will be the high point of the trip and special arrangements will be made for students who wish to remain in Amsterdam to pursue graduate work. The on-site offices for this part of the program are at the Banana Head Coffee Shop.

Vienna, Rome and Rio are on the agenda with several coffee shops visited at each location. Guest speakers at each stop will discuss barista law issues in each country -- unionization, copyright, scalding, decaf v. caf., truth in labeling, over-serving liability, being wired, wire tapping, tap dancing (something done best after a double espresso) and trade usage when instructed to "leave room for milk or cream." The most focused part of the experience will be in depth interviews with baristas from each country in order to understand how they really feel so the can be healed by sensitized American students having a fun time.

The examination part of the course can be satisfied in one of three ways. Students may write a ten page essay on "What I learned this summer." It must be submitted on lined paper and written with a fountain pen.(Please no coffee stains.) Those students opting for a concentration in Amsterdam may, alternatively, submit photos of milk designs made on top of cappuccinos. Finally, students who find evaluation uncomfortable may forgo the examination process altogether.

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