The objectives of a student undertaking law study abroad during the J.D. program are 1) to obtain a deeper understanding of cross-cultural communication specific to the country in which the student studies, 2) to obtain knowledge of the laws and legal system of the country in which the student studies, and 3) to advance the student learning outcomes of the UMKC School of Law in the context of the cultural and legal environment of country in which the student studies.
Information relating to study abroad opportunities at UMKC is available on this website. In addition, information about programs at other law schools is available on the internet. Soe programs provide posters or brochures, which are available on the ground floor. Except as noted below, students with questions about study abroad programs should contact the sponsoring law school.
Information about credits for the China and Ireland/Wales programs is available on this website. Students desiring to apply credits to their UMKC law degree from coursework taken in a study abroad program from another school must obtain the prior approval of the associate dean. The request must be made in writing, accompanied by a brochure or other publication setting forth the sponsoring institution, the coursework available, the courses the student desires to take and the dates of study. Requests will be reviewed and students will receive a letter approving or denying the requests.
A grade of “C” or better must be earned in each course in order for credit for that course to transfer back to UMKC. In addition, even though the other institution assigns a grade, it will be recorded simply as a “credit” on the student’s UMKC transcript and will not be included in the student’s cumulative grade point average.
Associate Dean Thomas joined the UMKC Law Faculty in 1993. His research focuses on insurance law and on the intersection between law and culture. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the New Appleman on Insurance Law Library Edition, co-author of the three-volume treatise Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance, and an Adviser to the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law, Liability Insurance. His work on law and culture includes Rule of Law with Chinese Characteristics: An Empirical Cultural Perspective on China, Hong Kong and Singapore, 22 Asia Pacific Law Review 115 (2014), Cultural Imaginary, the Rule of Law and (Post-) Colonialism in Indonesia: Perspectives from Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s “This Earth of Mankind,” and The Law an Harry Potter (Carolina Academic Press, J. Thomas and F. Snyder, eds., 2010). His student comment, Statement of Fact, Statements of Opinion, and the First Amendment, 74 California Law Review 1001 (1986), has been cited by the United States Supreme Court.
Dean Thomas attended the BerkeleyLaw of the University of California, Berkeley, where he was an executive editor on the California Law Review. As an undergraduate, Dean Thomas studied political science at Loyola Marymount University, but spent much of his time engaged in competitive intercollegiate debate. He and his partner, Doug Cotton, were ranked in the top ten debate teams in the country by the National Debate Tournament at-large bidding process for his junior and senior years of college.
Before joining the faculty, Thomas was a Bigelow Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He also spent five years practicing law in Southern California with the law firm Irell and Manella, working on civil litigation and insurance coverage matters. Prior to practicing law, he was a law clerk to the Honorable M. Joseph Blumenfeld of the United State District Court, District of Connecticut.
He teaches Torts, Civil Procedure and Introduction to American Law and Culture. He has been a visiting professor at University of Connecticut, Nankai University in Tianjin, China (as a Fulbright Fellow), and Immanuel Kant State University inn Kaliningrad, Russia (also as a Fulbright Fellow), and an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School (Los Angeles). As Associate Dean, he has responsibility for oversight of international programs, including study abroad and the LL.M. in Lawyering. In his free time, Dean Thomas enjoys travel, books, popular culture, and chocolate. He is an amateur chocolatier.
Areas of expertise
Insurance law, torts, civil procedure, economics