Dean’s Message

Dear Students,

Welcome to the Bar-Ilan Law Faculty community,

The Law Faculty at Bar-Ilan University is committed to three central values (1) Excellence in research and instruction (2) A commitment to Israeli society and Israeli law (3) Pluralism

Excellence in Research and Instruction

The faculty members are among the prominent researchers in Israel and worldwide in their respective fields. They publish their research in the most distinguished platforms and are often invited to teach and lecture in the most prestigious universities in the world. The faculty is unique in its young and dynamic staff. The younger faculty members are consistently featured in the list of promising young Israeli researchers in the field of law. In a study conducted by the Council for Higher Education examining the fruitfulness of researchers in law faculties around Israel, our faculty was ranked among the top two faculties. This study also found that the two young researchers (under 50) with the highest number of publications in the most prestigious platforms in the world are from within our faculty. The faculty maintains a variety of international ties; recently the faculty joined a unique initiative in the field of private law, in which six of the leading universities in the world, including Harvard University Law School are participants.

The acceptance rate of LL.B. students to the faculty is among the lowest in Israel. In the certification tests of the Israeli Bar Association, our students are consistently ranked among the top faculties. Our students receive a legal education at the highest level and our graduates reach impressive achievements. The faculty management often receives inquiries from judges, public bodies and prestigious private offices that have witnessed the quality of our students and request our assistance in their placement within their offices.

The faculty encourages outstanding students to participate in multi-disciplinary programs, combining legal studies with economics, philosophy, business administration, accounting and psychology, as well as programs combining legal studies abroad. The students often participate in international competitions in various fields such as humanitarian law and mediation, and often reap impressive achievements. The central law review of the faculty, "Law Studies", run by faculty students, is considered one of the leading law reviews in Israel. The faculty also conducts a number of unique workshops on a variety of subjects, such as: law and economics, philosophy and law, Jewish law, criminal law and constitutional law. In the academic year of 2013-2014, a special program will open aimed at promoting excellence that will involve personal mentoring of excellent students by the faculty lecturers.

The LL.M. programs of the faculty are unique and have garnered a reputation as they allow specializing in particular tracks focused on specific fields of law, such as commercial law, criminal law, negotiation and mediation. The faculty also offers master's degree programs for students without a bachelor's degree in law who wish to add legal knowledge to their education. The various programs draw students from all institutions of higher education in Israel. Outstanding graduates from out LL.M. program (for lawyers) interested in dedicating themselves to legal research can be accepted to the prestigious doctoral program of our faculty. Some of these students are offered generous stipends, allowing them to fully devote their time to research. A number of graduates from the doctoral program are among the leading legal researchers in Israel, and employed at various academic institutions in Israel and worldwide. The faculty has recently joined, as the only faculty in Israel to do so, the prestigious Atlas Initiative, promoting international cooperation between doctoral students at the leading universities worldwide.

A Commitment to Israeli Society and Israeli Law

The law faculty at Bar-Ilan University is not closed off in the academic ivory tower and is characterized with a deep commitment to Israeli law and Israeli society. This commitment is displayed in a number of aspects:

First, the faculty runs a project of legal clinics, unusual in its scope and areas of activity. The faculty invests many resources in its development. These clinics address individual hardships and distress as well as fundamental social issues. The clinical areas of activity include civil legal aid, public defending, rights of the handicapped, environmental issues, Jewish law, women's' rights, mediation and assistance to the elderly and holocaust survivors. All faculty students participate in the clinical activity as part of their legal education.

Secondly, a deep commitment to the development of Israeli law in general, specifically its Jewish and democratic character, while addressing the social gaps and rifts as well as the challenges posed by Israel's unique identity. In this framework, the faculty houses the Tiger Program for the study of Jewish law, a field in which the faculty is among the leading institutions in the world. The faculty is currently working on establishing a research institution focused on studying Israeli law as Jewish and democratic.

Thirdly, the faculty encourages its members to engage in the development of Israeli law. Various faculty members participate, mostly on a volunteer basis, in legislative committees and public action. The faculty is proud that many legal reforms in various fields have developed from the research and public action of its members.

Fourth, the faculty hosts a unique forum for cooperation between legal academia and the Supreme Court, initiated and headed by the President of the Supreme Court and the dean of the faculty.

Fifth, within the faculty, operate a number of projects and establishments focused on the interface between the law and Israeli society, among them: The Emanuel Rackman Center working to promote women's rights, and The Center for Communication and Law, a joint initiative of the law faculty and the school of communication. In addition, the faculty houses a number of unique forums, such as The Breakfast Forum, in which faculty members, judges, legislators and lawyers participate, as well as The Forum for Constitutional Law, in which the best in the field of constitutional law participate. The faculty is currently establishing two additional programs: The first, Bar-Ilan Colleagues, in which the leading legal offices in Israel will cooperate with the faculty in various fields of legal education, placement and contribution to the community. The second program, as part of a general program to connect between the faculty and regulators and lawmakers, is a unique initiative of educational internships of students in the public sector and the legal office of the Knesset.

Pluralism- as A Communal Reality and A Foundational Value

The Bar-Ilan University Law Faculty carries the banner of pluralism not just as a theory, but as a reality of a community of students and researchers containing a plurality of views, perspectives and disciplines as well as a normative, foundational value of the faculty and its activity. Our faculty takes pride in inviting students and researchers to encounter people unlike them, for penetrating, respectful and in-depth discussion in a manner allowing for the pluralistic and inclusive design of the faculty community, as well as Israeli society, despite the differences, the variety and the disagreements. Accordingly, the makeup of the faculty and its students consists of a similar rate of religious and secular people; there are faculty members and students with varying political and economic perspectives, while we all share the desire to think as a community and about the community. In this context, in the last year a number of unique projects have been operating within the faculty: The first is a unique research group in which lecturers, students and clinicians participate, dealing with legal pluralism in general, specifically within Israeli law. The second project is a forum called Legal Encounters, in which researchers of Jewish law and general fields of law meet and discuss similar issues they encounter throughout their research. The third project, operated at the initiative of the student council, is called Celebrating Democracy, through which public officials on various ends of the political spectrum are invited to present their approach and worldview regarding democracy in Israel. Finally, the faculty operates a variety of projects, such as Excellence in the Periphery, aimed at integrating various populations currently uninvolved in the academic world.

Dear Students,

Throughout your studies in the faculty, you will discover that beyond those three central values - excellence, communal responsibility and pluralism - there is another important quality of our faculty. The faculty itself is a type of community. Throughout your studies, you will experience the wonderful relationship among the students, as well as between the students and the academic, administrative and clinical faculty staff.

I would like to congratulate you upon joining the faculty community and am convinced that you will write a new and meaningful chapter in its history.

Yours,

Professor Shahar Lifshitz , Dean