International Law / Area Studies

LAW 030 v00 Asian Law and Policy Studies Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This is a research seminar in which students will present their current research on Asian law and policy at the end of seminar classes where we consider the various areas of law and development which have led to the economic dynamism of the Asia-Pacific region. The impact of the Asia-Pacific region on the world market and global economic activity is substantial and continues to grow. In addition, the conspicuous success and some spectacular failures of Asian nations in legal and economic development have prompted suggestions that the experience of these nations may provide models (both positive and negative) for other developing countries and regions. The seminar will explore--in connection with the role of law and legal institutions--the interaction of social change, economic growth, and legal development in East and Southeast Asia. Specific topics will depend on the research interests of the participants, but will include capital formation, financial regulation, transnational trade and investment, intellectual property, land reform, environmental protection, worker protection, human rights, and similar private and public law issues. The first few classes will introduce elements of development economics relevant to law and development.


Each student will also prepare a substantial academic work of publishable quality and present a 20-30 minute precis of it to the seminar. The student papers are expected to meet or preferably to exceed the requirements of the typical research paper in scope, depth, and quality. Guest speakers may present some classes separately or together with the instructor.

Recommended: Comparative Law (or the equivalent Comparative Law: Legal Systems in Transition) or any course in Asian law.

LAW 1529 v00 China and International Law

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

Over the past forty years, China has gone from one of the most isolated countries in the world to a major player in international affairs, a leading exporter, and a much more influential voice on regional security matters. Yet even with the rapid economic growth and increased influence that China has achieved over the past several decades, it maintains an ambivalent attitude towards many key aspects of international law and the architecture of global order. This class will explore China’s ambivalent engagement with international law in the context of its increasing prominence as an emerging power, and will in particular look to address the question of how China might adapt to the existing world order, and the ways in which it might look to influence its evolution. The class will cover a range of issues, including China’s membership in the WTO; its engagement with the international human rights regime; China’s approach to international cooperation on issues like global warming and nuclear non-proliferation; and international law aspects of the dispute over the South China Sea; among others.

Learning Objectives:

This class will provide you with a solid understanding of China’s approach to key international law issues, and also a sense of the Chinese government’s views on international law and international legal institutions more generally. By the end of the semester, you should have a sense of how China fits into the existing global legal order, and the ways in which it is seeking to influence or even alter it. In-class discussions will also bring out the ways in which other states have sought to influence Chinese behavior, which will give you a sense of how and when relatively powerful states like China can be convinced to alter their approach to key international law issues.

For students who have not previously taken a class on public international law, this course will serve as a basic introduction to key concepts of international law (although the readings will focus very heavily on the Chinese approach, rather than the underlying law itself); for those who have taken prior international law courses, this course will serve as a useful refresher.

A core goal of the class is to understand international law from the perspective of the Chinese state. In other words, students will develop a sense of why China makes the choices it does on key international law issues, and what values and political and historical dynamics drive its decision-making. In so doing, students will gain insight into a different political-legal culture, and seek to understand how different political-legal systems – including non-democratic ones like China – come to grips with legal questions in ways that may differ markedly from the approach of the U.S. government. At the same time, having taken steps to articulate China’s perspective, students may be able to see more clearly the values and political and historical factors that drive American decisions on key international law issues.

Finally, a core goal of the response papers – above and beyond demonstrating an understanding of the substance of the readings – will be to give students the chance to build their skills at analyzing legal arguments, and in building their own written arguments in response to them. As noted below, response papers will be graded both on the basis of demonstrated mastery of the material, and also on the basis of the successful construction of a persuasive and fact-based argument.

Recommended: International Law I: Introduction to International Law.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. Students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 1546 v00 Chinese Legal System

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This course aims to provide an overview of the legal system of the People's Republic of China. The focus will be more on institutions than on specific rules, because finding the rules is much simpler than understanding their institutional context. We will, however, look at specific pieces of legislation as we go along.

China's legal system exists together with its political, economic, and social structures, and cannot be understood in isolation from them. Thus, part of this course is necessarily about understanding modern China in general, not just its legal system. By the time the course is over, I hope that students will have an understanding of the environment within which Chinese law operates, and will be able to appreciate the differences between the way rules operate in the United States and the way they operate in China as well as the reasons for those differences. Although this course, as a survey course, does not specifically address issues of legal aspects of doing business in China (that is another course), it is a highly recommended preparation for such a course, and it is intended to be useful to anyone contemplating a legal career involving China.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and Chinese Law Seminar.

LAW 807 v00 Cross-Border Transactions in Latin America

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

The course is designed to give students an overview and practical insight on the legal aspects of doing business with or investing in Latin America. The course will focus on Mexico, but will also address legal issues associated with doing business in Central and South American countries. Topics will be discussed from the perspective of U.S. investors doing business in the region, and will cover the legal implications of cross-border distribution, licensing and joint venture arrangements, acquisitions and direct investments, labor planning and creditor rights.

Recommended: Contracts, Corporations, and International Business Transactions.

Note: ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS. Enrolled students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain enrolled. Waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain eligible to be admitted off the waitlist. All enrolled students must attend each class session in its entirety. Failure to attend the first class session in its entirety will result in a drop; failure to attend any subsequent class session in its entirety will result in a withdrawal.

Enrolled students will have until the beginning of the second class session to request a drop by contacting the Office of the Registrar; a student who no longer wishes to remain enrolled after the second class session begins will not be permitted to drop the class but may request a withdrawal from an academic advisor in the Office of Academic Affairs. Withdrawals are permitted up until the last class for this specific course.

LAW 254 v02 Japan/US Comparative Legal Study

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

This course provides a comparison of aspects of the Japanese and US legal systems with the objectives of (a) providing some insight into the Japanese system, (b) demonstrating how legal concepts taken from an established legal system are "reinterpreted" when imported into a different legal system based on a different culture and history and (c) providing a basic understanding of selected Japanese legal topics. Among the substantive law areas which will be compared (after a survey of historical and societal foundations which affect the Japanese and US legal systems) are various aspects of Constitutional Law including Separation of Powers, the Legal System and the Japanese Constitutional provision Renouncing War; the differing views of dispute resolution including Litigation, mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolution devises and their role in the legal systems of Japan and the US; discussion of the New (1998) Code of Civil Procedure and its potential effects on the future of litigation in Japan; the changing environment of the study and practice of law in Japan, including the 2001 recommendations of the Council on Judicial Reform; Equality and concepts of equal treatment opportunity; Criminal Law and Administrative Law.

Note: WEEK ONE COURSE. This seminar will meet for one week only on the following days: Monday, January 8, 2018 through Friday, January 12, 2018, 6:00 p.m. - 8:35 p.m.

This course is mandatory pass/fail and will not count toward the 7 credit pass/fail limit for J.D. students.

Attendance at all class sessions is mandatory and all enrolled students must attend the first class in order to remain enrolled. Students on the wait list must attend the first class in order to be admitted off the wait list. Enrolled students will have until the beginning of the second class session to request a drop by contacting the Office of the Registrar. Once the second class session begins, students may only seek a withdrawal by contacting their academic advisor in the Office of Graduate Programs. Withdrawals are permitted up until the last class for this specific course.

LAW 785 v00 Regional Trade Agreements: The Changing Landscape of International Rules and Policies in the Americas and Beyond

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

The goal of the course is to provide with an in-depth understanding of the most recent regional and bilateral trade agreements in the context of the international trade law system and the interplay of regional arrangements with multilateral rules. Students will acquire knowledge and insights on policies and rules to undertake specialized private practice or government service to handle complex and develop critical thinking regarding the most current trade issues. The course encourages students to develop skills to engage in the preparation and presentation of trade briefings and policy notes dealing with ongoing cases and trade negotiations and disputes. 

The course offers students the opportunity to engage in open guided analytical discussions on the major legal and economic issues of regional trade arrangements (RTAs) and trade negotiations with a special focus on the Americas and their links within the Western hemisphere and with other regions around the world.

Special attention is devoted the most relevant negotiations and other global impactful events on the trade fields such as the NAFTA negotiations. The seminar will also discuss the linkages between RTAs and the current trade policy developments (e.g. Asia Pacific, Transatlantic) at the multilateral, regional and national level and how they are affecting trade integration in the Americas and beyond.

Topics that will be covered in this course are trade in agriculture, industrial products, services and investment, market access, trade remedies, intellectual property, competition and dispute settlement and other topics such as environment, labor and digital trade.

The analysis and discussions in class will be based on treaty text, jurisprudence and the practical, hands-on experience of the professors. Guest-speakers – including practitioners, government officials, or staff from relevant international organizations – will be invited to a few sessions.

Students will be asked to participate in class presentations and/or group exercises on the topics covered, for example on a hypothetical case study of exports/imports, taking up the role of advisors based in either the importing country or the exporting country. They are also encouraged to bring to the discussion resources and points of view beyond those recommended.

Students will be required to write a take-home exam of maximum 10 pages long (double space). Class attendance, oral presentation, and class participation will be part of the overall evaluation.

Prerequisite: for J.D. students only: International Law I: Introduction to International Law (or the equivalent of International Law I, which is a 3 credit course in public international law).

Note: This course is limited to LL.M. students and students in the final year of their JD program.