International & Comparative Law

Lawyers are involved both in public international law (the law that governs relationships among nations) and in private international law (the law that governs transactions between private parties). Public international law is a distinct and self-contained system of law, independent of the national systems with which it interacts, and dealing with relations which they do not effectively govern. Private international law governs the choice of law to apply when there are conflicts in the domestic law of different countries related to private transactions. This means that there is a dispute or transaction that involves what jurisdiction applies, the choice of law to apply, or recognition or enforcement of a foreign judgment.

In addition, the increasing globalization of commerce means that many lawyers will have clients who do business in a number of different countries or otherwise have multi-national connections. This means they will need to know something about the internal law of other nations. Comparative law is a legal methodology that looks at the various ways legal systems are structured and considers some of the typical differences among common law, civil law, and religious law systems. Conflict of Laws addresses cross-jurisdictional issues of choice of law and forum, jurisdictional conflicts, and the enforcement of judgments and awards.

Foundation Courses – Introducing the Basic Concepts
  • International Law
  • Comparative Law I
  • Conflict of Laws
  • International Business & Financial Transactions
  • International Economic Law & Development
  • International Litigation & Arbitration
  • International Protection of Human Rights
Recommended Courses – International & Comparative Law Electives
  • Comparative Law II: Law of Treaties (EW)
  • European Union Law
  • Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (EW)
  • Foreign Investment: Rules of International Law
  • Immigration Law
  • International & Comparative Health Law
  • International Criminal Law
  • International Economic Law & Development
  • International Environmental Law
  • International & Foreign Legal Research
  • International Franchising
  • International Humanitarian Law
  • International Intellectual Property
  • International Legal Research (PS)
  • International Litigation & Arbitration (GW)
  • International Protection of Human Rights (EW)
  • International Tax I & II
  • Oil & Gas Contracts: Domestic & International
  • Perspectives on Counter-Terrorism (EW)
Students interested in international and comparative law might want to consider applying for the Oxford summer program. See http://www.law.smu.edu/lawschool/oxford/oxfordprogramme.shtm for details.

Related Courses
  • Business Enterprise
  • Constitutional Law I & II
Lawyers representing international clients will most often be giving them advice about U.S. law, and so it is important to be familiar with federal and state law. Consult the other listings for the courses in the areas in which you anticipate your clients may need advice, such as Antitrust Law, Business and Corporate Law, Commercial Law, Tax Law, Family Law, Intellectual Property Law, Immigration Law or the like.

Externships
  • Executive Office for Immigration Review
  • US Citizenship & Immigration Services Chief Area Counsel's Office
  • International Law Externships
Public Service Placements
  • Catholic Charities
  • Human Rights Initiative
Student Groups
  • International Law Society
  • International Law Review Association
Faculty
Here are the full-time faculty members who teach or have an interest in this area:
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