Course Descriptions

Fall 2015 LLM in International Law Class Descriptions

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Comparative Con Law (Laurence Claus)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

This course considers how sophisticated political systems limit and channel the exercise of governmental power. We do this primarily by taking the great issues of American constitutional law and asking how those issues are treated elsewhere. The course is open to all upper-class students, and may be taken concurrent with Constitutional Law. A research paper is required.

Comparative Law (Pierre Legrand)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

Most courses in law school are about U.S. law. This course is different as it focuses on foreign law. Obviously, foreign law matters to all U.S. lawyers operating on the international scene, for example in international business or in international arbitration. And just as evidently, foreign law is very important within national law. Indeed, a huge quantity of legal situations in the U.S. involve foreign law (whether it be a contract entered into in New York governed by German law or a deceased person from San Francisco bequeathing real estate in France or the victims of a massive chemical explosion in India suing in U.S. courts). More controversially, there are those (including a number of U.S. Supreme Court Justices) who claim that, in an age of globalization when the U.S. is more interconnected with the rest of the world than ever before, U.S. law ought to derive inspiration from foreign law, for instance in constitutional litigation involving the death penalty or the rights of sexual minorities. This course will apply itself to this debate and discuss to what extent foreign law can or must act as persuasive authority. It will also consider two primordial questions. First, how could a U.S. lawyer get to know foreign law despite all the cultural differences arising across laws? Secondly, to what extent is meaningful understanding of foreign law possible? As regards these issues, various theoretical topics will be raised from an interdisciplinary perspective and some case-studies will be considered. This 2-credit course is taught in full in August and September and the final “take-home” examination is set at the end of the course towards the end of September. No prior knowledge of foreign law or of a foreign language is required.

European Union Commercial Law (Jens Schovsbo, Vibe Ulfbeck)

1 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

As business is becoming more international so must the law and lawyers. In a world of international trade and transactions companies and their advisers need to have a global legal horizon. Until quite recently, it would not have made any practical sense to talk about an “EU commercial law”. However, due to the ongoing harmonization of the law of the EU countries a body of truly common European law is emerging from the melting pot of the national laws and traditions and EU institutions and courts. The course draws on the results of 30 years of continued and ongoing EU harmonization to provide US law students with an overview of some of the central aspects of European commercial law. The course focuses on the practical legal problems facing an American enterprise doing business in Europe but at the same time provides for a basic understanding of the EU legal framework. After a brief general introduction to EU law the course falls in two parts. Part I deals with the transfer of goods and covers such topics as general contract law (PECL Principles of European Contract Law), the EC directive on Unfair Contract Terms, and the EC directive on Products Liability. Part II deals with the trade in intangible rights notably patents and trademarks. This part opens with a general presentation of the European systems for the protection of inventions and trademarks. It then moves on to discuss aspects relating to the exercise of those rights in regard to the Treaty rules on the free movement of goods (“parallel importation” and the principle of “exhaustion of rights”) and to tech-trans agreements and other issues involving competition law. The course requires no prior knowledge of European law.  There will be a final exam scheduled in early November.

European Union Law (Ralph H. Folsom)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

Law, policy and procedures of the European Union, including growth of the EU common market and its jurisdiction, law-making, litigation, freedoms of movement, common economic and social policies, the EURO, external trade relations, human rights, and business competition law. This is a paper course.

Immigration Clinic I (Sandra M. Wagner)

1-4 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

Students gain practical experience through interviewing, counseling, and representing clients with immigration-related problems. Students have the opportunity to assist clients with a range of immigration issues such as naturalization, lawful permanent residency, derivative citizenship, deferred action, and U-visa and VAWA for domestic violence and abuse victims. Students may attend U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services interviews related to their client’s applications. Students may also attend and participate in community immigration outreach. Weekly meetings are held with the clinic supervisor and other interns to discuss immigration law, practical application and casework. The clinic is graded on a 4-tier Pass-Fail basis. No Prerequisites.

Immigration Clinic II (Sandra M. Wagner)

1-4 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

Clinic II interns refine their skills, working on complex cases and cases already begun as Clinic I interns. Students may mentor first time clinic participants, serve as lead attorney on cases, and have additional opportunities to appear in court or administrative proceedings. Supervising attorneys/adjunct professors provide individualized coaching, based on the Clinic II interns’ needs and interests. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Clinic I in the same clinic. The clinic is graded on a 4-tier Pass-Fail basis. 

International Asia-Pacific Commercial Arbitration (David W. Brennan)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

This course is the study of international commercial arbitration that emphasizes the Asia/Pacific region’s practices and arbitral regimes. The study will use The Convention on the International Sale of Good (CISG) to study all facets of sales and trade in goods from contract formation, terms, obligations, performance, breaches, excuses and remedies. The study of arbitration clauses and the practices of the arbitral institutions in the Asia-Pacific region is a focus. The steps from initiating arbitration, appointing arbitrators, composition of arbitral tribunals, procedures including written and oral submissions and the scope and limits on evidence are all considered. The course will address the UNCITRAL Model Law for arbitration and compare it to Asia-Pacific arbitral systems including CIETAC, HKIAC, and CEAC. The substance, procedural and conflicts of law situations will be addressed. The course objective is to develop the capacity to be able to engage in arbitration processes in the Asia-Pacific Region for international commercial sales and trade disputes. The classes, materials and certain model problems will facilitate that objective. The class also builds the very different research approaches and skills required to determine issues under The CISG, including those from recognized international principles, writings of scholars, rules and guidelines together with principles from arbitral decisions. The course will be required for incoming 2L VICAM candidates and is also open to all other eligible students. The only prerequisite for this course is for JD students who should have completed all of the required first-year courses and be in their second year. The course will be letter-graded based on a final examination.

International Civil Litigation (Walter Heiser)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)
Prerequisite(s): Civil Procedure

International Civil Litigation will deal with a variety of issues which arise in international litigation in courts of the United States. Likely to be included are Judicial jurisdiction; service of process abroad; forum selection; taking evidence abroad; Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976; subject matter and legislative jurisdiction; the Act of State Doctrine; recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments; and international arbitration.

International Contracts (Herbert I. Lazerow)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

Legal aspects of contracts for the international sale of goods under the UN Convention. Topics include the applicability of the convention and its most important substantive provisions including contract formation, choice of forum, choice of law, warranties, risk of loss, excuse and dispute resolution.

International Human Rights (Dustin N. Sharp)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

In the brief span of 60 years, the idea of human rights has grown tremendously. What began as a marginal utopian discourse has today arguably become “the dominant moral narrative for thinking about world affairs.” At the same time, rights remain controversial and contested, and gaps in enforcement of human rights norms are conspicuous. This course examines the actors, organizations and ideas behind these developments, as well as the vast challenges we face today in attempting to enforce human rights norms globally. The course begins by examining the philosophical and political bases for the international human rights idea, probing the ongoing debate over universality, culture, and human rights. Aspart of this inquiry, we also examine the normative pillars of international human rights law. In the second part of the course, we will analyze various dimensions and challenges of human rights enforcement, including the main United Nations and regional human rights systems, prosecutions and transitional justice, the advocacy work of NGOs and human rights activists, and the new concept of the “responsibility to protect,” or R2P. In the final part of the semester, we will engage in a more in-depth examination of several distinct human rights issues, including torture and women’s rights. In all this, the course aims to provide students with knowledge of human rights at the level of intellectual theory and discourse, as well as a realm of concrete, “real world” action, controversy, and struggle. The final course grade will be based on a written paper, an oral presentation, and several short assignments.



International Negotiation (Allen C. Snyder)

3 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

The course will include specific materials and skill-building exercises on cross-cultural aspects of the bargaining process. Participants will include lawyers from other nations who are enrolled in USD's LLMC program, and upper class American JD students. Four-tier Pass/Fail grading.

Note: Students may only elect this course, Alternative Dispute Resolution or Negotiation to count towards the Civil Litigation Concentration (JD).
Additional Information:Civil Litigation Concentration

International Taxation (Dennis Lilly)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I
Recommended Class(es): Tax II

This basic course in international taxation will focus on the principles relating to the taxation of foreign persons (individuals as well as legal entities) by the United States and the U.S. taxation of income received by U.S. individuals and entities from activities abroad. Topics will include principles of international tax jurisdiction; rules relating to the source of income and deductions; the foreign tax credit; Section 482 and transfer pricing; foreign currency translations; international double taxation treaties and an introduction to controlled foreign corporations.

Public International Law (Maimon Schwarzschild)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)

Public International Law examines the origin, content and operation of the law applicable to the conduct of nation states and international organizations and to their relations with one another. Particular attention is given to the relationship between international law and national law, international agreements, use of force, terrorism, peaceful settlement of disputes, jurisdictional principles, human rights, the status of individuals under international law, state responsibility and remedies, legal protection of foreign investment and the law of the sea.

Note: This is a required course for the International Law Concentration (JD).

Taxation of International Finance (John I. Forry)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): LLM in International Law (LLMI)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I or Corporate Finance

This course derives – from alternative approaches to capital investment neutrality and governmental benefit – the competing national bases for income, asset transfer and value added taxation of cross-border activities. The current importance of transfer pricing among related parties and the mitigation of multiple national taxation by unilateral national measures, tax treaties and EU directives are discussed and illustrated by examples. The course then applies these key tax concepts in structuring cross-border financing, including international project finance, securitization, capital markets equity and debt financing, and the use of international investment funds. Early in the course, students are assigned to teams. Each team is provided with a brief case study, makes a presentation in the final sessions of the course and afterwards provides a paper covering the key issues of its case study. In addition, each student’s course grade may be increased (but not decreased) based upon classroom performance by one grade level (e.g., from B to B+). Prerequisite: Tax I or Corporate Finance. 

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