Course Descriptions

Fall 2017 LLM in International Law Class Descriptions

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Comparative Law (Pierre Legrand)

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

This three-credit course divides into three parts.

Firstly, the course addresses an ongoing paradox concerning the place of foreign law on the U.S. legal scene against the background of globalization. While foreign circumstances are more present than ever in cases coming before U.S. appellate courts on account of increasing economic, political, and institutional interdependence on the world stage, there is strong resistance, cutting across conservative/liberal lines, on the part of many U.S. legislative assemblies, judges, and commentators to the practice of U.S. cross-references to foreign law. What must be the normative reach of foreign law in the United States? Arguments from constitutionalism and democracy are examples of the claims that will be canvassed.

Secondly, the course considers various interpretive challenges necessarily arising from any U.S. legal interaction with foreign law. How much understanding of foreign law must a U.S. lawmaker, judge, teacher, or lawyer achieve before advertence to it becomes legitimate? For example, how “cultural” must U.S. legal analysis of foreign law make itself in order to prove creditable? Can U.S. understanding of foreign law ever manage to avoid ethnocentric bias? Is the fact that foreign law exists in a foreign language an obstacle to meaningful U.S. knowledge? Are there methodological keys that can optimize the acquisition of foreign knowledge? Such questions will be approached from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Thirdly, the course investigates selected topics allowing for practical and in-depth familiarization with the difficulties and opportunities attendant upon the interplay between U.S. and foreign law. The treatment of privacy laws in Europe and in the United States and proof of foreign law in U.S. courts are two illustrations that will be examined.

This course is taught on an intensive basis during the first four weeks of the fall semester. Meetings take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays & Fridays from 1:00 to 3:55. The course concludes with a “take-home” examination. No prior knowledge of foreign law or of a foreign language is expected.

Immigration Clinic I (Sandra M. Wagner)

2-4 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Experiential
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): Experiential
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 to be held in October.

International Business Transactions (Ralph H. Folsom)

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

This is an introductory course on international business law. The course book employed is problem-oriented, focusing student attention on practical problem solving. The course coverage is global, and may include problems related to international sales transactions, letters of credit, customs, import and export trade law, technology transfers across borders, foreign investment law, and international business dispute settlement. Grading is by final exam and midterm. 

This course will principally focus via lectures on the extensive law of the World Trade Organization, Brexit, and NAFTA and its "re-negotiation". 

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

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): Experiential
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

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.

International Trade & Investment (Ralph H. Folsom)

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

This course will analyze the key legal and policy issues relating to international trade and investment, with particular emphasis on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Additional topics include aspects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the European Union, and U.S. laws relating to international trade and investment. Substantial emphasis will be placed on matters of current interest and controversy, including the global explosion of free trade agreements, the relationship between the United States and China, and efforts to develop protections for investment, labor and the environment. The grade will be entirely based on a research paper suitable for USD written work requirements.

Transitional Justice (Dustin N. Sharp)

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

“Transitional Justice” is an emerging field of policy, practice, and study that focuses on the moral, legal, and political dilemmas encountered as individuals, communities, and nations attempt to grapple with historical legacies of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and other large-scale human rights violations. In such circumstances: Who must be punished and who may be pardoned? Do vigorous efforts to promote legal accountability jeopardize the emerging and fragile peace? What is the proper role and responsibility of the so-called international community? In this class, we will examine the complementarity and conflict between the often overlapping demands that nations face in the wake of large-scale human rights abuses, including retribution, reconciliation, restitution, memory, and other forms of accountability. This will include study of the traditional range of transitional justice tools and interventions that have evolved, including international tribunals from Nuremburg to the ICC, truth commissions, reparations programs, public memorials, vetting and lustration initiatives, and broader institutional reform. Along the way, we will probe the blind spots, assumptions, and limitations of varying transitional justice mechanisms, together with the transitional justice project in general. Course grades will be determined on the basis of class participation, short reaction papers, a group oral presentation, and a final research paper. Please be advised that this course does not fulfill the law school’s written work requirement.

This class starts on Thursday, January 26, 2017. 

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