International Law Course Offerings

Comparative Constitutional Law

This course involves the study of constitutionalism and how the U.S. approach to constitutional law is similar to that of other countries with constitutions. By thinking about the legal arrangements in the United States and learning about those in other countries, students will enhance their knowledge and understanding of the world. This in turn may affect the actual practices of lawyers in courts, whether they are in domestic or international settings.

Comparative Law: English Legal System

A survey of the development of the English legal system with special emphasis on European influences and on the period 1990 to the present day. Although historical development will be covered, the main focus will be on the struggles within a millennial legal system as it adjusts to modern pressures and trends. Comparisons to the United States system will be included throughout the course.

Conflict of Laws

The law relating to transactions or occurrences when some or all of the operative facts arise in more than one state; jurisdiction of court's enforcement of foreign judgments and decrees; choice of conflicting law in situations involving torts, contracts, property, marriage, divorce, and procedural problems.

European Union: Institutions & Principles

A survey of EU history and politics; the legal institutions, their structures, powers, and enforcement actions; basic legal principles; and administrative and constitutional pressures on the EU.

Global Biosecurity Law

This course will begin with an examination of international history in biodefense law including major treaties in biosecurity and biosafety law, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Cartegena Protocol. Biosecurity regulations and legal frameworks in other countries will also be examined. International law and public health as well as regulatory approaches of the World Health Organization will be examined in their role in protecting global health through regulatory and process approaches. Biodiplomacy and the role of Interpol in biocrimes, will also be considered.

Intelligence Law

Examines the development of intelligence law beginning with the creation of the CIA in 1947. Explores identification, examination and analysis of current legal questions that face governments, intelligence practitioners, citizens and persons in the United States. Review of Constitutional, statutory and executive authorities that govern the intelligence community; intelligence structures of the United States and other countries; natural tension between law enforcement and intelligence activities and surveillance of persons in a constitutional democracy; and FISA and data mining activities. Examines changes instituted with the USA PATRIOT ACT of 2001 and the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 in the context of post 9/11 changes in the federal structure for handling intelligence. Litigation against U.S. intelligence, surveillance, wiretaps and espionage complete the scope of the course.

International Business Transactions

International globalization and communications over the World Wide Web have made it a certainty that almost every area of the practice of law in the 21st Century will at some point touch upon international commerce. This course introduces students to the legal aspects of doing business abroad, particularly in the developing countries. The topics are relevant not only for students who hope to learn to deal with problems faced by large multinational corporations investing in foreign nations, but for students who will work in rural areas, where the local merchant may be importing crafts or specialty items from a foreign nation for resale to customers. Students will develop the tools necessary to assist their clients in writing international contracts, anticipating problems, and resolving conflicts that develop along the way. Among other things, the course will cover international contracting, international financing, choice of law and forum problems, forms of direct and indirect foreign investment, transfer of technology problems, transnational litigation, arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution, survey of U.S. and European antitrust laws, as well as international treaties and laws impacting upon the foregoing.

International Environmental Law

A contemporary perspective of the international law applicable to transboundary and global environmental issues. The course will pay particular attention to the relationship of international environmental law with international trade, development, and human rights, and the role of international and non-governmental organizations in the development of international law and policy. Case studies of disputes and investigations will be discussed on topics such as transboundary pollution, international waterways, the global commons, global warming, import/export of hazardous substances, species extinction, and others.

International Human Rights

This course introduces the origins of the idea of human rights and the legal and political human rights movement, and will cover the basic international agreements and other instruments and the customary international law of human rights, as well as their implementation by international and national courts and other bodies. The course will then focus on two areas of particular substantive human rights: (1) international human rights in the area of criminal justice and punishment, with particular emphasis on the death penalty; and (2) economic and social rights, including problems and issues of labor, private property, and social welfare.

International Water Law

This seminar will consider the basic concepts of international law relating to the navigational and non-navigational uses of freshwater resources (surface and ground water). The course will address the exploitation, management, and conservation of domestic and transboundary water resources; consider issues of ownership, sovereignty, and rights to water; and delve into the ethics, human and environmental aspects of water. Throughout the course, the work of United Nations and other international organizations will be assessed and case studies will be incorporated into class discussions and assignments that address such topics as: availability, distribution, and scarcity of global freshwater; rights to and sovereignty over natural resources; conflict, conflict resolution, and dispute prevention; the ethics of water; human rights; water and the environment; and development, exploitation, and conservation of transboundary freshwater resources.

Law of Citizenship, Naturalization and Immigration

A study of the Constitution, federal statutes, regulations, case law, and administrative decisions relating to citizenship, aliens, and admission into and deportation from the United States.

Mexican Legal Institutions

This course is taught as part of our "Summer Law Institute" program in Guanajuato, Mexico. The course is divided into sections to cover three fundamental institutions of the Mexican Legal System: Constitutional law and Amparo, Criminal law, and Civil law. The constitutional law section will cover individual legal rights and powers. The criminal law section will cover narco-trafficking, kidnapping of children, public health crimes and trafficking in human organs. The civil law section will cover contracts, federal and state civil law, and wills.


This course introduces students to the substantive legal, procedural and institutional aspects of NAFTA. Students will develop tools for transnational practice by analyzing the myriad of legal issues involved in the trade of goods and services, investment and intellectual property protection among the countries of Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

Special attention will be given to methods of resolving disputes under NAFTA, and to the controversies of environmental and labor law enforcement under the NAFTA Side Agreements. Prospects of future integrations, particularly the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), will be examined.

National Security Law

This course will address the allocation of foreign affairs powers between the state and national governments and the allocation of those powers among the three branches of the national government. War Powers Act and the President's authority to project U.S. armed forces overseas without Congressional approval will be emphasized.

Overview of Mexican Business Law

This course is taught as part of our "Summer Law Institute" program in Guanajuato, Mexico. The course discusses NAFTA, the structure of the Mexican legal system, law, and legal profession. This is a comparative study of the Mexican legal systems presented in the context of Mexican legal history, language, and culture. Some Spanish legal terminology is discussed to study the differences between Mexican and American law. Mexican law of interest to non-Mexican persons investing or doing business in Mexico, such as contract, corporate, labor law, and tax law will be discussed.

Public International Law

The 9/11 Attacks on America tragically demonstrated the vulnerability of our way of life in this increasingly interdependent and globalized society. This course introduces students to the law that is burdened with maintaining order and civility among the diverse nations, peoples and cultures of the world. The course explores the development and evolution of international law and the concomitant rights and remedies that flow from its existence and violation. Among other things, students will learn how international law is created, interpreted and enforced among the community of nations; how international law relates and interacts with national law; how to define and recognize nations and foreign governments as legitimate sovereigns; how to apply international rights of self-determination; how to analyze international boundary disputes and acquisition of territorial sovereignty; how to define, interpret, enforce, modify and terminate international treaties; how to interpret and apply International Human Rights Law; and finally, how to wage and conduct war under rules established by our international legal regime. Twenty-first century methods of communications and travel will succeed in making our world a smaller place than it already is, and a new generation of attorneys will increasingly come face to face with the law that governs this international society.

For more information about our international programs or course offerings, access the Law School's Web site at or contact Professor of Law Jorge A. Ramírez (