Comparative and Foreign Law
International legal issues are central to the practice of law and to the resolution of major global problems in the 21st century. As a consequence, there is an increasingly strong demand for international, comparative and foreign law expertise. This demand is generated not only by the increasing opportunities provided by specialized careers focused on particular areas of international law but also the increasing relevance of international, comparative and foreign law expertise in more traditional areas of high level domestic practice. In an increasingly interdependent world national security issues, environmental law issues, anti-trust issues or constitutional rights questions, to name just some examples, increasingly have an international or foreign law dimension. Faculties are therefore encouraged to integrate international and comparative law dimensions into their domestically focused courses. Students are encouraged to complement their domestic law expertise with specialized international, comparative or foreign law courses in the area of their core substantive interests. (NYU also offers students interested in improving or developing foreign language skills a variety of options. For more about these opportunities, click here.) As a global leader in research and education in this area, the Global Law School offers students more than 50 courses, seminars and colloquia in international, comparative and foreign law each year. International law is now a first year elective providing a solid basis for further specialization in their 2nd and 3rd years. In their 2nd and 3rd year students are encouraged to develop cross-cutting expertise between areas that were traditionally studied separately, such as trade and environmental law, intellectual property and human rights law, global antitrust and international labor law, or human rights and comparative constitutional rights law. The internal diversity of the area group and the many career paths to which it is connected makes it impossible to provide general recommendations about which courses to choose. The following merely presents an overview of some central areas and the courses related to them.
United Nations and Security Issues are analyzed on several different fronts. Professor Jose Alvarez teaches a course on international organizations and offes a seminar on the Law and Practice of the United Nations, while the Institute for International Law and Justice, Directed by Prof. Benedict Kingsbury, integrates the Law School's scholarly excellence in international law into the policy activities of the U.N. Issues examined by the Institute have included the administrative tribunals and the U.N.; the role of the Security Council in strengthening a rules-based international system (jointly with the Permanent Mission of Austria to the U.N.); the role of the U.N. Secretary-General in World Politics, and state-building, governance and accountability in U.N. law. The Center on Law and Security with codirectors, Professors Stephen Holmes and David Golove, lead a colloquium devoted to examining current security issues. Professors Richard Pildes, Samuel Issacharoff, Stephen Schulhofer, Burt Neuborne, and other faculty teaching in this area have recently been joined by Samuel Rascoff, an Arabic-speaking Middle East expert who worked at high levels in government service before and after his U.S. Supreme Court clerkship. Prof. Mattias Kumm teaches a course on legal issues relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Global Governance: Trade, Environment, Investment, Competition, Tax and Development Professors Richard Stewart and Benedict Kingsbury have pioneered a revolutionary approach to responsibility and participation in global governance under the umbrella of the Institute for International Law and Justice’s Global Administrative Law Research Project that involves scholars worldwide and that informs a number of courses taught by them. Along with Prof. Kevin Davis they launched a project 2009 on Climate Change Financing and Development, on governance, design and tax issues in global carbon markets. Further courses on international environmental law are offered by Prof. Stewart and Prof. Katrina Wyman. University Professor Joseph Weiler examines global trade issues in courses such as International and Regional Trade Law: The Law of the WTO and NAFTA, and the Jean Monnet Seminar—International Economic Law and Justice: Advanced Issues in the Law and Policy of the E.U., NAFTA and the WTO. He also heads the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice. Professor Robert Howse, a leading WTO expert, joined the Law School’s faculty in 2008, and teaches Trade, International Investment Law and International Financial Architecture, areas covered also by Prof. Andreas Lowenfeld. Trade and Competition law issues also feature prominently in courses on European Union law taught by Professors Eleanor Fox and Mattias Kumm. Professor Kevin Davis’s courses on Financing Development and Law and Development include discussions of how international trade and investment law, as well as the laws that govern international financial institutions such as the World Bank, affect developing countries. This work is integrated with Professor Frank Upham's law and development focus on East Asia, and pioneering work in international tax policy for development by Professors Mitchell Kane and Lily Batchelder. Furthermore Prof. Jerry Cohen teaches a number of courses on law and society in China, including one on “Chinese Attitudes Toward International Law” and co-directs the US-Asia Law Institute.
International Human Rights and Comparative Constitutional Rights is the focus of several professors’ teaching, research and activism. Professor Philip Alston is the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions as well as the chair of the Law School’s Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. He teaches International Law, International Human Rights and Children’s Rights in International Law. His faculty codirectors, Professors Smita Narula and Margaret Satterthwaite '99, lead the International Human Rights Clinic and do cutting-edge research in this area. Professor Mattias Kumm teaches courses on human and constitutional rights in a comparative perspective, often in cooperation with visiting Hauser Global scholars.
Private and Transactional International Law: NYU School of Law provides a rich academic environment for the study of private and transactional international law. Course offerings include Conflict of Laws, Financing Development, International Litigation and International Commercial Arbitration. Faculty practicing in the area include: Professor Andreas Lowenfeld, a preeminent expert in the field of public and private international law who teaches a course entitled “International Economic Transactions”; Professor Linda Silberman, one of the leading scholars and practitioners in the fields of civil procedure, conflict of laws, family law (domestic and international), international litigation and international arbitration; Prof. Oscar Chase, who teaches a course on comparative civil procedure; Helen Hershkoff, who also works in the field of comparative civil procedure (as well as comparative social and economic rights), Professor Clayton Gillette, an expert in the international law of commercial sales and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the Sale of International Goods; and Professor Rochelle Dreyfuss, director of the Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy and a leader and innovator in the field of international intellectual property. Professor Kevin Davis’s cutting-edge course on Financing Development, allows students to analyze real development financing transactions with feedback from the practitioners who worked on them. Professor Estreicher examines the Global Dimensions of Labor Law. Franco Ferrari, who recently joined the Faculty from the University of Verona teaches courses on contracts in the global economy and (with some of the Hauser Global Law School faculty) works closely with students on arbitration moot courts and student scholarship. Leading arbitration practitioners teaching regularly at the Law School include Donald Donovan, who has also argued recent cases in the International Court of Justice and the U.S. Supreme Court. Other faculty members whose scholarship and practice often intertwine with the fields of private and transactional international law include Professor Harry First, director of the Law School’s Trade Regulation Program; Professor Eleanor Fox '61, an expert in the field of international antitrust, and Professor Geoffrey Miller, director of the Center for the Study of Central Banks and Financial Institutions.
The Program in the History and Theory of International Law encourages scholarship and teaching on topics in the history and theory of international law that are vital to deepening an understanding of the field. The program holds periodic conferences and workshops, sponsors a refereed working paper series, hosts visiting fellows (including faculty from other disciplines and post-docs), supports research and publications, provides a center bringing together people interested in these fields and each year offers a set of courses in these areas at the Law School. The program is directed by Professor Benedict Kingsbury with the cooperation of Professors Robert Howse, David Golove and Mattias Kumm and Hauser Global Law Professor Martti Koskenniemi. Professors Kingsbury and Weiler jointly convene the weekly IILJ International Legal Theory Colloquium every Spring semester.