Raj Bhala, who is an Indian American, joined the KU Law faculty in 2003 as the Rice Distinguished Professor, the highest university-level professorship at KU. In 2011, he received the George and Eleanor Woodyard International Educator Award, a university-wide award granted to one faculty member for outstanding contributions to internationalization efforts. He has worked in 25 countries and played in another 22 countries.
Along with professors John Head, Andrew Torrance, Elizabeth Kronk Warner and Virginia Harper Ho, Bhala is part of an outstanding International and Comparative Law (ICL) team, and continues the nearly 150-year long tradition of excellence in ICL at KU Law that includes Francis Heller, Robert Casad and John Murphy.
Bhala and Head are a unique duo among American law schools. Both have published leading texts in international business law and comparative law, both have extensive practical experience in international finance, both are Marshall Scholars, and both enthusiastically adhere to KU Law’s open-door policy, welcoming all students to their offices anytime.
Similarly, Bhala, Head and Harper Ho are a unique triumvirate: Head and Harper Ho are experts in Civil and Chinese Law, respectively, and Bhala is a student of Islamic Law and Indian Law. Their collective work thus spans much of the world’s legal systems. At Kansas, Bhala and his colleagues built the S.J.D. and Two-Year J.D. Degree Programs, and the Certificate in International Trade and Finance, yielding in the American Heartland an exceptional International and Comparative Law line up at an affordable price.
Bhala's scholarly reputation in international trade is global, based in part on a sustained, prolific publication record. That record includes a treatise, “Modern GATT Law,” and a leading textbook, “International Trade Law,” both of which are widely acclaimed for their substance and style. The two-volume treatise is in its 2nd edition, and the textbook has been used at roughly 100 countries around the world, with a two-volume 4th edition forthcoming.
That record also includes more than two dozen provocative articles, including five major pieces on the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations: “Poverty, Islamist Extremism, and the Debacle of Doha Round Counter-Terrorism: Part One of a Trilogy – Agricultural Tariffs and Subsidies,” 9 University of Saint Thomas Law Journal 5 (2011); “Poverty, Islamist Extremism, and the Debacle of Doha Round Counter-Terrorism: Part Two of a Trilogy – Non-Agricultural Market Access and Services Trade,” 44 Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 1 (2011); “Poverty, Islamist Extremism, and the Debacle of Doha Round Counter-Terrorism: Part Three of a Trilogy – Trade Remedies and Facilitation,” 40 Denver Journal of International Law and Policy 237 (2012); "Doha Round Betrayals," 24 Emory International Law Review 147 (Summer 2010); “Resurrecting the Doha Round: Devilish Details, Grand Themes, and China Too,” 45 Texas International Law Journal (2009); “Doha Round Schisms – Numerous, Technical, and Deep,” 6 Loyola University Chicago International Law Review 5 (Fall/Winter 2008); “Empathizing with France and Pakistan on Agricultural Subsidy Issues in the Doha Round,” 40 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 949 (October 2007); and “Poverty, Islam, and Doha,” 36 The International Lawyer 159 (2002).
Bhala’s articles have appeared in The International Lawyer, the most widely circulated international law review, five times. His Doha Round Trilogy (cited above) is a classic, as is his Stare Decisis Trilogy: “The Myth About Stare Decisis and International Trade Law (Part One of a Trilogy),” 14 American University International Law Review 845-956 (1999); “The Precedent Setters: De Facto Stare Decisis in WTO Adjudication (Part Two of a Trilogy),” 9 Florida State University Journal of Transnational Law and Policy 1-151 (Fall 1999); “The Power of the Past: Towards De Jure Stare Decisis in WTO Adjudication (Part Three of a Trilogy),” 33 George Washington International Law Review 873-978 (2001).
Bhala's scholarship in international trade law embodies four signature themes: (1) Trade law can be an effective instrument of counter-terrorism, and enhanced peace and security are possible through trade, but the Doha Round has failed in these respects; (2) protectionist devices are embedded in the details of trade law; (3) generosity and social justice ought to play a prominent role in the trade law; and (4) precedent operates as a de facto source of multilateral trade rules. These themes are the product of a synthesis of traditional doctrinal legal analysis with development economics and social justice theory.
The boundaries of Bhala’s scholarship extend beyond international trade law. His recent book, “Understanding Islamic Law (Shari’a)” (LexisNexis, 2011), is a text used widely by law schools and practitioners. It is the first comprehensive work on the law, history and religion of Islam designed for these markets written for the English-speaking world by a non-Muslim American law professor. The text provides systematic comparisons to U.S. law and Catholic Christianity. Bhala is honored and humbled to teach Islamic Law to United States Special Operations Forces at the Command and General Staff College of Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Bhala’s forthcoming book, “Business Law of Modern India” (Carolina Academic Press), aims to introduce to the American legal academy the legal system of the world’s largest free-market democracy that also is home to or hosts every major religion in the world.
Bhala’s scholarship is intra- and inter-disciplinary, and his methodology is eclectic. For instance, his article “Diversity within Unity: Import Laws of Islamic Countries on Ḥarām (Forbidden) Products,” 47 The International Lawyer 343 (2014) synthesizes ideas from International Trade Law and Islamic Law, and from philosophy and religion. The article relies on both doctrinal interpretation of GATT and exhaustive empirical analysis of the tariff schedules of every Muslim country.
Ever loyal to his former students and Research Assistants, Bhala co-authored “Diversity within Unity” with one of them, Shannon B. Keating, who practices trade and development law with New Markets Lab in Washington, D.C. He co-authored “WTO Case Reviews” with her and another former student and RA, Bruno Simões, a trade lawyer at FratiniVergano European Lawyers in Brussels.
Bhala practiced international banking law at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which twice granted him the President's Award for Excellence. At the New York Fed, he represented the United States in international wire transfer negotiations at the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), dealt with legal issues in the largest financial market in the world (foreign exchange) and was actively involved in international banking law enforcement, including the infamous scandal involving the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). His service as an American delegate to UNCITRAL earned him a Letter of Commendation from the State Department.
Bhala joined KU from George Washington, where he held the Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professorship, before which he began his teaching career at William & Mary.
Bhala is a summa cum laude graduate of Duke, where he was an Angier B. Duke Scholar. The British government awarded him a Marshall Scholarship, and he earned master's degrees from both the London School of Economics and Oxford in economics and management, respectively. He obtained his law degree with honors from Harvard.
Bhala is the editor of two book series, "Studies in Globalization and Society" (Carolina Academic Press) and "International Law and Development" (Martinus Nijoff Publishers). He is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, Council on Foreign Relations, Royal Society of Asian Affairs, American Law Institute, All India Law Teachers Congress, and was awarded life membership by the Indian Socitey of International Law.
Bhala has lectured around the world, including at many law schools across India, the Arab Thought Foundation Annual Conference (Beirut), University of Auckland (New Zealand), Bahcesehir University (Istanbul), College of Shari'a and Law (Muscat, Oman), King Fahd University of Petroleum and Mining (Dhahran, Saudi Arabia), University of Dhaka (Bangladesh), LaTrobe University (Melbourne), University of London, University of Malaya (Kuala Lumpur), National University of Singapore and Pakistan College of Law (Lahore). He has been a visiting fellow at the Bank of Japan (Tokyo) and the University of Hong Kong. Bhala has won university-wide teaching awards at both KU and William & Mary.
Bhala serves as a legal consultant to international organizations, the U.S. and foreign governments, and private sector entities, particularly on trade-related projects.
Bhala is an avid long-distance runner and has completed many marathons and half-marathons, including the Boston, Des Moines, Los Angeles, New York, Omaha and Richmond marathons in under 3:45:00.
Books published since joining KU Law in 2003: "Understanding Islamic Law (Shari'a)" (LexisNexis, 2011); "International Trade Law: Interdisciplinary Theory and Practice" (LexisNexis, 4th ed. two volumes, forthcoming; 3rd ed. 2008, 2nd ed. 2001, 1st ed. 1996); Dictionary of International Trade Law (LexisNexis, 2008); "Modern GATT Law" (Thomson/Sweet & Maxwell 2005, 2nd edition, two volumes, 2013); "Trade, Development, and Social Justice" (Carolina Academic Press, 2003).
Articles: "The Lost Purpose of the Doha Round," St. John's International and Comparative Law Journal (Fall 2011); "China’s First Loss," 45 Journal of World Trade 2 (April 2011), with Professor Won-Mog Choi, Ewha Womans University School of Law, Seoul, Korea; "Doha Round Betrayals," 24 Emory International Law Review (Summer 2010); "Teaching China GATT," 1 Trade, Law, and Development number 1, 1-55 (Spring 2009); “Philosophical, Religious, and Legalistic Perspectives on Equal Human Dignity and U.S. Free Trade Agreements,” 28 Saint Louis University Public Law Review 9 (2008); “Virtues, the Chinese Yuan, and the American Trade Empire,” 38 Hong Kong Law Journal Part I, 183 (May 2008); “Competitive Liberalization, Competitive Imperialism, and Intellectual Property,” 28 Liverpool Law Review 77 (2007); "The Limits of American Generosity," 29 Fordham International Law Journal 299 (January 2006); "Saudi Arabia, the WTO, and American Trade Law and Policy," 38 The International Lawyer 741 (Fall 2004), "World Agricultural Trade in Purgatory," 79 North Dakota Law Review 691 (Spring 2003); "WTO Dispute Settlement and Austin's Positivism: A Primer on the Intersection," 9 International Trade Law & Regulation 14 (2003); "The Forgotten Mercy: GATT Article XXIV: 11 and Trade on the Subcontinent," 2002 New Zealand Law Review 301 (2002); "Theological Categories for Special and Differential Treatment," 50 Kansas Law Review 635 (2002); "Marxist Origins of the 'Anti-Third World' Claim," 24 Fordham International Law Journal 132 (2002).
Case Review Series: Co-author (with Professor David Gantz, University of Arizona College of Law) of "WTO Case Review," published annually in the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law.
International trade (particularly GATT, developing countries, trade remedies, and agriculture); Catholic social justice theory and its application to international trade; Islamic law (particularly classical theory and Islamic finance); law and development in India (particularly business law and secular constitutionalism).
J.D., cum laude, Harvard, 1989; M.Sc., Oxford (Management), 1986; M.Sc., London School of Economics (Economics), 1985; A.B., summa cum laude, Duke (Economics), 1984.
New York, District of Columbia, Colorado, 1990.
Attorney, Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Director, Graduate Program, William & Mary 1989-1993, 1993-1998; Professor, Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies, George Washington University School of Law, 1998-2003; Visiting Professor Duke, 1996, Michigan 1999; University of Auckland, 2003, LaTrobe University (Melbourne), 2003, World Trade Institute (Berne), 2003-2006, Rice Distinguished Professor, Kansas, 2003-present, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law, Kansas, 2011-present.
Member: Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, Council on Foreign Relations, Royal Society for Asian Affairs, American Law Institute, All India Law Teacher's Congress, Indian Society of International Law.
Consultant: Cheniere Energy, Inc. (Houston); United Arab Emirates University; U.S. Department of Commerce (Middle East Partnership Initiative); Saudi Aramco; Government of Laos; World Bank; International Monetary Fund.
Editorial Advisory Boards: LexisNexis Law School Publishing Advisory Board (1/09-12/11); Carolina Academic Press (12/97-12/08, 1/12-present); International Trade Law and Regulation (Thomson/Sweet and Maxwell, spring 2003-present); Shari'a and Law Journal (United Arab Emirates University, 12/07-present); Manchester Journal of International Economic Law (12/03-present); Benares Hindu University Universitas Annual Interdisciplinary Journal of Academique (3/13-present); Benares Hindu University Law Journal (7/12-present); and National Law University of Jodhpur, India, Trade, Law and Development (12/08-present).