International & Comparative Law
The law school offers a robust and exciting International & Comparative Law Program, complete with specialized degree programs, course offerings, activities, student opportunities and more. Outstanding faculty members with expertise in key areas of international and comparative law teach and advise students:
- Raj Bhala: International Trade, Islamic Law
- Christopher Drahozal: International Arbitration
- John Head: International Commerce, Public International Law, Comparative Law
- Virginia Harper Ho: International Commerce, Comparative Law, Chinese Law
- Michael Hoeflich: Comparative Law, Roman Law, European Legal History
- Richard Levy: European and International Law
- Uma Outka: Energy Law, Environmental Law
- Andrew Torrance: Intellectual Property Law, Biodiversity Law
- Shawn Watts: Mediation
- Lua Yuille: Immigration Law
KU Law offers a range of courses that largely fit into three related "tracks" or disciplines: (1) public international law, (2) private international business law, and (3) comparative law:
- Public International Law
- International Commerce and Investment
- International Trade Law
- Advanced International Trade Law
- Comparative Law
- Islamic Law
- Chinese Law
- Immigration Law
- International Moot Court Competitions
- Global Challenges in Law, Agriculture, Development, and Ecology
- The Law of War
International Trade & Finance Certificate
The International Trade & Finance Certificate permits KU Law students to specialize their studies in the areas of international trade, international business, and international finance and to obtain a certificate reflecting that specialization.
Overseas Visiting Scholars Program
The University of Kansas School of Law regularly serves as host to visiting scholars from overseas. The program aims to provide an opportunity for professors, practitioners and graduate students from other countries to enrich their own experience and the KU Law community in a way that can lead to a long-term mutually beneficial relationship between the scholar and KU Law faculty and students.
Selection, Appointment and Expectations
In order to be eligible for an invitation to come to KU Law as a Visiting Scholar, a person should meet these criteria:
- A prospective Visiting Scholar may be a foreign-based law teacher, legal practitioner or student enrolled in a graduate (i.e., doctoral or master's degree, but not first-degree) law program. The Visiting Scholar likely will be a foreign citizen, but in some cases may be an American citizen (e.g., working or teaching abroad).
- A prospective Visiting Scholar must have a defined research project on which he or she plans to work while in residence.
- A prospective Visiting Scholar must be sufficiently proficient in English so that he or she can engage in his or her research project and function on a day-to-day basis. In accordance with federal regulation, the University must verify English language proficiency through one of the following options: 1) a recognized English language test, 2) signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or 3) a video conference interview with KU's Applied English Center. Additional information regarding these verification options, including recognized tests and test scores, is available through International Support Services. Visiting Scholars are also allowed one free Applied English Center course which may be requested through their iHawk account.
- Consistent with the goal of the Visiting Scholar Program, a prospective Visiting Scholar should have strong credentials suggesting that he or she is, or is likely to become, a significant professional figure in his or her field in his or her home country.
A prospective Visiting Scholar must have communicated in advance with at least one member of the KU School of Law faculty with whom the Scholar would like to work while in residence. The Visiting Scholar and that faculty member must agree the faculty member will serve as the "Liaison" for the Scholar while the Scholar is in residence.
A prospective Visiting Scholar must apply by sending a cover letter indicating his or her interest, and a resume. These documents must be sent to Crystal Mai, Associate Dean for Administration, and to the faculty member who has agreed to serve as a Liaison.
The decision to appoint a person as a Visiting Scholar is made by the Dean, in consultation with the prospective Liaison and possibly other interested faculty. The appointment is made by a letter of invitation from the Dean, or with the permission of the Dean, from the Liaison. The appointment shall be as a "Visiting Scholar." However, in rare and appropriate circumstances, the Dean may wish to adjust this title commensurate with the distinction of the visitor to, for example, "Distinguished Visiting Scholar."
While in residence, a Visiting Scholar is encouraged to:
- Present the research project on which he is working at a public forum which KU Law faculty members may attend (e.g., a Legal Research Workshop or other suitable event); and
- Lead an informal discussion (e.g., a brown-bag lunch or Noon Forum) about the home country of the Visiting Scholar, which both students and faculty may attend.
Term and Administrative Circumstances of Appointment
Term of Appointment
The duration of residence for a Visiting Scholar is flexible, depending on the needs and interests of the Scholar, the Liaison, and the law school. In most cases, it is expected the duration will not be less than one month, nor will it exceed one academic year plus the preceding or succeeding summer.
Office Space and Facilities
Visiting Scholars receive shared office space and a computer that is linked to the Internet and a printer. Regular support staff assistance cannot be provided to a Visiting Scholar. However, limited help may be possible, occasionally, depending on the work volume of the support staff.
Travel and Accommodations
A prospective Visiting Scholar must arrange his or her travel and residence accommodations. While individuals at KU law school may be of assistance in either or both of these matters, such assistance is not to be expected. On-campus housing for Visiting Scholars is limited. More information about on-campus housing is available through International Support Services.
Lawrence offers a variety of off-campus housing options. For general tips about leasing in Lawrence, please view the Housing Legal Resources information provided by KU Legal Services for Students.
Once an invitation has been extended and accepted by a prospective Visiting Scholar, the Law School will initiate the J-1 application process through KU's International Support Services iHawk website. The prospective Visiting Scholar will then receive further instructions regarding the submission of various e-forms. The prospective Visiting Scholar is responsible for completing all forms and providing all documentation necessary for KU to review, analyze and issue a Form DS2019. Upon receipt of the DS2019 and payment of the SEVIS fee, the prospective Visiting Scholar will apply for a J-1 visa at the U.S. embassy/consulate and schedule a visa interview.
A modest fee is charged to Visiting Scholars. This fee covers the considerable expenses (both direct costs and overhead) that the KU law school incurs to provide excellent support services to each Visiting Scholar. These include office facilities, computer access (hardware and software), access to all KU libraries, and other related on-campus benefits - plus the opportunity to attend any class at the law school. Note that due to the need for attorney-client confidentiality, Visiting Scholars may not be able to observe all sessions of certain clinical or field placement courses. The fee is U.S. $5,000 per year (two semesters, including the summer), or U.S. $2,500 per semester (fall or spring semester). The fee is pro-rated for Visiting Scholars staying for a period other than a year or semester. In unusual circumstances, typically involving a prospective Visiting Scholar who comes from a developing or least developed country and who can demonstrate that he or she faces specific conditions of financial hardship, a lower fee may be negotiated. Fee reduction requests should be made at the time of application. The agreed upon fee will be clearly stated in the formal letter of invitation. Payment upon arrival or as outlined in the letter will be expected.
In addition, the KU International Affairs (KUIA) office charges separate fees for non-immigrant visa services. These fees cover the average professional time involved in initial J-1 processing and support ($207) or the processing and support for a J-1 program extension ($103). The law school has no authority to negotiate or waive these separate fees, which are imposed and collected directly by KUIA.
A prospective Visiting Scholar must arrange his or her own funding. Presently, and for the foreseeable future, no funds exist to cover expenses incurred by the Visiting Scholar, nor to pay a stipend. However, the law school, like the rest of the university, welcomes Fulbright Scholars and waives tuition and fees for Fulbright Scholars.
Study Abroad Opportunities
A rich array of opportunities for further study in the areas of international and comparative law is possible through KU Law's Study Abroad Programs in Ireland and Istanbul, as well as additional study abroad opportunities in Cambridge and Trento. These currently include summers or semesters in:
Students may also pursue summer or semester exchanges with KU Law's international partner institutions or through ABA-sponsored programs at other universities. For more information, contact Virginia Harper Ho, Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
Each fall, a moot court competition is conducted within the law school, coordinated by professors John Head and Lua Yuille, on a topic relating to international law. The competition includes both brief writing and oral arguments. All students, including first-year students, are eligible to compete. At the conclusion of the competition, cash awards are given for the best briefs and the best oral arguments, and a team of students is chosen to represent KU at the regional level of the Jessup International Moot Court Competition. Team members receive 2 credit hours in the spring semester. For the regional competition, which is held at a law school in the area in January/February, the KU team prepares two briefs and presents several oral arguments. The KU team has won the regional competition several times in recent years. The 2018-19 team advanced to the international round held in Washington, D.C. For details, see Professor Head or Professor Yuille.
Stetson International Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
Each spring, a three-person moot court team is selected to represent the school in a competition sponsored by Stetson University law school. The competition, which attracts more than two dozen law school teams from half a dozen or so countries, focuses on international environmental law and provides students an opportunity to study, write about and hone their oral advocacy skills on a hypothetical problem, before internationally known judges. The oral argument phase of the competition involves a trip to Florida in late October. For details, see Professor Head or Professor Keller.
KU Law Partnership with United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Students enrolled in the Mediation Clinic and Tribal Judicial Support Clinic may have the opportunity to train diplomats on indigenous issues and conflict resolution as part of a partnership between KU Law and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. Read more about the partnership.
International Law Society
The Dwight D. Eisenhower International Law Society, formed more than three decades ago, sponsors visiting speakers to discuss current topics in international and comparative law; gathers and disseminates information about job opportunities in international law and business, including group participation in career workshops in Kansas City and elsewhere; provides support for the Jessup moot court competition; and helps publish an occasional newsletter titled International Law at KU, designed to inform the law school community of recent developments and coming events. The ILS faculty advisers are Professor Head and Professor Bhala.
Asian Law Students Association
ALSA embodies the bond and support of the Asian community within the legal profession. Its main goals include educating and advising society, and in particular the legal profession, of Asian culture, difficulties, and prospects within this field. The ALSA faculty advisers are Professor Harper Ho and Professor Bhala.
Career Opportunities in International Law and Business
As a supplement to the work of the ILS and the Career Services Office, Professor Head regularly presents a noon forum on this topic. The presentation is based on an outline of career opportunities, classified by types of career paths and types of employers, and is structured around an annotated handout designed to give guidance on where to obtain current information on internships, permanent jobs, graduate study opportunities, and so on.
Resources for careers and jobs in International Law and Business:
Other Speakers and Events
The law school hosts numerous workshops, colloquia and speakers each year, many on topics of current interest in the areas of international and comparative law. In the past few years these have included a research workshop on international business and finance sponsored by the American Society of Comparative Law. The school has hosted speakers on the legal system in Tanzania; recent political and economic developments in India, China and the European Union; comparative constitutional reform; and international dispute resolution. Opportunity for student discussion of such topics has also come in the form of debates over U.S. participation in the United Nations and in regional trade pacts.