The College of Law’s academic program emphasizes international and comparative law in many ways. First, the required, foundation curriculum includes a three-hour course entitled, Introduction to International and Comparative Law. Second, our curriculum takes a pervasive approach to international and comparative law; all courses not otherwise of an international focus devote several hours of instruction to a topic or topics in a comparative context. Third, the College of Law offers and will continue to expand its array of upper level electives in the areas of public international law, international commercial transactions, transnational arbitration, trade law, and comparative and foreign law.
Introduction to International and Comparative Law Course
We have modified the standard law school curriculum to reflect the fact of globalization by requiring Introduction to International and Comparative Law in the second semester for full-time students and the third semester for part-time students. The course has three objectives: (1) to impress upon students the importance of international and comparative law and its relevance to all future lawyers; (2) to interest students in the array of international and comparative subjects broached in the course; and (3) to provide a foundation in international and comparative law upon which our upper-level courses can build.
Primarily, it introduces students to public international law and comparative law. Exposure to the law of nations in the international component poses critical jurisprudential questions on the nature of law, the role of enforceability, and the prospects for constructing an international society. The comparative component compares and contrasts the common law system that prevails in the United States to civil law systems, especially as they have evolved in Latin America. Taken together the materials provide the foundation for later advanced study in international and comparative law in the upper level curriculum.
International Component for Domestic Law Courses: A Pervasive Approach
One of the distinguishing features of our curriculum is the faculty’s commitment to include international and comparative materials in all domestic law courses. The Faculty Bylaws provide that faculty members will incorporate in all domestic law courses at least one hour of international or comparative law materials for every credit hour in the course. This pervasive approach to international and comparative law encourages students to analyze political, economic, social and cultural particularities contributing to different legal treatment of comparable phenomena in other societies. It also assists students in developing a broad appreciation of choice of law questions for clients whose interests cross national boundaries.
The Associate Dean works with individual faculty members to help develop class materials. Faculty scholarship colloquia are regularly devoted to international and comparative topics. Further, our foreign summer programs provide opportunities for faculty members to co-teach courses abroad with foreign colleagues. This summer program model will, it is expected, not only redound to the edification of our students but will also assist faculty members in deepening the comparative content of their courses taught at the College.
International and Comparative Law Courses – Upper Level Curriculum
The upper level curriculum builds on the curricular philosophy of the foundation curriculum. As such, the upper level curriculum includes all of the traditional core courses offered for during the second and third years at American law schools and tested on the bar examinations in most states. The FIU College of Law seeks to promote international and comparative study by offering a wider range of courses and seminars with international content than is typical for a school of our size.
Florida International University College of Law students have the benefit of a wide selection of upper-level international and comparative law courses. Discussion of international issues is present throughout the entire curriculum. Specialized offerings, however, focus on advanced topics of international and comparative law. They may address specific questions of international governance, transnational dimensions of particular legal issues, or they may cover national and supra-national regulation in other parts of the world. Below is a sample list of these courses and seminars, some of which may be offered in any one year:
- Admiralty Law
- Citizens, Immigrants, and the Constitution
- Comparative Business Law
- Comparative Constitutional Law
- Comparative Criminal Law
- Comparative Family Law
- Comparative Law
- Comparative Law: Constitutions and the Judicial Process
- Conflicts of Law
- European Union Law
- Immigration and Human Rights Clinic
- Immigration Law
- Indigenous Peoples and the Law
- International and Comparative Sales
- International Business Transactions
- International Commercial Arbitration
- International Criminal Law
- International Environmental Law
- International Human Rights Law
- International Intellectual Property Law
- International Litigation
- International Organizations
- International Taxation
- International Trade Law and Policy
- Introduction to International and Comparative Law
- Latin American Law
- Law and Politics in Latin America
- Legal History
- National Security Law
- NAFTA and Other Regional Trade Agreements
- Payment Systems
- Profesión Jurídica Comparada (Comparative Legal Profession)
- Public International Law
- Transnational Commercial Law
- Use of Force in International Law
Profesión Jurídica Comparada
The College offers a course entitled “Profesión Jurídica Comparada”. A pre-requisite for this course is basic Spanish-language proficiency. The materials for the course are structured around typical legal transactions that practicing lawyers are likely to encounter. The course focuses on close reading of Spanish-language statutes and other legal sources. It is designed especially for our students who already speak Spanish, of whom we have a large percentage, so that they may develop their legal vocabulary. This will assist them in better communicating with the Spanish-speaking local community, as well as prepare them for international clients from Latin America and Europe. While speaking a second language is a great asset, a practicing lawyer equipped with only basic proficiency is not sufficiently prepared to communicate legal concepts and nuanced meanings to clients and colleagues. In addition to its value to students later on in practice, the course is expected to serve as an informal pre-requisite for students who intend to spend a semester abroad in a Spanish speaking country, under one of our existing exchange agreements or in a program of study of their own devising.