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International Law Program

law in a global context

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The accelerating globalization of law and legal practice places important new demands on legal education.  To help students understand law in a global context, BC Law offers a comprehensive program in international and comparative law delivered by a world-class faculty. Components of the program are carefully integrated, and yet it remains flexible. Students may choose an intensive program among courses, clinical programs and study abroad, law review opportunities, moot court experiences, study abroad, and summer employment, or enrich their Law School experience through one course or activity at a time.

BC Law’s broad course offerings and small class sizes permit considerable personal interaction with faculty (see curriculum section on right). The international law curriculum integrates introductory level courses with electives in the areas of comparative law, international business law, tax, human rights law, trade law, international environmental law, and international legal research, while providing innovative and flexible study abroad programs. These programs are far more than simply classrooms overseas; they provide real-world training in the field. The London Program gives students hands-on experience in a London-based law firm, government office or non-governmental organization, complemented by advanced courses at King's College in London. Our International Human Rights Semester in Practice, an extension of our pioneering International Criminal Tribunals program, combines internships in human rights-oriented organizations around the world with a virtual seminar in which students share their experiences. Students preferring a more traditional classroom experience can study at one of several partner universities elsewhere in the world.

Closer to home, the Boston College Immigration & Asylum Clinic allows students to experience real-world immigration legal work on behalf of indigent asylum seekers, immigrants, and non-citizens. The Law & Justice in the Americas Program brings students and faculty together to work on law reform and justice projects, and the Center for Human Rights and International Justice nurtures a new generation of scholars and practitioners in the increasingly interdisciplinary needs of human rights work. Other opportunities for hands-on learning include our Jessup International Moot Court team, our European Union Moot Court team, the Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, and Third World Law Journal. The Owen M. Kupferschmid Holocaust/Human Rights Project and the International Law Society are student groups that sponsor conferences, presentations, and workshops by outside speakers.

BC Law faculty are active researchers and scholars of international and comparative law. A number of our professors specialize in international and comparative law: Paulo Barrozo (international criminal law), Frank Garcia (international trade and comparative law), Daniel Kanstroom (international and human rights), Vlad Perju (comparative constitutional law and European Union law), Diane Ring (international taxation) and David Wirth (public international law and international environmental law). Other faculty members regularly incorporate international perspectives into their teaching and research--even in subjects that in earlier years we would have considered "domestic."

This is more obvious among our faculty who specialize in areas related to economic activity, such as Thomas Kohler (labor and employment law), Joseph Liu (intellectual property), James Repetti (taxation) and James Rogers (commercial law). But it also is visible in fields like family law (Sanford Katz), constitutional law (Richard Albert and Charles Baron), criminal law and procedure (Robert Bloom), environmental law (Zygmunt Plater) and legal education (Gail Hupper). In addition, many of our faculty have lectured or taught abroad -- in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, England, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Uruguay, among other countries.  The perspectives they have gained from these experiences enrich our classrooms and community on a daily basis. 

More generally, the presence of students and faculty from overseas helps make the international a tangible, rather than intellectual, experience. Our J.D. student body includes natives of Canada, China, France, India, Ireland, Korea, Scotland and Taiwan, and many more American students who have spent time living abroad.  Our LL.M. degree program brings lawyers from all over the world to our classrooms, where they study side-by-side with J.D. students. We regularly host scholars form other countries as part of our International Scholars Program, and our teaching faculty typically includes at least one Visiting Professor from abroad each year.  Our overseas exchange and partnership arrangements permit our students to study at one of several universities overseas, and bring students form those universities into our classrooms as well.

At BC Law, we understand that globalization magnifies the scope and complexity of law and legal practice.  Our International Law Program trains students for the needs of today, while giving them skills and perspectives that anticipate the needs of tomorrow.  In this way, the program promotes the delivery of justice not just nationally, but internationally as well.