The study of international and comparative law is a significant part of the education for any lawyer in the twenty-first century. Increasingly, the institutions and rules of international law play an important role in the U.S. legal system. Economic interdependence, instantaneous communications, cross-border movements of people, and international norms of civilized conduct have each contributed to a dramatic globalization of both law and the legal profession during the post-World War II period. And the practice of law within leading countries like the United States requires some basic familiarity with the legal systems of other countries -- comparative law. Moreover, the study of legal traditions and cultures that are different from those in the United States offers a critical understanding of the transformative global changes taking place as well as a deeper knowledge of our own legal system.
Fordham offers an excellent choice of courses and seminars to satisfy student interests ranging from the acquisition of basic knowledge to the development of specialized training for international careers. These offerings traditionally fall into three areas: (1) public international law; (2) private international law; and (3) comparative legal studies. Public international law courses generally focus on the legal rights of states and of people against states. Private international classes more typically focus on international interactions between private parties. International trade law and international investment law represent a hybrid form of public and private: the relevant rules represent the limits of state regulation of private business conduct. Comparative law studies emphasize the theory and operation of the legal systems of other countries or regions. In practice, the divisions between the three areas is not so rigid and there are many instances of overlap.
Each of the three areas typically has one or more fundamental courses as well as advanced and specialized classes. International Law is the basic introductory upper level course in public international law. Additional introductory courses within the traditional fields include International Trade Regulation, International Business Transactions, Comparative Law, European Union Law and Asian Legal Systems. More advanced and specialized courses and seminars in the three traditional fields treat particular topics in greater detail such as international human rights, European corporate and finance law, and European intellectual property law. While many of the advanced and specialized courses do not have pre-requisite international courses, students interested in pursuing careers in international law should plan on taking classes from at least two of the areas, including a fundamental course in each field.
Listen to Professor Thomas H. Lee talk about International Law offerings and faculty