May 21, 2007
How much International Law do you teach?
Posted by Lisa Fairfax

Last week we had a faculty treat where we heard presentations regarding trends in international law. To be sure, our increasingly global society means that international law and norms often impact many legal issues from contracts to business organizations. Moreover, as evidenced by the decision of Harvard and other law schools to make international law part of the first year curriculum, law schools have come to appreciate the importance of exposing law schools students to international law. However, because international law is a subject that impacts many different legal issues, international law scholars have been debating the manner in which international law should be integrated into the law school curriculum. Some believe that the emphasis should be on creating free standing courses such as international business law or international employment law, while others believe that scholars in other fields should make an effort to integrate international law into their course materials.

This debate had me reflecting on whether and to what extent I should incorporate some aspect of international law into my Business Associations course. I must admit that while I do give some attention to international law in my Securities Regulations class, I barely touch on anything related to international law in my BA class. And after looking at the casebook I used and several others on my shelf, I realized that many standard business associations casebooks do not appear to focus on international law, at least in any explicit manner. On the one hand, I was comforted by this observation since I could not really figure out how I was going to juggle my syllabus to focus on issues related to international law. Indeed, almost everything from employment law to tort law impacts business law and if we tried to introduce all of those topics, we'd have no room for the "core" business issues. On the other hand, the fact that corporations increasingly do business in the global community suggests that there is validity to the notion that business law courses should make some effort at introducing concepts of international law. And thus I have found myself contemplating making such an effort. But of course everything seems possible when the beginning of the next school year seems so far away. . .

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