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Tulane's historic strength in international and comparative law has been further enriched by new faculty and new programs.

International and Comparative Law

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No lawyer in today's increasingly internationalized economy can be an effective practitioner without an understanding of the law of other jurisdictions.  At Tulane, we have always recognized this, if for no other reasons than our own location and history. Our tradition of offering both common law and civil law courses has evolved into a broader emphasis on comparative and international law.

Tulane provides as many opportunities to study international law as any law school in the United States. It offers approximately 80 internationally related courses during the fall, spring, and summer sessions in New Orleans, and in at least five foreign countries. Many of these courses deal specifically with aspects of international law, among them trade, finance, banking, human rights, taxation, environmental controls, the European Union, transnational litigation and arbitration, continental legal philosophy, and Roman law. 

Maritime law, in which Tulane also specializes, affects all nations involved in international shipping transactions and is addressed by as many as 15 courses during the fall and spring semesters, and more in the summer programs abroad.

Many Tulane offerings are comparative in nature, systematically contrasting the law of the United States with the laws of various other countries in dozens of areas. This array of courses enables students to understand the similarities and differences among the world's legal systems.

A unique portion of Tulane's elective curriculum--as many as 12 courses--addresses civil law, which is the prevailing legal system in Europe outside of Great Britain, as well as in Latin America, much of Africa, and the Far East. Civil codes govern most business transactions.

The extraordinary curriculum in this area enables Tulane to offer students the opportunity to pursue certificates of specialization in European Legal Studies, International & Comparative Law, and Civil Law.  In addition, certificates are offered in Environmental Law, in Admiralty & Maritime Law, and in Sports Law.

Tulane's international and comparative curriculum is as strong as it is in large part because of the strength of its faculty, including endowed chair or professorship holders:

  • Professor James Gordley, W.R. Irby Professor of Law, one of the top comparative law scholars in the world;
  • Professor Vernon Palmer, Thomas Pickles Professor of Law, known for his expertise in civil law and his status as a comparativist;
  • Professor Günther Handl, Eberhard Deutsch Professor of Public International Law, a recognized expert in public international law and in international environmental law;
  • Professor Robert Force, Niels Johnsen Professor of Maritime Law, recognized for his expertise in admiralty and maritime law; 
  • Professor Jörg Fedtke, A.N. Yiannopoulos Professor of Comparative Law, one of the world's pre-eminent scholars in comparative law and European Union law;
  • Professor Adeno Addis, W.R. Irby Chair and William Ray Forrester Professor of Public & Constitutional Law, an expert in public international law and international human rights;
  • Professor Martin Davies, Admiralty Law Institute Professor of Maritime Law and Director, Maritime Law Center, internationally known for his expertise in international maritime law

Several other members of Tulane's full-time faculty have strong teaching and research experience in these areas.

The permanent faculty is complemented by professors who come to Tulane for periods ranging from three weeks to a full semester from universities all over the world, including Buenos Aires in Argentina; New South Wales in Australia; McGill in Canada; Cambridge, Oxford, and Southampton in England; Paris, Toulouse, and Strasbourg in France; Berlin, Munich, Heidelberg, and Regensburg in Germany; Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece; Hebrew and Tel Aviv in Israel; Siena in Italy; Chuo in Japan; and Oslo in Norway. The courses offered by these international faculty have added immeasurably to the depth of the international curriculum at Tulane.

Eason Weinmann Center for International and Comparative Law
The Eason Weinmann Center for International and Comparative Law gives Tulane's international and comparative law activities a firm institutional base by enriching the existing programs of Tulane Law School involving countries outside of the United States. The Center was created through the generosity of John Weinmann, a 1952 graduate of the Law School, and his wife, Virginia Eason Weinmann. The Center handles academic exchanges and oversees comparative law scholarship and other activities designed to enhance Tulane's scholarly reputation in the comparative law area. Among the Center's most visible activities are its seminars, symposia, and lectures on aspects of comparative and international law. These have attracted to Tulane hundreds of participants from around the world.

Study Abroad

Tulane's commitment to the study of international and comparative law is further evidenced by its summer school sessions in five different countries: France, England, Germany, The Netherlands, and Greece. These programs together offer over 50 courses each summer and enable students to expand their intellectual perspectives on the law.

In order to provide even more opportunities for our students to be exposed to other legal systems, Tulane has arranged for student exchange programs with selected international universities. These arrangements enable one or two Tulane students to spend a semester at one of the exchange universities, which in turn send one or two of their own students to study at Tulane for a semester.

Another example of the support Tulane offers its students interested in international law is the non-credit language program offered each semester. Classes are typically offered in French, German, Italian, and Spanish, in both basic and advanced sections. Chinese has been offered as well. The advanced sections, which emphasize legal terminology, are often taught by the native-speaker attorneys enrolled in our graduate law programs.

Certificate in European Legal Studies
Tulane's commitment to opportunities for international and comparative study have led to its development of a certificate of specialization in European Legal Studies. By enrolling in elective courses in European Union law and related areas, JD students can receive this certificate along with the Juris Doctor diploma. The Certificate requires completion of 15 credit hours of electives: European Legal Systems, European Union I & II, International Business Transactions/Transnational Litigation, and European Obligations.

Tulane is uniquely situated to expose its students to European legal systems and doctrine by conveying to students an understanding of the civil law system, the interaction of that system with other systems, the commercial and corporate law in effect in European countries, the European Union's structure and laws, and the international trade regulation to which business transactions within the European Union and between EU countries and non-EU countries are subject.

Tulane works to train lawyers who can, in effect, speak and think both legal languages: the language of the common law that prevails in most of the United States and the language of the civil law that prevails in Europe. Our objective is to position our students to guide other lawyers as well as clients when faced with legal issues arising in and with Europe.  One strength of the European Legal Studies program is the opportunity for JD students to interact on a daily basis with the foreign lawyers who are enrolled in the LLM programs at Tulane Law School.

Summer internship opportunities have been arranged for Tulane students participating in international programs. Recently, these have been available in law firms in France, England, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Australia.

Students use the thorough grounding they receive through their coursework to participate in extra-curricular activities that further their intellectual development. A team from Tulane Law School's European Legal Studies program competes in the prestigious Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court competition, held in Vienna, Austria, each spring. The student-edited Tulane Journal of International & Comparative Law publishes two issues each year, and students also fill editorial positions on the staff of the faculty-sponsored journal, Tulane European and Civil Law Forum. Tulane's Eberhard Deutsch International Law Society is active in arranging conferences and other programs.

Tulane Law School is assisted in all of its international activities by strong ties with its alumni practicing law in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. While the School has historically emphasized its expertise in European law, it is developing more comprehensive programs with Latin America and with Asia.

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New Orleans, LA 70118
tel 504.865.5930
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