University of Kansas School of Law
Spring 2019
Message from the Associate Dean

Greetings from the University of Kansas School of Law and the International & Comparative Law Program!

At a time when global engagement and understanding is more important than it has ever been, I am proud to share with you how our faculty, students, and alumni are contributing to that goal both here in the heartland and around the world. 

In this edition of our newsletter, you'll hear about cutting-edge scholarship on energy policy, international trade, and green finance. You'll also learn about national honors our students have achieved, global public service, and new international collaborations.

KU Law graduates live and work in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and 25 foreign countries.  If you share our passion for expanded horizons, we hope you'll take time to learn about the global impact made by Jayhawk faculty, students and alumni in the past year.

Best regards,

Virginia Harper Ho
Professor and Associate Dean,
International and Comparative Law 

International and Comparative Law Faculty
Numerous KU Law faculty are involved in international and comparative law, including:
Raj Bhala
Christopher R. Drahozal
Virginia Harper Ho 
John W. Head 
Michael H. Hoeflich
Richard E. Levy 
Uma Outka 
John C. Peck
Jean K. Gilles Phillips
Ellen Sward
Andrew W. Torrance
Elizabeth Kronk Warner  
Shawn Watts
Lua K. Yuille

For more information about 
KU Law's International & Comparative Law Program, visit .


New book examines energy justice, how policy affects those beyond decision makers, politicians

The 2015 UN Paris Climate Accords brought energy regulation's role in climate change to the international forefront. Although the United States has since withdrawn from the agreement, energy development decisions both here and abroad have consequences felt around the globe. Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner , KU professor of law and director of the university's Tribal Law & Government Center, has co-edited a new book which is one of the first to examine energy justice, or how energy policy affects those beyond the decision makers.

"Energy Justice: International and U.S. Perspectives" examines recent energy decisions by both industrialized and developing nations, their effects and how future energy policy, whether regarded as renewable, "green" or part of traditional sources, can be undertaken justly.

KU Law student wins national writing prize

Third-year law student Elliott Brewer finished second in the 20th annual Andrew P. Vance Memorial Writing Competition, which is sponsored by the Customs and International Trade Bar Association and Brooklyn Law School. The competition encourages students to explore current issues relevant to customs and international trade law. 

Brewer's paper investigated forced labor in corporate supply chains following the repeal of the consumptive demand exception. 

Brewer is the fourth KU Law student in 11 years to take first or second place in this national competition. His paper will be considered for publication in the Brooklyn Journal of International Law

Read more

Professor shares renewable energy law, policy expertise in India

Climate change is a global problem. KU Law Professor Uma Outka traveled to India to explore solutions rooted in renewable energy law and policy with Indian students and faculty.  She co-taught a two-week course on these topics in May 2018 at the Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law in Kharagpur, India. She taught the course alongside Professor Uday Shankar.

"Collaborating on the course deepened our understanding of the context for scaling up renewable energy in the U.S. and India," Outka said. "Climate change is a global issue, and every country has to approach climate mitigation in ways that work for its unique circumstances."

Jessup moot court team wins regional competition, advances to next round

Moot court team members Vince Becraft, Bridget Brazil, Karen Fritts, Diana Jarek and Adam Merello finished in first place at the Jessup Rocky Mountain Regional Championship in Denver on Feb. 24. They went on to  compete in the international rounds of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition this month.

The Jessup competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial body of the United Nations. John Head, the Robert W. Wagstaff Distinguished Professor of Law, and Lua Yuille, associate professor of law, serve as the team's coaches.

Robert C. Casad Comparative Law Lecture 2019

Comparative Constitutional Law Professor Roberto Toniatti delivered the Robert C. Casad Comparative Law Lecture at the KU School of Law on Feb. 8. He  presented "Comparing Constitutions in the Global Era: Opportunities, Purposes and Challenges." Toniatti is a  professor and former dean of the law school at the University of Trento in Trento, Italy.

Toniatti has written widely on the judiciary, legal pluralism, European integration, minority and indigenous peoples' rights, and cultural citizenship. Toniatti was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Virginia and has since taught and lectured at leading institutions around the world, including the Universität Innsbruck, Hong Kong University, the National University of Singapore and Haifa University. In addition to his scholarly contributions, he also has advised the European Union and the Venice Commission. Toniatti is also a member of the International Academy of Comparative Law. 

The Casad lecture series is named in honor of Professor Emeritus Robert Casad, who was on the faculty of the KU law school from 1959 to 1997. Casad is internationally known for his scholarship in comparative civil procedure. 

Read more

KU student starts nonprofit to empower, educate Tanzanian women
In Tanzania, the government bans young mothers from attending state schools.  Third-year law student Paeten Denning recently founded a nonprofit organization called Miracles Are Real Because Love Exists (M.A.R.B.L.E.), which provides vocational education, housing and resources for pregnant young women in Tanzania.

"What I'd like to do is create a place for young mothers to go, feel safe and find stability," said Denning, who is from Nevada, Missouri. "Our goals are educate, employ, empower. I want every girl who leaves M.A.R.B.L.E. to feel empowered."

Read more

Professor explores free trade agreement protections for women's, LGBTQ rights
The world of international trade is changing rapidly, with the United States and trading partners levying new tariffs, while new free trade agreements are formed and others scrapped. In the midst of the ongoing trade upheaval, a University of Kansas law professor has examined how such agreements can help advance the rights of women and LGBTQ individuals around the world.

For the first time in history, a select few free trade agreements contain language about how women, LGBTQ and other minorities can have their human rights respected and advanced through trade. Raj Bhala, the Brenneisen Distinguished Professor at the KU School of Law, co-wrote a two-dimensional examination of such clauses in recent agreements.

Read more

ScholarshipVisiting scholars bring global perspective  to Green Hall

The University of Kansas School of Law regularly serves as host to visiting scholars from overseas. The program aims to provide an opportunity for professors, practitioners and graduate students from other countries to enrich their own experience and the KU Law community in a way that can lead to a long-term mutually beneficial relationship between the scholar and KU Law faculty and students. 
Qinghong Wang
KU Law is pleased to serve as host to these scholars:

Yijun Meng  is conducting comparative research in the area of IP education to gain a better understanding of IP international cooperation. Meng works for the Patent Examination Cooperation Center of the Patent Office, SIPO, in the Henan Province of China.

Dr. Qinghong Wang  does comparative research on judicial decision making between China and the U.S. Wang is an Associate Professor of Law at Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics in Hangzhou, China.

Chinese scholars from SXUFE visit KU Law

Professors Shelly Cao and Yuejin Ma of the Shanxi University of Finance and Economics (SXUFE) in the Shanxi Province of China visited KU Law in January. Ma is the former dean of SXUFE. KU Law and SXUFE have mutually promoted student and faculty exchanges since 2013.

During their visit, Cao and Ma met with Dean Stephen Mazza and Associate Dean Virginia Harper Ho, as well as with representatives of KU's Office of International Programs to explore opportunities for future collaboration and learn about KU Law's international and comparative law programs. 

Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) Program

The University of Kansas School of Law is one of the few law schools in the United States to offer a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.), the terminal degree in law. The S.J.D. program is designed for students interested in deep legal research and writing, and a career as a legal scholar or a senior public official.

Recent S.J.D. dissertation defenses include:

  • Ahmed Mansour"Determining Adequate Remuneration and the Health Diseases for Compulsory Licensing Medicines under Article 31 of the TRIPS Agreement: An Interdisciplinary Study between Patent and Public Utility Laws - The U.S.-Egypt as a Case Study." The first Fulbright Scholar in KU Law's SJD Program, Mansour studied in the U.S. on a scholarship awarded by the Binational Fulbright Commission in Egypt. Mansour defended his Doctor of Juridical Science dissertation in May 2018 and passed with distinction. He returned to his home country and his teaching position at the Al-Azhar University, Faculty of Shariah and Law in Cairo, Egypt.
  • Awad Ali Alanzi: "Civil Law and the Legal Education Code in Saudi Arabia: Alternative Aspects." Alanzi defended his Doctor of Juridical Science dissertation in August 2018 and passed with distinction. After graduation in May, he will return with his family to Saudi Arabia, where he will serve as a professor of law at Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University in Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia. 
  • Ibrahim Alaskar"Enforcement of Court Orders in Transnational Corruption.Alaskar defended his Doctor of Juridical Science dissertation in November 2018 and passed with distinction. After graduation in May, Alaskar will return to Saudi Arabia. He plans to continue in his previous role as legal advisor to the Saudi Arabian government. 
  • Nasser Aldosari"The Functionalist Division of Powers in Criminal Procedure: Principle Separation of Preliminary Investigation and Public Prosecution Authorities." Aldosari defended his Doctor of Juridical Science dissertation in March 2019 and passed with distinction. Aldosari is a former member of the Saudi National Anti-Corruption Commission. After graduation in May, he will return to King Saud University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to teach criminal law.

S.J.D. Spotlight: Bander Almohammadi 

S.J.D. candidate Bander  Almohammadi was born and grew up in Medinah, Saudi Arabia. He moved to Lawrence, Kansas with his wife and two children to pursue his legal education. Bander's S.J.D. research is about social justice in relation to "International Trade in the Principles of Christianity and Islam." After graduation, he plans to teach and practice in international trade law. 

In addition to his studies,  Almohammadi stays active in the sphere of International & Comparative Law. 
Former Israeli negotiator reflects  on involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process
Amos Guiora came to KU Law on Feb. 26 and presented "Reflections on Involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process." Guiora is a professor at the University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law.

The lecture was hosted by the Israeli Consulate General in Houston, Texas as well as KU Law's Jewish Legal Society and International Law Society.
Guiora is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Israel Defense Forces. Guiora has an A.B. in history from Kenyon College, a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and a Ph.D from Leiden University. His latest books are The Crime of Complicity: The Bystander in the Holocaust (2017) and Earl Warren, Ernesto Miranda and Terrorism (2018). His previous books include Freedom from Religion: Rights and National Security (2009) and Tolerating Intolerance: The Price of Protecting Extremism (2014).

Shawn Watts joined the KU Law lawyering faculty in August. He comes to KU Law from Columbia Law School in New York City, where he was the associate director of the Mediation Program. He taught an Advanced Mediation Clinic and a Native American Peacemaking Clinic. He has been a visiting professor at both Yale Law School and National Taiwan University Law School in Taipei, Taiwan. 

Over the summer, Watts will be doing extensive international work including:
  • Training Japan's resident diplomatic core in conflict resolution and peace dialogue 
  • Launching a program with India's resident diplomatic core
  • Working with the Delhi High Court to upskill mediators 
  • Launching mediation clinical programs for multiple universities in India
A citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Watts graduated from Columbia Law School, where he won the Jane Marks Murphy Prize for clinical advocacy, was a Strine Fellow, a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and managing editor of Columbia Law's Journal of Law and Social Problems. While in law school, he served as the president of the National Native American Law Students Association. 

Before he began teaching, Watts was an associate in the finance and bankruptcy practice group at the New York office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, where - in addition to representing both creditors and debtors in multimillion-dollar bankruptcies - he specialized in federal Indian law and tribal finance.

Please join us in welcoming Professor Watts to our law faculty. 
KU Law Professor and Associate Dean for International & Comparative Law,  Virginia Harper Ho , works to foster better relations between the U.S. and China. In October 2018, Harper Ho spoke at the 18th Biennial Edgar Snow Foundation Symposium which was attended by over 3,000 participants. The symposium addressed aspects of global economic development, East-West collaboration, and U.S.- China relations in trade and investment. She also participated in a panel on U.S.-China Tariffs & Trade as part of the 2018 China Town Hall sponsored by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations (NCUSCR). Through the NCUSCR's Public Intellectuals Program, funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, Harper Ho also organized a public forum on the opportunities and challenges of Chinese foreign investment, with support from the Kansas City World Trade Center and the International Relations Council of Kansas City. 
In 2018, Harper Ho served as a research fellow of the International Institute of Green Finance at the Central University of Finance & Economics (CUFE) in Beijing and presented her research on the implementation of China's green finance reforms at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and National Taiwan University. 
Raj Bhala, the Brenneisen Distinguished Professor, served as KU's Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law from 2011 to 2017. 

Here is a selection of recent news articles Bhala has written or been featured in:
  • Disconnects in India's e-commerce policy BloombergQuint
  • Rebalancing Of Section 232 Authority Could Have Tariff Impacts, KU Professor Says WIBW News
  • Is Trump about to launch a global auto trade war? BloombergQuint
  • New Trade Deal Likely Good News for Major Kansas Industries Kansas Public Radio
  • GSP: Altering preferential status a 'significant' change to India-U.S. trade ties | BloombergQuint
  • Local expert says 'new NAFTA' trade deal good for metro's economy | Fox4KC

Bhala is the author of International Trade Law: An Interdisciplinary, Non-Western Textbook; the first treatise on GATT in nearly 50 years, Modern GATT Law; and a textbook on Islamic Law, Understanding Islamic Law (Sharī'a). Bhala writes a monthly "On Point" column, which is published by BloombergQuint (India) (

Christopher Drahozal is an internationally known scholar whose writing focuses on the law and economics of dispute resolution, particularly arbitration. Drahozal is an associate reporter for the  Restatement of the U.S. Law of International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration . The project is up for final approval at the American Law Institute annual meeting in May.

Stephen Ware wrote "Principles Of Arbitration Law," which was published in 2017. The book thoroughly discusses general arbitration law and provides in-depth coverage of specialized law governing international arbitration and labor arbitration.

Jennifer Schmidt, who directs KU Law's Sixth Semester in D.C. Program, coordinated an opportunity for KU Law students to interact with other law students from Bay Atlantic University (BAU) in Washington, D.C. BAU is a private university located in Istanbul with campuses around the world. 

Faculty media coverage 

KU Law faculty members are frequently consulted by national, regional and local news organizations to give their expert opinions in the context of news stories. For a full list of Faculty Media Coverage, visit

Raj Bhala explored the U.S.-China trade war and its impact on Asian countries |  South China Morning Post 
Uma Outka delivered a lecture on "Energy Law for a Modern Low-Carbon Grid" |  S.J. Quinney College of Law YouTube channel

Lua Yuille discussed ongoing immigration reform efforts in the context of the  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program  |  KU Today

At least 800,000 people were killed in 100 days during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Deborah Wilkinson, L'82, helped bring some of the perpetrators of that violence to justice.
As senior appeals counsel at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Tanzania, Wilkinson and a team of fellow prosecutors spent five years litigating the appeals of six high-level Rwandan political and military officials charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"I feel that this case made a contribution to international law and international humanitarian law. It also provided closure for the numerous victims of these crimes," Wilkinson said. "Many of the victims were following the case, and to know that these people were being held accountable was very significant. I'm glad I was able to contribute in that way."

Throughout her career, Wilkinson has tried cases in three countries on three different continents, but she considers the prosecution of Rwandan atrocities her most significant work.

Alumni Spotlight: Recent graduate makes a worldwide impact as international trade compliance specialist

As an international trade compliance specialist for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., Madeline Heeren uses the knowledge she gained in Professor Raj Bhala's international trade and finance classes every day.

Heeren, L'15, studied abroad in Istanbul, worked as a summer associate at law firms in both Bangladesh and India, and co-founded a nonprofit organization to help people in the least developed countries obtain basic needs. She also served as president of the Student Bar Association, worked as a research assistant for Bhala and earned the International Trade and Finance Certificate.

ICL ProgramPrograms for International Students | | 866-220-3654