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

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

In this  edition of our International & Comparative Law newsletter, you'll learn about a KU Law professor playing a key role in clarifying international arbitration law for lawyers and judges, faculty service and scholarship, students studying abroad in Ireland, and international collaboration with institutions abroad. You'll also have the opportunity to learn about unique international internships students participated in this past summer.

This year's issue of the KU Law Magazine focuses on the law school's broad global impact, from alumni working in international law to faculty conducting research and service around the world. There's a link to the full magazine below. 

KU Law graduates live and work in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and over 30 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.

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
Shawn Watts
Lua K. Yuille

For more information about 
KU Law's International & Comparative Law Program, visit .
KU Law Magazine focuses on international and comparative law
A long tradition in international law at KU stretches back nearly 140 years, with courses and scholarship in the area starting shortly after the school opened its doors. 

Today, Jayhawk lawyers can be found working on six continents. Both students and faculty take on work with global reach.

In this issue of the magazine, we highlight KU Law's global impact through the work of alumni, faculty and students. You'll meet Jayhawk lawyers working in international trade law, maritime law and international energy, and KU Law alumni in academia. You'll read about faculty research and service that span the globe. And you'll find updates from the international and comparative law program that highlight the reach of KU Law's global-minded curriculum.

Centered on sustainability: KU Law faculty research addresses environmental concerns

Sustainability is a global issue. As sustainability concerns and environmental threats occupy an ever-growing role in international affairs, KU Law faculty have placed an emphasis on scholarship, policy work and course offerings in this area.

"We see sustainability as a core focus of our international and comparative law programs," said Virginia Harper Ho, associate dean for international and comparative law. "These issues cross not only geographic boundaries but also legal disciplines from environmental law and natural resources, to intellectual property, jurisdiction and finance, to immigration and national security."

More than one-third of the law school's faculty are engaged in teaching or research on international and comparative law issues. Of that group, a growing number are working on projects related to sustainability issues and impacts.

Read more
KU Law professor plays key role in clarifying international arbitration law for lawyers, judges

Christopher Drahozal, the John M. Rounds Professor of Law at KU, played a key role in recent efforts to clarify U.S. law governing international arbitration. Drahozal served as an associate reporter for the Restatement of the U.S. Law of International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration. The American Law Institute recently approved the restatement, which will help guide judges and lawyers in international arbitration cases. The ALI is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and improve the law.

Work on the project began in 2007. Drahozal, along with reporter George Bermann of Columbia Law School and associate reporters Jack Coe of Pepperdine University School of Law and Catherine Rogers of Penn State University and Queen Mary University of London, prepared drafts addressing a wide range of topics on U.S. international arbitration law. Experts in the field and ALI members reviewed and commented on the drafts, which have now been approved by both the ALI Council and the ALI membership. With final approval, the restatement can be cited by lawyers and courts as the official position of the American Law Institute.

Drahozal, who has a wealth of experience in helping improve international arbitration, said that the process of preparing a restatement was highly gratifying, knowing the work will help guide the work of U.S. judges and lawyers from around the world involved in cases with billions of dollars at stake.

"It's been an amazing thing to be able to work on," Drahozal said. "I've learned a great deal, and the interaction with my colleagues has been everything you could ever want. Ultimately we're happy we can be helpful to judges and lawyers."

Read more

Professor discusses U.S.-Taiwan relations at public forum

Virginia Harper Ho, KU Law's associate dean for international & comparative law, discussed U.S.-Taiwan relations in May at the Kansas City Public Library. Jeff Pickering of Kansas State University and Director General Jerry S. Chang of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Denver also spoke at the public forum.

Law students study abroad in Ireland

Seven students participated in KU Law's three-week long study abroad program in Ireland this past summer. They visited Dublin, Limerick and Galway while delving into comparative law and counterterrorism law in the classroom.  Professor Suzanne Valdez accompanied the students across the pond. 

The first two weeks of classes were held on the beautiful campus of the University of Limerick, a relatively new Irish university located on the banks of the Shannon River. The final week was held at the famous University College Dublin, a short bus ride from Dublin's city center. 

For more information about KU Law's  study abroad program in Ireland, please visit the KU Law website.

Collaborating with an international university

Virginia Harper Ho visited the University of Costa Rica (UCR) recently to discuss collaborative engagement in the field of law. KU and UCR have shared a professional relationship for over 60 years.  

Harper Ho (second from right) is pictured with KU's Associate Vice Provost for International Affairs Dr. Charlie Bankart (center) and representatives of the UCR International Affairs Office. 

KU Law Professor trains diplomats in mediation, peace dialogue

For the past three years, Clinical Associate Professor Shawn Watts has led interactive workshops that train diplomats in mediation and peace dialogue at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Watts is a recognized expert in mediation and conflict resolution.

To date, Watts has led more than 20 workshops at the New York Office of UNITAR. He has also designed new training methods based on interactive practice of theory and application of skills.

Each workshop explores the topic of peace dialogue principles or conflict resolution, and integrates with one of the 17 goals of the UN's Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Last spring, his workshop topics were: Leadership and Self-Awareness for the Diplomatic Community; Guiding Diplomatic Conversations Through Asking the Right Questions; Gender Equality in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution; and Conflict Resolution for Environmental Protection.

Professor participates in historic conference of global China law scholars

Virginia Harper Ho visited Michigan this month to participate in the "China's Legal Construction Program At 40 Years -  Towards An Autonomous Legal System?" conference. The conference was hosted by the University of Michigan Law School and the  Lieberthal Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan.

At the conference, Harper Ho discussed, "Lessons from Chinese Corporate Governance Reform Since 1979." 
(From left) Dr. Ahmed Alzaabi, Hua Yang, Karlson Pruess and Qinghong Wang
Visiting 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. 
KU Law is pleased to serve as host to these scholars:

Dr. Ahmed Alzaabi is conducting research on the topic, "Anti-Dumping in the UAE and its Compatibility with the WTO Rules." Alzaabi is an associate professor and the assistant dean for scientific research and graduate studies at United Arab Emirates University in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
Karlson Preuss is working on his doctoral thesis on movements on legal anti-formalism at the turn of the 20th century in France, Germany and the United States. Pruess is a doctoral researcher at Bielefeld University in Bielefeld, Germany.

Qinghong Wang conducted comparative research on judicial decision making between China and the U.S. Wang recently returned to his position as an associate professor of law at the Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics in Hangzhou, China.
Hua Yang is researching and writing in the area of international commercial arbitration during a year-long visit at KU Law. Yang is a lecturer of international private law in the Institute for Civic Ethics and Social Reform at Chongqing Normal University in Chongqing, China.

New director aims to grow M.S. in Homeland Security: Law and Policy program 

A former JAG Corps attorney and counsel to the U.S. Department of Justice has joined KU Law. Donovan Diaz started in July as director of KU's Master of Science in Homeland Security: Law and Policy program.

As director, Diaz recruits students, coordinates instructors and pursues partnerships to support growth. This spring, he'll teach a course focused on military law and national security issues.

Now in its third year, the M.S. in Homeland Security program is based in Leavenworth and draws students from the military, federal government and civilian positions. Some students come to the program directly out of undergrad with the hope of pursuing a career in homeland/national security, Diaz said.

Students complete core courses in homeland security law and select electives from topics including crisis communication, information security and environmental security. A practicum course culminates in a multi-day, real-time simulated response to a national disaster. The simulation was created by Michael Hoeflich, the John H. & John M. Kane Distinguished Professor of Law at KU. It's a hallmark of the program, Diaz said.

Saudi Arabian scholar Najla Abdulrahman Alhekai (center) is pictured with her faculty committee.  (From left) KU Law Lecturer and Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, Quinton Lucas; Professor Richard Levy; Dr. Alhekai; Professor Lua Yuille; and KU's Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs, Reggie Robinson.

Saudi Arabian scholar defends S.J.D. dissertation 

In July, Saudi Arabian scholar Najla Abdulrahman Alhekail defended her dissertation, "The Dynamic of Normalizing Corruption in Government Institutions." After earning her S.J.D., Dr. Alhekail returned to Saudi Arabia as a law professor at King Saud University and a consultant to the Saudi Council of Political and Security Affairs.

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.), a research doctorate 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.

Student Spotlight: Samantha Natera strives to help migrant community 

2L Samantha Natera grew up on the border of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas.

The community that she grew up in inspired her to help migrants. This past summer, she was a legal intern at Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc.

"Having organizations like this makes a difference in people's lives. I admire DMRS for all the good work they have done and the awareness they have spread," she said.

Student Spotlight: Claudia Chavarria makes a positive impact through internship at advocacy center 

2L Claudia Chavarria hopes to pursue a career in immigration law. She is passionate about helping immigrants and giving back to the community she grew up in.

Chavarria was a summer legal intern at the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in her hometown of El Paso, Texas. Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center is a nonprofit organization that provides free or low-cost legal services to immigrants and refugees.

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

Here is a selection of recent news articles Raj Bhala , Brenneisen Distinguished Professor,  has written or been featured in:
  • Elections 2019: How India's next government can revolutionise its global trade BloombergQuint
  • Trade expert sees no deal in sight for U.S. and China due to fundamental differences WIBW News
  • Trump's Mexican tariffs test limits of U.S. emergency powers: legal experts Reuters
  • Why the U.S. should not go to war with Iran, yet BloombergQuint
  • USTR investigation not the focus of France as they pass big tech tax, says trade expert | WIBW News
  • South Korea-Japan WTO dispute settlement | Arirang TV
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  (SharÄ«'a) . Bhala writes a monthly "On Point" column, which is published by BloombergQuint (India) ( ).
Cathleen Carothers, L'99, is a Foreign Service Officer. In June, she began a new assignment as the Consul General at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece. Throughout her career in the foreign service of the federal government, she has held posts in Egypt, Greece, Germany, India and Yemen. Carothers was also  inducted into Lawrence High School's Hall of Honor  last month.

Devin Sikes, L'08; Cody Wood, L'17; and KU Law Professor Raj Bhala presented at the 29th annual Inter-Pacific Bar Association Annual Meeting and Conference in Singapore last May. They appeared before sizable audiences of lawyers from across the Asia-Pacific region.

Jomana Qaddour, L'09, will serve as a civil society representative on the Syrian Constitutional Committee. The 150-member committee will be facilitated by the United Nations and will be tasked with rewriting the Syrian constitution. Qaddour is a 2019 Next Generation National Security Fellow at the Center for New American Security, a 2019 Truman National Security Fellow, and a member of the Anti-Defamation League's Task Force to Protect Minority Communities in the Middle East. She is a second-year S.J.D. student at Georgetown Law.

Tyler Holmes, L'14, is a program lawyer with Irish Rule of Law International in Malawi.

Vivek Sehrawat, L'17, is an assistant professor at BML Munjal University in Gurgaon, India. He is teaching courses on Indian legal systems, English legal writing, national security, torts, international law and international humanitarian law.

Report your alumni news and update your contact and employment information at Have a story of interest to fellow alumni? Contact Margaret Hair at

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