University of Kansas School of Law
Spring 2018
Message from the Associate Dean

Greetings from KU Law School and the International & Comparative Law Program!

In January it was my honor to assume a new role here at KU Law as the Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law. In taking the baton from my colleague and predecessor, Raj Bhala, I hope to build on the law school's long tradition in international and comparative law and its reputation for training globally-minded lawyers who are ready to handle international, transnational and foreign legal issues in a wide range of practice settings.

I've already been able to be a part of that here at KU Law by teaching a comparative course on Chinese law and our International Commerce & Investment Law course, in addition to a range of business law courses where international and comparative lessons arise frequently. When I was in practice, I regularly represented foreign and domestic clients in transnational mergers and acquisitions and other international business matters, and I enjoy integrating those perspectives in the classroom. I also regularly spend time on research in China and have written recently on comparative corporate governance, financial disclosure reform and sustainable finance. I am a current Fellow of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations' Public Intellectuals Program and the past chair of the American Society of Comparative Law's Younger Comparativists Committee.

Now that I've introduced myself, I'd like to share with you some of the exciting ways we're engaging in international and comparative law here at Green Hall through our academic programs, faculty research and recent on-campus events.

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 
John C. Peck
Jean K. Gilles Phillips
Andrew W. Torrance
Elizabeth A. Kronk Warner  
Lua K. Yuille


Environmental justice overlooked in  Dakota Pipeline saga, legal expert says

Even though there have already been  leaks since oil began flowing through the Dakota Access Pipeline this spring, American Indian tribes still have a chance to stop it, according to a University of Kansas professor.

In "Environmental Justice: A Necessary Lens to Effectively View Environmental Threats to Indigenous Survival," an article published in the Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems Journal, Elizabeth Kronk Warner writes that there are a number of bases under which affected American Indian tribes might reasonably challenge the pipeline in court. Kronk Warner is a KU Law professor and director of the school's Tribal Law & Government Center.

A court has already ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency that approved and permitted a segment of the pipeline's cross-country route, met the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act and adequately consulted the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe as to that path, which brushes up against the tribe's reservation.

But Kronk Warner writes that there are other issues over which the tribes might sue and prevail, including the basic unfairness of re-routing the pipeline away from the mostly white city of Bismarck, North Dakota, for fear of contaminating its water supply and toward the Standing Rock reservation.

"The environmental justice claim has not yet been fully adjudicated," Kronk Warner said. "There are still cases ongoing."  Then, too, Kronk Warner writes, there are legal issues related to the fact that American Indian tribes have national sovereignty.

As finalist in prestigious federal leadership program, KU Law grad accepts international trade appointment

A recent KU Law graduate has been named a finalist in one of the nation's most competitive fellowship programs.

Josh DeMoss, L'17, earned the designation of  2018 Presidential Management Fellow Finalist after an intensive application and interview process. More than 6,000 people applied for the fellowship, and less than 10 percent made the final cut.

DeMoss accepted an appointment with the International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce.

"I applied to the PMF program because I knew it was a prestigious avenue to federal government service for those with advanced degrees. I have wanted to work in the government since I was a child - even enlisting in the Air Force when I was 17," said DeMoss, a native of Gilmer, Texas. "I would love to have a career that is internationally focused. I aspire to one day be a Foreign Service officer or work in international development, particularly through trade."

DeMoss is certainly laying the foundation for the career of his dreams. He earned a law degree and a master's in  Russian and East European studies through KU's joint-degree program after studying the Russian language and interning in Moscow as an undergraduate at Baylor University. He switched his focus to Ukraine during his first year at KU, when that country's revolution signaled future interest in development.

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Climate change is posing problems around the world to the way people live and feed themselves. In the Mediterranean Basin, a vital region to dozens of nations, it is exacerbating the existing problems of environmental degradation, agricultural land misuse, pollution, population increases and declining species. A University of Kansas law professor and two recent graduates have published an article examining the problems facing the Mediterranean region, what is being done to address them and how a new, multinational "trusteeship" entity might address the issues facing millions of the area's inhabitants.

John Head, Robert W. Wagstaff Distinguished Professor of Law at KU, wrote an article with KU Law alumni Kate Marples and Jon Simpson that was published in the journal Mediterranean Studies. Marples is a judicial clerk for the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, and Simpson is an assistant solicitor general for the state of Kansas.



Student receives competitive national labor law fellowship

KU Law student Elliott Brewer will spend the summer in Washington, D.C., advocating for workers' rights as the recipient of a prestigious Peggy Browning Fellowship.

Brewer, from Parsons, is a second-year law student who aspires to a career as an international labor law attorney. He studied social welfare and philosophy at KU and served as a labor law research intern at Verité, where he contributed to a report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor on forced labor in the Malaysian electronics industry.

Brewer will work at the International Labor Rights Forum this summer through the 10-week fellowship awarded by the Peggy Browning Fund. He is one of about 80 students selected from more than 400 applicants for the highly competitive program.

"I am very excited to be in Washington, D.C., this summer," Brewer said. "The fellowship is relevant to my career interests and will expand my understanding of both international and domestic law."

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Great Plains International & Comparative Law Colloquium

KU Law and  Washburn University School of Law co-hosted the 4th Annual Great Plains International and Comparative Law Colloquium in early May in Lawrence. Faculty members from six law schools in the region workshopped and discussed scholarship on women's rights in international trade law, global migration rights, health law in Japan, the relationship between the growth of legal systems and GDP, protecting ecosystems from climate change, judicial discretion at the International Cr iminal Court, and the disclosure of non-financial factors in global financial regulation.

Pictured are: Raj Bhala (KU), Tim Lynch (UMKC), John Head (KU), Rob Leflar (University of Arkansas), Gerrit De Geest (Washington University), Andrea Boyack (Washburn), Matt Kane (University of Oklahoma), Virginia Harper Ho (KU), Craig Martin (Washburn), Lua Yuille (KU), and Mathias Van Der Haegen (Ghent University, visiting Washington University).
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Diplomat's Forum 2018 

Anita Killeen, former chief prosecutor in New Zealand's Serious Fraud Office, presented "Animal Law: The Connection between Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty - A New Zealand Perspective" on March 5 at the KU School of Law. 

Killeen is founder and chair of the internationally recognized Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Auckland Pro Bono Panel of Prosecutors, a group of senior New Zealand lawyers who prosecute animal cruelty cases for free. She discussed significant case law and empirical research linking domestic violence and animal cruelty and recommended legislative changes to help curb abuse.

Killeen regularly publishes and speaks nationally and internationally. She is a faculty member of the New Zealand Law Society Litigation Skills Programme, an international member of the American Bar Association Animal Law Committee and a member of the International Association of Prosecutors. A former criminal law tutor at the Auckland University School of Law, Killeen also has served in New Zealand's Government Chief Legal Advisors' Forum and the Organised and Financial Crime Policy Action Group.

Killeen is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and both the Institute of Directors and the Institute for Strategic Leadership (New Zealand).

The Diplomat's Forum is the law school's most prestigious annual international and comparative law event. Its aim is to provide a platform for an open sharing of thoughts on international law and relations and the United States through the perspective of a professional with notable diplomatic experience in the service of a foreign government.

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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 current and recent distinguished scholars.
 
Dogan Durna analyzes agricultural biotechnology policy and law in Turkey. His research explores international biotechnnological inventions and plant varieties and their application in the Turkish agricultural sector.

Xiu "Monica" Huang   conducts research for her doctoral dissertation, "Sino-China Comparative Study on the Legal Issues of Water Resources Allocation and Usage in the Coastal Areas of the Inter-Basin Water Transfer."
 
Ali Nawaz Khan  researches institutional arbitration in Pakistan. His current research evaluates the role that institutional arbitration plays in settling international disputes between investors and states.  
  
Yueqing Li conducts comparative research on Chinese and American corporate law.

Bakht Munir studies the link between constitutionalism, Islam, and judicial autonomy in Pakistan. His research explores how the judiciary has been used to justify military action and the role it plays in bringing stability to Pakistani democracy.


Legal aid in Tanzania

In 2013 I made my first trip to Tanzania on a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship. Not only was this my first trip outside of the United States, but it was also my first experience speaking Swahili outside of the comforts of my classroom. I was terrified that I would only last one week. After traveling around to different cities and visiting with community groups, NGOs and policymakers, my nerves quickly went away and my love for East Africa and my passion for women and children's rights began to grow.

After leaving Tanzania, I could not get back fast enough. However, from the time I attended law school with my dad when I was in second grade, I always knew that law school was in my future. My dad was a non-traditional law student with two young daughters. I attended class with him everyday after he picked me up from school. I was even called on once! After my first semester of law school, I spent the month of December researching and applying for organizations that would hopefully bring me back to East Africa. Finally, in January I received an email from the executive director of the Tanzania Women Lawyer's Association (TAWLA). After interviewing in both Swahili and English, she offered me an internship where I would focus on custody issues and land right issues for women.

In July I finished my internship with Federal Magistrate Judge K. Gary Sebelius of the District of Kansas and hopped on a plane to Tanzania two days later. After arriving in Tanzania, with my baggage lost, I started my work. TAWLA consists of five offices in Tanzania, in the cities of Dodoma, Mwanza, Tanga, Arusha and Dar es Salaam. It is the largest legal aid organization in the country focusing on women and children's rights. I worked in the Arusha office alongside five practicing attorneys. While the jobs at TAWLA are highly sought after, only two of the five attorneys are paid. All other members volunteer.


Sustainability in the mainstream:
Why investors care and what it means for corporate boards

Professor Virginia Harper Ho  has written pieces in public outlets that discuss how global trends in shareholder activism and financial reporting that are encouraging companies to improve how they disclose environmental risks to investors. 

"Many corporate boards know that a clear focus on sustainability and other "environmental, social, and governance" (ESG) issues can drive integrated thinking and set them apart from their peers, but shareholder activism around ESG issues is less well understood. As institutional investors deepen their engagement with companies on ESG concerns, directors need to understand what is driving these trends and what new competencies shareholders demand from corporate boards."



William Shakespeare is no stranger to college campuses. But his works and those of Albert Camus, William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, Franz Kafka and E.M. Forster are usually read and discussed more in theater and English classrooms than in law schools.

A new KU Law class is mixing the bard and the bar to help budding lawyers consider how classic literature applies to all manner of international law and how history's great writers can help them become better legal writers.

International Law and Literature is a first-of-its-kind class now in its first semester at KU Law. It is taught by Brenneisen Distinguished Professor  Raj Bhala. The class takes the idea of a relatively standard law class and puts an international spin on it, considering work of authors from around the world and how their work can help the understanding of treaties,international law and improve legal writing.

The course has three sections: law as literature, law in literature and rhetoric. For the first, students read legal documents like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, known as GATT, and apply literary theories and schools of thought to them as a better means of understanding. In a recent class, students considered how post-structuralism, deconstruction and Marxist literary interpretation could help in the understand of China's nonmarket economy status and legally ambiguous wording that has led to anti-dumping lawsuits working through the World Trade Organization, U.S. Court of International Trade and U.S. Commerce Department.
Faculty media coverage 

Following is a sampling of recent national, regional and local news stories featuring KU Law faculty experts: 
 
Raj Bhala explored Brexit and its impact on people across the globe and in the Midwest |
Raj Bhala examined the implications of Trump's vow to quit the TPP trade deal |
Elizabeth Kronk Warner studied the impact of climate change on tribal lands |
Andrew Torrance discussed a settlement under which Syngenta agreed to pay farmers more than $1.4 billion after they complained that the marketing of the company's genetically modified corn seeds shut them out of the Chinese market |  Bloomberg
 
Lua Yuille  was consulted about K ansas' withdrawal from the federal refugee resettlement program |  Hays Post
 
KU Law: An international destination on the prairie

"International" might not be a word many people immediately associate with Kansas. But don't let KU Law's location on the prairie fool you.

As president of KU's International Law Society, I have the honor of heading up one of the law school's oldest student organizations; the KU chapter of ILS is over 40 years old. Yet KU's international law tradition goes back even further. International and comparative law have been taught at KU Law since the school first opened its doors in 1878. I don't think it is a coincidence that from its beginning in 1878, KU Law has never discriminated on the basis of ethnicity, race, gender or religion. This legacy of tolerance and openness has fostered a community of ILS members interested in expanding their horizons and engaging with the varieties of law practiced around the world.
 
ILS membership is diverse because every student has a unique reason for joining. Many of our members are international students. Indeed, in recent years up to 8 percent of law students at KU have been from outside the United States. We have law students from countries around the world, including China, Egypt, Mexico, Ethiopia, Korea, Turkey, Nigeria, Libya, Ecuador and South Africa. Over the years, ILS has been a place where people from various backgrounds can meet and discuss any number of international topics. Last fall, ILS held a lunch symposium featuring some of KU's international students, many of whom have already earned law degrees in their own countries.
 

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. graduates are working as faculty at universities in Egypt, Taiwan and Japan; and policy researchers at private firms in the U.S., include:
KU hosts international law workshop

Legal scholars from around the world gathered in Lawrence in February 2017 to present their research on contemporary law and business issues. The American Society of Comparative Law (ASCL) Younger Comparativists Committee's Third Annual Comparative Business and Financial Law Workshop explored topics ranging from Islamic commercial law to consumer financial protection and Chinese corporate governance.

"The workshop is an opportunity for younger comparative scholars to engage with a group of interdisciplinary commentators around cutting-edge issues in business law and financial regulation," said Virginia Harper Ho, University of Kansas professor of law and current chair of the Younger Comparativists Committee.  "KU Law has a strong tradition as a member of the ASCL, and this workshop is a great complement to our international and comparative law program. It's also an opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from the KU School of Business, who will be participating as commentators." 

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Law professor part of effort to improve international arbitration cases 

In international arbitration cases, billions of dollars and the validity of government regulations can be at stake, so it is imperative parties are able to choose the best arbitrator to settle their disputes. A University of Kansas law professor is part of a project working to improve the information available to parties in such cases, making the process fairer and more efficient and increasing the diversity of people deciding international arbitration cases.

Christopher Drahozal, the John M. Rounds Distinguished Professor of Law, is a member of the board of directors of  Arbitrator Intelligence, Inc. , also known as AI, an entity affiliated with Penn State University that aims to promote fairness, transparency and accountability in the arbitrator selection process. When disputes arise under international treaties, contracts and investment deals, the parties often choose to submit the dispute to arbitration, where an independent third-party rules on the case, instead of the traditional court system.

"Arbitration is different from litigation in court because in arbitration the parties pick the person who resolves their dispute (the arbitrator). But arbitration can become less fair if one party has better information about prospective arbitrators than the other," Drahozal said.


ICL ProgramPrograms for International Students | admitlaw@ku.edu | 866-220-3654



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