The course provides an introduction to the international dimensions of law. In the early 21st century, it is essential that every lawyer understand the making and application of law beyond the domestic (US-American) orbit. Even though most graduates will practice law in the United States, virtually every area of domestic law is affected - and many are significantly shaped by - international aspects, whether through treaties regulating transnational economic relations, interactions with foreign law, or oversight by international organizations. The main objective of the course is not to turn students into “international lawyers” but to render them “literate” with regard to the transnational dimensions of today’s legal environment, i.e., to enable them to recognize, analyze, and get a grip on the issues that arise in transactions and disputes transcending the domestic sphere.
The course has two main parts. In the first part (constituting about one third of the course), students are introduced to the basics of the classical concept of (public) international law: states, sovereignty, sources, dispute resolution, and interaction between international and domestic law. The second part (i.e., the remaining two-thirds) of the course then revisits each of these topics and shows how they have evolved over the last half-century into the “Complexities of the Modern Order.”