Comparative Law

Comparison brings the contours of one's own legal system into sharp relief. Comparative Law is an interactive, exciting, non-traditional, and highly relevant course for students who wish to learn about other legal systems and strengthen their understanding of the United States legal system. It will prepare students to be American lawyers with skills necessary to identify and handle cases with transnational components, skills that are necessary for legal practice in an increasingly globalizing society. With an issue-based approach, students learn comparative law at both the macro- and micro- levels. This course examines legal systems and traditions around the world. Historical and philosophical underpinnings of law will be briefly examined to understand the similarities and differences of legal systems and how they have evolved. How legal systems and traditions shape and are shaped by law and society will be explored. Further, the course will discuss legal transplants, and borrowing of law between domestic and transnational systems. The questions and issues explored will be based on the interest of enrolled students. These may include: how do the rules for entering and exiting a marriage differ between the United States, South Africa, and France?; how are inheritance laws shaped by different societies and legal traditions?; how does commercial law differ in different legal systems such as the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China?;what role does religious law play in current legal systems? Can we see elements of religious law carried by immigrants into their new countries? For example, how do we find Sharia law in the United States, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Argentina? How do United States Courts handle these religious laws that immigrant communities rely on?

Grading and Method of Evaluation:
Letter grade with pass/fail option. A paper is required.