International and Comparative Law

In this increasingly globalized world, it is crucial for today’s lawyers to understand issues that arise under international law, as well as the procedures that lawyers must follow when representing international clients. International Law governs relationships between nations and public and private relationships across international borders. In contrast, Comparative Law focuses on similarities and differences between the legal systems of different countries. Attorneys practicing International Law work in various fields and typically specialize in either transactional or litigation work. Those working in Public International Law deal with matters of public rights, including immigration law, the law of war, law of diplomatic relations and human rights. Private International lawyers represent their clients in business contexts, focusing their work in areas such as contracts, taxation, business transactions, trade and arbitration.

Villanova Law offers several international study options, international and comparative law courses and practical opportunities to observe and assist in international practice. Students may choose to enroll in the JD/LLM International Studies, which offers the opportunity to earn both a Villanova Law JD and an LLM or MRes (Master’s Degree in Law) from a host school abroad. Partner schools include the University of Edinburgh School of Law (Scotland); Leiden Law School (The Netherlands); Birkbeck School of Law (England); National University of Singapore Faculty of Law (Singapore); and City University of Hong Kong School of Law (China). Students may also study abroad during the summer or semester, with approval of the Law School.

The Law School offers first-year students two unique opportunities to study international law – the Legal Writing II International Advocacy course and Public International Law. Those interested in practical experience may enroll in the Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services or the Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic, both of which regularly represent clients in asylum or immigration cases.

Villanova students also have the opportunity to pursue internationally-based externships. A hallmark of our educational experience, the Villanova Law externship program offers placements in a variety of practice settings, including corporate, government, and nonprofit (see below for a list of recent placements). Externships are supervised by both an on-site field instructor and a full-time faculty member who works closely with each student to monitor progress and to ensure overall professional development.

The below list highlights Villanova Law courses that are fundamentally associated with this practice area.

Of the courses listed below, the foundational doctrinal courses—Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Constitutional Law and Torts—and an upper level Legal Writing (Transactional or Litigation) are required. The remaining courses are helpful but not required for those interested in the field.

  • Human Trafficking
  • Immigration Law
  • International Advocacy
  • International Environmental Law
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Trade and Investment
  • Public International Law