Internationalism is a hallmark of Michigan Law. Throughout its history, Michigan Law has brought a global perspective to the study of law and legal institutions. The 1837 statute that established the University specifically provided that the “law department” include a professor of international law, a rarity at the time. In the mid-twentieth century, Michigan’s scholarship in international and comparative law under the leadership of Professors Hessel E. Yntema, William Bishop, and Eric Stein, became world-renowned. Their view of the law—as a discipline that must transcend international and cultural boundaries—was the foundation on which the Law School’s reputation as a major center of global legal studies was built.
Today, Michigan Law’s internationalism is reflected in its leadership in international, comparative, and foreign law, as well as in the global perspective that the faculty bring to their teaching and scholarship regardless of their fields of specialization. Our focus on global issues and perspectives is pervasive and imbues the entire curriculum and our comprehensive law library collection.
In this era of global interconnectedness, virtually every area of the law is being—or has been—internationalized. As the first top law school to require Transnational Law, Michigan ensures that its students explore the fluidity of the boundaries between domestic and international law and the foundations of law at the international level. Students can then choose from a tremendous range of international, comparative, and foreign courses, externships and internships, student activities, and clinical experience involving cross-border issues. Michigan’s global law library collection supports every aspect of the curriculum and scholarship.
At the heart of Michigan’s commitment to internationalism is a distinguished group of faculty members, whose collective breadth of scholarship places Michigan Law among the leaders in international legal education. The faculty’s legal expertise includes the fields of international tax, investment and trade, environmental, asylum and refugee, and human rights law, and covers the world’s major economies outside the United States, including: China, India, Japan, and the European Union
The Center for Law and Global Affairs supports and inspires research, education and practice regarding new forms of transnational public-private governance that extend beyond the traditional paradigms of international law. As non-state actors increasingly take on responsibilities within the global arena, there is a need for innovative and interdisciplinary understandings of international law and policy. To advance this vision, the Center sponsors conferences, colloquia, courses, research, policy initiatives and publications to:
- Study evolving forms of international law that extend beyond treaties and other formal legal mechanisms to include private and public regulatory frameworks, civil society initiatives, corporate actions and social networks that define the larger global order.
- Develop and apply new methodologies that draw on interdisciplinary qualitative and quantitative empirical research to better understand how the rule of law operates in diverse international contexts.
- Initiate and communicate new policy strategies through projects, scholarship and practical initiatives that contribute to more cogent and effective public-private regulation of human rights, security, global economic activities, human trafficking, international health and the rule of law.
- Teach and train students and professionals to work more effectively in the new global regulatory environment.
The Center creates an interdisciplinary community of scholars, practitioners, students and community members interested in better understanding and affecting the relationship between law and an increasingly global world.
The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, renamed for the retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 2006, is pursuing a bold and transformative model for public legal education in the 21st century, a model we call a legal education in the future tense. This model re-imagines the law school as a multifaceted legal studies center serving law students, professionals from other fields, and undergraduates seeking broad-based exposure to legal issues. At the core of this expansion is a dedication to making the law school a valuable resource for addressing major regional, national, and international problems of law and public policy. The College is the leading law school in the Phoenix area, boasts an Indian Legal Program that is arguably the best in the nation, houses the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, the oldest, largest and by far the most comprehensive law and science center in the country, the Center for Law and Global Affairs, and the new Diane Halle Center for Family Justice. Beyond the traditional J.D., the College offers several concurrent degrees, including a J.D./M.D. program with the Mayo Medical School, a J.D./M.B.A. with the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU, a J.D./Ph.D. in Law and Psychology with the ASU Department of Psychology, and a J.D./Ph.D. in Justice Studies with the ASU School of Social Transformation Justice and Social Inquiry Program. It also offers graduate degrees in Biotechnology and Genomics and in Tribal Policy, Law and Government. A Master of Legal Studies program gives non-lawyers an opportunity to develop needed legal skills to help students advance in their professional careers.