Associate Professor of Law
Whittier Law School
Why do you think it is important to explore this practice area?
Countries of the world are increasingly inter-related- intellectually, culturally, politically, economically and as a result legally. Cross-border laws impact details of our everyday lives, from the price of imported fruit to international travel. Local laws are not cleanly separated from international ones. For instance, arrests and criminal prosecutions of non-citizens are subject to a country’s international legal obligations. Child custody, where one parent is either a foreign national or holds duel citizenship, may be governed by various international legal instruments. It is crucial for law students to understand the potential relationship between international and domestic laws so that they can effectively represent their clients as lawyers when they enter practice. While international laws may impact everyday legal practice, comparative law, the study of various legal systems in comparison to each other, makes one aware of possibilities foreign to one’s own legal system. These legal possibilities may be useful where domestic law may not offer the kind of relief one’s client seeks. Increasingly courts are looking at legal norms and practice from other countries, and today’s lawyer must keep an open mind about the utility of comparative legal knowledge.