International law refers to an area of law that has traditionally focused on agreements and norms governing the relations between sovereign states during times of peace and war. Today, however, the scope of meaning for this term has been dramatically expanded to encompass all forms of human activity between private actors, corporations, governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, international, non-state, para-military groups and governments.
Lawyers today encounter an increasing number of international legal issues, no matter how and where they practice law. Technology and modern transportation and communications systems which pervade the dimensions of our lives — work, family, social relations, education and entertainment — increase the likelihood that there will be significant international dimension to the professional work of lawyers. Corporations are increasingly capable of shifting capital and labor supply chains across borders, as well as trading with overseas companies. Not only the transnational character of many businesses, even if they are not large, but also the increase in international activity by governments and regional bodies, translates into complexity and new exposure to, or confrontation with, international legal issues. The exponential rise in international transactions and in the movement of people, goods and services has ensured that legal systems must adapt to this new transnational reality.
Almost every field of law now contains a substantial international element. Training students in a variety of international law subjects equips them to practice in a legal world necessarily reaching beyond national borders. To this end, Suffolk University Law School has greatly expanded its international law course offerings and activities over the past decade. The Law School offers a wide array of international courses, ranging from public international law, to international business transactions, to comparative law, to international trade law, to international litigation and arbitration. These offerings stress the impact of multiple legal systems on transnational actors and their public activities or private transactions, as well as the resolution of related disputes. The courses focus on the role of the lawyer in a world system and global economy.
Attracted to Suffolk's international law courses and activities, as well as Boston's cosmopolitan identity, Suffolk is fortunate that a significant number of its students increasingly come from international backgrounds, particularly in its L.L.M. and scholar exchange programs.
II. Law Review, Clinics, Moot Competitions, Internships and International Study
Transnational Law Review: The Suffolk Transnational Law Review is one of the oldest international law journals in the country and serves as a forum to discuss and examine contemporary international legal issues. Since its inception in 1976, Transnational has emerged as a nationally and internationally recognized publication, presenting a professional journal focused on public and private international law, international institutions, international legal and political events, and developments in the law of the world economic community. Transnational thrives in its unique role as both a prestigious Honor Board and a complement to Suffolk University Law School's distinguished international law faculty and international law organizations. It offers an annual distinguished lecture series, and also presents panels and speakers on topics of current interest.
Immigration Clinic: Students in this clinic represent non-citizens facing deportation from the United States and seeking to redress misconduct by Immigration Customs and Enforcement ("ICE") agents during arrest. Individual representation includes deportation defense before the Immigration Court in the clinic's on-going cases (political asylum, cancellation of removal, U-Visas, etc) as well as intake and representation of persons seeking release from civil detention and relief from deportation. Through individual representation, students are exposed to all aspects of litigation including fact development, legal research and writing, witness preparation, oral arguments and direct and cross-examinations in court in a closely supervised setting. Students work on a range of legislative and advocacy projects that include collaborations with nationally recognized co-counsel, community organizations and the media. In order to prepare for the rigorous advocacy these cases require, students participate in intensive out of class simulation which consists of interviewing and counseling a client, preparing motions to the Immigration Court and arguing those motions in a Mock Hearing. At the same time that students are engaged in the simulations, they are also conducting intake and working on the Clinic's on-going cases.
Foreign Direct Investment International Moot Court: The Law School supports several moot competition teams, which allow students to hone their lawyering skills while working on international legal issues. Suffolk University Law School is a co-founder of the Foreign Direct Investment International Moot Competition ("FDI Moot") and selects a team of four students to participate each year, competing with other students from other law school around the world. While Suffolk hosted the first FDI Moot in Boston , the second competition was hosted by the German Arbitration Institute in Frankfurt , Germany . The Law School also supports a team of four students for participation in the well-known Jessup International Moot Competition, which takes place each year. The team travels to the Northeast Regional Competition, usually held in New York City . The international round of the Jessup Competition is held in Washington, D.C.
Summer Law Program in Lund: Study abroad is now an essential part of legal training and Suffolk University Law School has one of the most unique summer abroad law programs in the country. Suffolk University Law School and the University of Lund Law Faculty have worked together for the past eleven years to provide students with a quality academic and cultural experience. Students interact closely in the classroom with students and faculty both from the U.S. and from Sweden . It is this close interaction both in and outside the classroom that distinguishes the Suffolk University Law School summer abroad program from others. Students are presented with an opportunity not only to learn principles of substantive comparative and international law but also to immerse themselves in the educational, social and legal culture of Sweden a Member of the European Union. The city of Lund provides an idyllic setting for a summer program, retaining a medieval atmosphere while providing a community of 39,000 students and scholars with modern state of the art educational and social facilities. In southern Sweden, it is conveniently located on the fringe of Continental Europe only a short train ride from Copenhagen, Denmark.
International Internship Program: Suffolk's International Internship Program provides students the opportunity to participate in the legal work of international non-governmental organizations, international corporations, and law firms around the world. The Law School has an exclusive agreement with the Center for International Legal Studies (CILS), located in Salzburg, Austria, to offer Internships to Suffolk students, and to students from other law schools in the U.S. CILS has been placing interns in international law firms and organizations since 1976. The Law School is now CILS' institutional partner for administering the program and ensuring academic compliance in the US. Internships are available in Europe, the Americas, the Near East, Africa and Asia. International Internships are a unique opportunity for law students to acquire practical experience and exposure to the law of another jurisdiction during the summer for credit or not. The Law School also offers students opportunities to obtain international law related internships in the Boston area.
International Law Society: The Law School has a large and active student organization for students interested in international law and practice. The student Law Society organizes social events, conferences and career networking events. The membership of the Law Society has been growing over the last several years.
The LL.M. in Global Law and Technology in Boston
Technology is transforming the way lawyers think and work, and globalization is transforming the law itself. The LLM in Global Law and Technology at Suffolk University Law School is intended to provide international and U.S. law graduates with the practical expertise they will need for the practice of law in the 21st Century. Suffolk Law developed the first LL.M. program in 2002, which focused on technology and globalization generally. The program requires 24 credits, is full time or part time, and may be commenced in the fall or the spring. There are two required courses, one a seminar on global technology and the law, which is for all LL.M. degree candidates, and the other, a course on U.S. law and legal research and writing for international law students only. There are four tracks, Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law; Biomedicine and Health Law; International Law and Business; or U.S. Law and Legal Methods. Students may specialize in, or combine these tracks, or they may select from an even wider range of courses to develop their own academic program in order to meet their own professional needs. The degree program began in 2002 and has grown to a class size of about 40 students at any one time, mostly from abroad, but with a significant number of U.S. and Permanent Residents, and has graduated 145 LL.M.'s to date.