Global Law

Whether dealing with the regulation of securities markets, the suppression of cross-border crimes, or the resolution of family law disputes, law today is inescapably global. Given the pervasively transnational nature of legal problems in today’s world, legal professionals need to have a familiarity with the principles, sources, processes, and institutions of law that transcend the boundaries of a national legal system. For that reason the Notre Dame Law School faculty advises students to take at least one basic course in international law.

Some students, however, will come to Notre Dame specifically to take advantage of our distinctive strengths in international legal studies, or will discover in their time here an interest in acquiring deeper and broader expertise in this area beyond a basic course or two. With that in mind, and conscious of increasingly international dimension of the University’s mission, the Law School has been building on its existing strengths in international law.

Moreover, second- and third-year students at Notre Dame Law School may spend a semester or a full academic year studying in England through the Notre Dame London Law Programme, taking course and seminar work under American and English teachers.

Notre Dame Law School prepared the following Program of Study in Global Law to assist J.D. students in crafting a comprehensive educational package in international, foreign, and comparative law at Notre Dame. Following the program will help prepare a student to practice law in a wide array of transnational contexts, from multijurisdictional private practice to intergovernmental institutions of public law with both technical skill and a principled dedication to the universal common good.

Please explore the following sections:

Foundational Courses

The program typically begins with the introductory course in International Law, which ideally would be taken in the first year as a student’s spring semester elective or at the latest in the fall semester of the 2L year. 

Advanced Courses

Students following the Program of Study in Global Law should thereafter maintain a balanced curricular plan that draws from four different groups of courses.

One group of courses addresses areas pertaining principally to public international law and deals with classic problems and projects at the inter-state level.

These include, for example, International Law on the Use of ForceInternational Environmental Law, the Law of International OrganizationsInternational Humanitarian LawInternational Human Rights Law, and International Criminal Law.

In fact, the goal of the Program of Study in Global Law is precisely to help students integrate the various facets of international, foreign and comparative law into a balanced whole.

Another group consists of courses in areas predominantly concerned with the regulation of transnational economic activity, including International Business TransactionsInternational TradeInternational Commercial LawInternational Investment Law, and International Taxation.

A third group examines the mechanisms of international dispute resolution in greater depth. These include International Negotiation, Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation.

A fourth group of courses deals with foreign or comparative law, exposing students to the ways in which other national legal systems conceptualize the sources and principles of law, and how they structure their fundamental legal institutions and processes. These include, for example, Comparative Legal TraditionsComparative Constitutional Law, and EU Law.

Naturally, this categorization is not systematic, and many courses in the Notre Dame Law School curriculum cut across two or more of the categories; they cannot be considered more than a very general but fluid arrangement of subject areas. In fact, the goal of the Program of Study in Global Law is precisely to help students integrate the various facets of international, foreign and comparative law into a balanced whole. For that reason, it is also highly recommended that students who have arrived at a more advanced curricular level of study in the program seek courses that explicitly bring together several of the course groups and which can serve as a capstone to the entire Program of Study. Such courses might include, for example, Protection of Cultural HeritageTransnational Corporations and Human Rights, or Law and Human Development.

Finally, students wishing to follow this program of study are strongly encouraged to satisfy their upper-level writing requirement by undertaking to research and write a paper on an international, foreign or comparative law topic, either in connection with a course or as a directed reading or journal note. 

Other Resources


The University of Notre Dame is home to an impressive array of scholars and courses in international studies beyond those at the Law School. Participants in the Program of Study in Global Law therefore are encouraged to attend lectures and conferences at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and to cross-register for courses in the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Mendoza College of Business, and the College of Arts and Letters.


Students pursuing the Program of Study in Global Law should consider spending a summer, semester or year studying abroad, in order to enrich their curricular selections and to broaden their global perspectives. As already noted, a principal opportunity is the Notre Dame London Law Programme, which offers a variety of courses in international, foreign, and comparative law often not available on the South Bend campus. The Law School also has student exchange programs with leading law schools in Beijing, Dublin, Lucerne, Milan, and Santiago.


A student pursuing the Program of Study in Global Law has a variety of different opportunities at Notre Dame Law School to gain more practical and applied experience in the field outside of the classroom. The Jessup International Moot Court Competition provides one way to gain research, writing and oral advocacy training, for example. The International Law Student Association and International Human Rights Society sponsor speakers, symposia, and publishing opportunities.

Core Faculty

The following Notre Dame Law School faculty members, whose teaching and research are almost entirely encompassed within the areas of international, foreign, and comparative legal studies, form the core faculty of the Program of Study in Global Law.

Roger Alford
Professor of Law

Paolo G. Carozza
Professor of Law
Director, Kellogg Institute for International Studies
Director, Center for Civil and Human Rights

Diane Desierto
Professor of Law and Global Affairs
Faculty Director, LL.M. in International Human Rights Law

Paul B. Miller
Associate Dean for International and Graduate Programs
Professor of Law

Mary Ellen O’Connell
Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law 
Research Professor of International Dispute Resolution — Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies

Affiliated Faculty

In addition, a significant number of other Notre Dame Law School faculty are engaged in teaching or research that is of importance to students pursuing international, foreign, and comparative legal studies:

Michael Addo
Director, Notre Dame London Law Programme

Patricia L. Bellia
William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Professor of Law

Richard W. Garnett
Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor
Concurrent Professor of Political Science

Jimmy Gurulé
Professor of Law

Michael Kirsch
Professor of Law

O. Carter Snead
Professor of Law

Avishalom Tor
Professor of Law

Christine Venter
Director, Legal Writing Program