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Recommended Course Schedule for the LL.M. with a Concentration in International Commercial Arbitration

The LL.M. with a concentration in International Commercial Arbitration is a 28 unit program offered to those who possess a law degree. The program schedule for Fall 2013/Spring 2014 academic year is:

Fall 2013

  • International Commercial Arbitration Theory and Doctrine – taught by Tom Stipanowich
  • International Commercial Arbitration Procedure and Practice – taught by Jack Coe with Distinguished Guest Practitioner Steve Smith
  • Ethical Considerations in International Commercial Arbitration – taught by Jack Coe with Distinguished Guest Practitioner Catherine Rogers
  • Introduction to US Law*
  • Capstone Mock Arbitration – taught by Eric van Ginkel
  • Elective #1
  • Elective #2

Winter Intensive 2014

Negotiation Theory and Practice – taught by Jasper Kim

Spring 2014

  • International Commercial Arbitration and the National Courts – taught by Jack Coe with Distinguished Guest Practitioner Linda Silberman
  • International Investment Disputes – taught by Jack Coe with Distinguished Guest Practitioners John R Crook, Margrete Stevens and Lucy Reed.
  • Mediation Theory and Practice – taught by Peter Robinson
  • Elective #3
  • Elective #4
  • Elective #5

*Note: Introduction to US Law would be waived for any student who has completed or is completing more than ten units of US substantive law courses, which is often required to sit for a bar exam in the US. Thus international students sitting for the California Bar exam would complete 16 units of required courses listed above and 12 units of substantive law courses as required by the California Bar.

Course Descriptions:

International Commercial Arbitration Theory and Doctrine
This course is a study of foundational principles, assumptions and debates associated with international commercial arbitration. On a comparative basis, the course examines sources of law and guidance including national legislation, treaties, institutional rules and soft law texts. The course will also explore common precepts of international importance such as party autonomy, the efficacy of international arbitral agreements and awards, the role of the arbitral seat, the severability of the arbitration clause, jurisdictional competence of the arbitral tribunal, and the independence and impartiality of arbitrators.

International Commercial Arbitration Practice and Procedure
This course studies prevailing procedural models common to international commercial arbitration in light of common law and civil law traditions, the role of institutions, party autonomy and emerging best practices. Students consider both pre-dispute planning and post-dispute strategies for ensuring effective proceedings that will lead to enforceable awards. The course stresses the critically important interplay among counsel, the arbitrators, arbitral institutions and the courts. Students also are introduced to the rudiments of successful advocacy.  This class will feature a special capstone guest lecturer on November 2.

Ethical Considerations in International Commercial Arbitration
This course explores the ethical considerations affecting the work of arbitrators, counsel and experts in international arbitration. Issues will include the arbitrator obligations of independence and impartiality, conflicts of law problems facing counsel in transnational arbitration, practice restrictions governing the work of arbitrators and counsel in international arbitration and texts bearing on the unification of ethical standards.  This class will feature a special capstone guest lecturer on November 16.

Introduction to US Law
A study of distinctive features of the United States legal system designed for graduates of non-U.S. law schools. The course examines U.S. constitutional structure, doctrines delineating the respective roles of the state and federal systems, prominent legal institutions, sources of law and the common law method. Distinctive elements of American legal practice will also be considered.

Capstone Mock Arbitration
In the context of one of the several organized international arbitration competitions, such as the VIS Arbitration Moot, students will be required to prepare both oral and written submissions and to perform as counsel, (and as arbitrators and experts in practice rounds) at a hearing on the merits or similar event occurring in a complex international arbitration. Case studies and briefing deadlines will be supplied by the competition organizers.

Negotiation Theory and Practice
This course examines the theory and practice of negotiation as a process used to put deals together or to resolve disputes and legal claims. Students learn about competitive positional bargaining and collaborative problem solving and acquire insight into the strategic management of the tension between the two approaches. Through simulated exercises, students develop skills and confidence as negotiators, including an awareness of the psychological encouragements and barriers to consensus. Special challenges of multiparty negotiations are addressed with an emphasis on the attorney-client relationship, including applicable ethical standards, codes, and law.

International Commercial Arbitration and the National Courts
This course studies the complementary and sometimes antagonistic role of national courts in the international arbitration process in light of treaty mandates, internationally recognized jurisdictional limits, arbitral legislation and case law doctrine. A principal focus is on comparing court decisions in the United States with decisions from various other jurisdictions.  This class will feature a special capstone guest lecturer on January 18.

International Investment Disputes
This course addresses the treaty-based systems established to allow foreign direct investors and host states to arbitrate disputes arising from alleged breaches of international law. In addition to examining the major treaties affecting the field, the course will survey the many important doctrines bearing on tribunal jurisdictions, claim admissibility, and the enforcement of awards against a state. Matters of process design will also be considered.  This class will feature a special capstone guest lecturer on March 1.

Mediation Theory and Practice
This course explores the various theories underlying and practices basic to mediation. The mediation process is organized into a series of stages, and basic mediation skills and techniques appropriate to each stage are identified and cultivated. Simulations and experiential exercises provide students with an opportunity to develop proficiency as mediators and to rigorously analyze appropriate roles and behavior as mediators and advocates taking into account the legal, ethical and public policy issues surrounding the practice of mediation.