A one year full time course of study designed primarily for lawyers trained ouside the U.S., the Master of Laws in International Trade and Business Law (LLM) offered by the James E. Rogers College of Law of the University of Arizona, in cooperation with the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade, (photo below) is designed to provide candidates with the theoretical and practical knowledge required to understand current developments in the areas of international trade and commercial law.
The implementation of the World Trade Organization Agreements, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the "Mercosur" common market, the negotiations aimed at the establishment of a "Free Trade Area of the Americas," the negotiation and conclusion of numerous regional trade agreements by the United States and other nations, and a significant increase in investor state disputes, have produced a complex web of international agreements, rules, regulations and international arbitral decisions. Under these circumstances, there is a clear need for rigorous graduate-level legal education in the area of international trade law, international commercial law and international investment which this program seeks to meet.
LLM candidates at The University of Arizona, as in most American LLM programs, complete a minimum of 26 credit hours for the degree. Foreign students also complete a two-unit Introduction to American Law, and a special course devoted to U.S. research and writing techniques. Most of the curriculum consists of "core" courses in International Trade and Business Law, International Commercial Law, and instruction in related areas such as Investment Law, European Union Law, Commercial (UCC) Law, Corporate Law, Administrative Law, Antitrust Law, Securities Law, and/or Domestic and International Environmental Law.
However, because the LLM degree at Arizona is a research as well as a professional degree, all LLM candidates will complete a substantial paper (thesis) requiring extensive legal research and analysis. Frequently, the research is accomplished in conjunction with the National Law Center, a research and training institution directed by College of Law Professor Boris Kozolchyk. Topics are selected by the LLM candidates with the advice of Professors Kozolchyk and Gantz or other faculty members, and may focus on any area of interest within the broad context of international trade and commercial law, or in related areas.
Recent research projects include the development of an electronic commercial registry; comparison of and suggestions for harmonization of banking law; transportation documentation; environmental legislation; customs law and procedures; common rules for recognition of judgments; dispute settlement at the WTO and under NAFTA Chapter 11; industrial incentives legislation in Central America; and comparative real estate law, but this is by no means an exhaustive list. The Center's methodology contemplates analysis of the various laws and regulations as written, the "living law"–how the law operates in practice–consultation with government and private practitioners as to what changes are needed, and drafting of recommendations, new legislation, regulations or uniform rules. Other dissertations have taken a more theoretical approach.
It is our expectation that graduates of the program will be well-prepared for future careers in private practice, law teaching, and/or government service.
The program's LLM classes have been diverse. Students have included citizens of Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Costa Rica, China, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, the Congo, El Salvador, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, the Philippines, Paraguay, Russia, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Taiwan, Cameroon, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Uzbekistan, the United States, Uruguay and Vietnam.
Graduates have been employed in such law firms as Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Baker and Mckenzie, Snell and Wilmer, Gonzalez, Baz; corporations such as Tubos de Acero, S.A. and Motorola; the Mexican Securities and Exchange Commission; the WTO Secretariat; and other legal positions in many countries. A number are teaching in Universities and law schools. Student ages have ranged from 22 to over 50. Applications for admission to the program are welcomed from graduates of ABA-approved law schools in the United States, and from foreign law faculties recognized, approved or accredited in their home countries.
The LLM Program has received generous financial support from James E. Rogers, a member of The University of Arizona College of Law class of 1962, for which the College of Law is named.