Center for International and Comparative Law

The St. John’s Center for International and Comparative Law (CICL) promotes the study of international and foreign legal systems as a means for addressing pressing global problems. The Center is a place where students, scholars and practicing lawyers come together to address how globalization affects the practice of law, and how the law can be deployed to address emerging global challenges. Through the broad range of curricular offerings, study abroad programs offered by the Office of Transnational Programs, experiential learning opportunities, and the participation of students in scholarly work, the Center helps prepare students for practice in a globalizing legal profession, using litigation, transactional, and regulatory advisory skills. 

To learn more about the St. John’s Center for International and Comparative Law and our diverse initiatives, please contact us.

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Our Curriculum

Spurred by globalization, the scope of international law has expanded with the proliferation of international tribunals, bilateral investment treaties, international environmental rules, as well as the increasing vitalization of human rights law. This internationalization of law in turn has led to a similar internationalization of the legal profession. Lawyers assist clients who come from, work in, and engage in activities in jurisdictions throughout the globe. Clients purchase goods from foreign suppliers, execute cross-border mergers, litigate before foreign and international courts and arbitral tribunals, and pursue international human rights and environmental claims before domestic, foreign and international courts and agencies. Studying international and comparative law is a way to prepare for practice in a world in which national borders have become far less significant than in an earlier era and in which knowledge of U.S. law alone will no longer suffice.

Any legal specialty becomes an international practice when multiple national jurisdictions apply to a problem. Any legal counselor becomes an international legal counselor when the organization she represents engages in international activities. Criminal law, civil litigation, corporate transactions, real estate financing, labor and employment law, and family law are some examples of practice areas where knowledge and experience of international and foreign law are helpful tools in a lawyer’s repertoire. In addition, new lawyers with interest in international law and issues of globalization can embark on a career path with the government, such as the U.S. military Judge Advocate General (JAG) program, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or clerkships on the U.S. Court of International Trade. In addition to working as a lawyer, legal training can be useful preparation for work as a policy analyst in a state or federal agency such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Further, the United Nations and its affiliated agencies offer opportunities for legal and policy work on issues of peace, security, international development and human rights.

Students interested in international legal practice at St. John's can choose classes in four pathways: Cross-Border Transactions and International Business Counseling, International Dispute Resolution and Litigation, National Security and International Law Enforcement, and Public International Law and Human Rights.

Contact Us

Christopher J. Borgen
Co-Director, St. John’s Center for International and Comparative Law
Professor of Law
St. John’s School of Law
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439
718-990-1982
[email protected]

Margaret E. (Peggy) McGuinness
Co-Director, St. John’s Center for International and Comparative Law
Director, LLM in Transnational Legal Practice
Professor of Law
St. John’s School of Law
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439
718-990-8018
[email protected]

 

To support the Center and its initiatives, please visit the Law School's online giving page or contact the Office of Alumni Relations and Development at [email protected] or 718-990-5792.

Learn More

The St. John’s Center for International and Comparative Law sponsors a variety of programs and events throughout the academic year.

Recurring events open to St. John’s students and alumni:

Global Issues Series
The Global Issues Series brings international and comparative law scholars, practitioners, and others to the St. John’s campus to present their work and engage in discussion with faculty and students. Recent speakers include Andrew Davis, the head of the delegation of the government of Catalonia to the United States, to discuss Catalonia, Self-Determination, and the Future of the European Union; and Hassan Jallow, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, to discuss contemporary issues of international criminal law and the search for international justice. 

Student Fellows Program
Rising 2L and 3L students who have a demonstrated interest in international and comparative law are eligible for the student fellowship program. Student fellows work closely with professors on research projects and have the opportunity to be published.  They lead teams of students on Pro Bono for International Justice projects. They also assist in preparing Center events, such as the Global Issues Series and the annual symposia.

Academic Symposia
The Center hosts symposia where scholars and practitioners from around the world gather to discuss emerging global issues. The proceedings are published in the New York International Law Review. Recent symposia were: “Challenges to International Law, Challenges from International Law” (2011); “Drones and Transnational Armed Conflict” (2012); “Cyberconflict: Threats, Responses and the Role of Law” (2013); “The Challenges of International Human Trafficking: Domestic Counter Trafficking Programs” (2014); and “International Religious Freedom and the Global Clash of Values” (2014).

Academic Journals
The Center oversees the publication of the New York International Law Review(NYILR). The NYILR is the publication of the International Law Section of the New York State Bar Association.

International Programs
The International Law Students Association (ILSA) and the Multilingual Legal Advocates (MLA) are among the student organizations whose activities coordinate with the CICL to introduce students to opportunities in international practice. Our successful Vis International Arbitration Moot and Jessup Moot Court teams give students the opportunity to practice international law skills and advocacy in global competitions with other law students.

International Internships
The Center takes a hands-on approach to assisting students with securing summer internships in the field of international law. Over the past few summers, rising 2L and 3L students have secured internships at the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, UNICEF-Somalia, and the Court of International Trade.

Field Notes
Our Field Notes blog tracks our students working abroad and working in international law.  In addition to international internships, Field Notes covers our students involved with the Office of Transnational Programs, including the NATO Practicum, International Practicum, Academic Exchange, and Dean's Travel Program.  

CICL Pathways Program
The CICL Pathways Program, an invitation-only group, provides 1L students with a clear path for a career in international legal practice.  Students prepare for a career in international legal practice, while at the same time focusing on their 1L coursework.

Please contact us for more information about the Center's programs and offerings.