International Law

Virtually every important area of legal practice involves an international dimension – commerce, corporations, telecommunications, trade, tax, investments, finance, intellectual property, product liability, environmental, crimes, constitutions, and human rights. Increasing globalization has enhanced the speed that products and information flow around the world. Events in one country quickly affect circumstances in other countries, whether they are ecological disasters or trade disputes. Law is also important in facilitating the relationship between countries, transactions across national boundaries, and the immigration of people to homes in new countries.

Even general practitioners need to understand when an international legal question arises. Actions in purely local disputes may require taking evidence abroad, enforcing a local judgment in a foreign jurisdiction, or enforcing a foreign judgment in a domestic court.


There are a number of entry points for those with an interest in international legal issues. Students interested in international business should begin with International Business Transactions, an introductory course that surveys the law applicable to the wide variety of international transactions.  Students interested in the law that governs the relations between states or the international rules that regulate the state control of individuals might begin with Public International Law or the Human Rights Seminar. Students specifically interested in immigration issues can take Immigration Law and Policy.

More advanced courses supplement these introductory offerings. In most cases, though, one need not take the introductory international course to take the advanced one. This is because the advanced international courses often attract students whose basic interest stems from a particular domestic law subject. For example, one might come to the course on International Tax based on an initial interest in tax and not from a background in international business. The same is true of International Intellectual Property Law. Professors may also offer research seminars on advanced problems in international law for in-depth directed research in a small group. Individual research projects may be arranged with professors for those with special interests.

  • Conflict of Laws
  • Crimmigration
  • Human Rights Seminar
  • Immigration Law and Policy
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Commercial Arbitration
  • International Criminal Law
  • International Environmental Law
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • International Tax
  • International Trade (fall short course)
  • Practical Applications of Immigration Law Topics
  • Public International Law


UC Law offers many opportunities for students to complement their classroom knowledge and build skills in international law and international human rights.

For over three decades, the Urban Morgan Institute (UMI) has educated and trained human rights lawyers to promote and protect human rights in the international arena. The UMI serves as a model for many other human rights programs and emphasizes three areas: teaching, research, and service.

Since the founding of the Urban Morgan Institute, Arthur Russell Morgan fellowships have been offered to outstanding students who demonstrate a commitment to international human rights. Another vital component of the UMI is the summer externship program. After the first year, law students interested in international law and human rights are given the opportunity to gain invaluable hands-on experience by spending the summer working with human rights organizations, international judges, governmental agencies, or UN bodies.

At the core of the Institute’s success is the Human Rights Quarterly, recognized as the leading academic journal in the human rights field. The Quarterly covers the range of human rights issues encompassed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Published by The Johns Hopkins Press, the Human Rights Quarterly is edited by UC Law students overseen by Professor Bert Lockwood, Editor-in-Chief and Director of the Institute.

Cincinnati Law also offers two other journal opportunities that routinely address matters related to international law and human rights. The Immigration and Human Rights Law Review is an internationally recognized annual law journal and one of only two major student-edited American law journals focusing on the increasingly important field of immigration law. The Freedom Center Journal is a scholarly publication published jointly with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center that explores legacies of historic struggles for freedom in order to provide a better understanding of ongoing forms of subordination and to craft strategies for social change.


Students who develop a more specialized background in international law will be well positioned for professional practice. The types of practice settings vary widely. Lawyers with a keen interest and knowledge in international law could counsel international corporate clients, provide guidance to individuals and families on immigration matters, advise high net-worth individuals on issues related to international tax law, or monitor legislative developments.

Attorneys work for international corporations and financial institutions, law firms, and other organizations around the world, including the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and the International Criminal Court. You also will find attorneys working on international issues in many U.S. Government agencies, including the Department of State, the Department of Commerce, and the Environment Protection Agency.