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Spring 2014
5246 International Litigation - SHEPPARD- 17145

Professor(s): Ben Sheppard (DEPARTED)

Credits: 2

Course Areas: International Law 

Time: 4:00p-6:00p  M  Location: BLB-213 

Ben H. Sheppard, Jr.

We live with a global economy. The daily volume of transnational, cross-border trade now exceeds the total volume of such trade through the end of the nineteenth century. Every lawyer in the modern era will deal frequently with international transactions. And every lawyer,whether practicing purely in the transactional, advisory context or as a trail lawyer,will need to know the fundamentals of what we refer to broadly as "International Litigation" in order to properly advise and represent clients.

For example, what is the extent to which a foreign company can do business in the United States without subjecting itself to the risk of litigation? Given the increasing number of products and services being manufactured or marketed by instrumentalities of foreign governments, how should other companies contract with them and to what extent and on what terms may such instrumentalities be subjected to the jurisdiction of United States courts? What are the procedures for obtaining service of process over defendants located in other countries and how can evidence be taken in other countries for use in the courts of another country? How does the United States litigation system, with jury trials, elected state court judges and broad pre-trial discovery procedures differ from those in most other parts of the world? What are the standards and procedures for the enforcement of foreign judgments both here and abroad? What is the efficacy of "forum selection clauses" whereby parties designate in their contract a forum for the resolution of any future disputes and should international contracts include such clauses?

The course will address these and many other important subjects, including:

Suits against foreign defendants in United States courts,constitutional limits on the assertion of personal jurisdiction over foreign defendants, piercing the corporate veil to establish jurisdiction, the potential perils to foreign business executives traveling in the United States who may unwittingly subject their company to jurisdiction (the concept of "gothcha" jurisdiction).

Suits by foreign plaintiffs,analysis of why the United States is a magnet for foreign plaintiffs and circumstances under which a court should dismiss a case under forum non-conveniens.

Foreign sovereign immunity,drafting considerations in contracts when dealing with foreign states or their instrumentalities, meaning of "foreign state" and "commercial activity" and an overview of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Recognition and enforcement of judgments,examination of the standards here and abroad for recognition of foreign judgments, analysis of the Uniform Foreign Money-Judgments Recognition Act, and detailed analysis of the strategic considerations for the defendant fact with a suit file abroad.

An introduction to the increasing important topic of international arbitration, including an analysis of the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the "New York Convention"), an international treaty ratified by more than 130 nations providing both for the enforcement of agreements to arbitrate and for the recognition and enforcement by national courts of foreign arbitral awards.

The course will not only involve an in-depth analysis of the substantive law, but will also involve throughout close attention to the practical, strategic considerations that are critical to the effective representation of clients.

Ben H. Sheppard, Jr. is a Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the A. A. White Dispute Resolution Center. Prior to his retirement, he was a partner at Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. in Houston, where he practiced from 1960-2005, and was co-chair of the firm's international dispute resolution practice.

Course Syllabus: Syllabus

Course Notes:   2012 Supplement


First Day Assignments: Russell J. Weintraub, Chapter 1, Section 1.

Final Exam Schedule: 05/05 4-6pm  144 TU2    

This course will have:

Satisfies Skills Course Requirement: No
Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: No

Experiential Course Type:

Bar Course: