Teaching FCIL

Teaching Foreign, Comparative and International Legal Research

The Teaching Foreign, Comparative, and International Legal Research IG is open to anyone teaching in or interested in teaching the subject. We traditionally meet at the AALL to share our experiences. All are welcome! We encourage you to join the FCIL-SIS Teaching Foreign, Comparative and International Legal Research IG Discussion Group in MyCommunities and become part of our ongoing conversation. If you are unable to attend the annual meeting or if you have any questions about this group, you may also reach out to the interest group chair for additional information.

Thinking about proposing an FCIL class of your own?  Learn how some of our colleagues have developed their own FCIL classes in the February 2015 issue of the FCIL Newsletter, and check out our compilation of course descriptions below:

Florida State University – International and Foreign Legal Research

  • This course will introduce students to basic concepts, sources and specialized tools used in foreign and international legal research. The aim of the course is to provide students the basic knowledge and skills necessary to conduct competent international and foreign legal research. Students will spend a significant portion of class time evaluating print and online resources, formulating research strategies and identifying and locating primary and secondary sources of law. Topics will include online research strategies, foreign legal systems, treaties, customary law, international case law as well as the United Nations and the European Union.   To make the best use of this experiential learning approach, students will prepare for class by viewing recorded lectures, following online tutorials, and reading assigned materials. Students will be evaluated on weekly research problems, in-class participation, midterm memo, and a final take-home exam. (2 credits). Taught by Margaret Clark.

Fordham University School of Law – International/Foreign Legal Research Workshop

  • This course aims to provide students with the basic foundation to research international, comparative and foreign law competently. It addresses relevant methods and sources, both print and electronic. It covers research on specialized areas such as international trade, international business transactions, international litigation and arbitration, the United Nations, the European Union and selected foreign jurisdictions. As a final project, students will prepare a pathfinder on an international, foreign or comparative law topic. (2 credits, graded).  Taught by Victor Essien and Alison Shea

Fordham University School of Law – International Humanitarian Law Research

  • This course aims to provide students with the basic foundation to research international humanitarian law. It addresses relevant methods and sources, both print and electronic. The course will cover, among other topics, the following: the nature and sources of international law; the nature and scope of international human rights and humanitarian law; the reporting and monitoring mechanisms under the U.N. human rights bodies, charter-based and treaty-based; regional human rights systems (e. g. the European, Inter-American & African); travaux-preparatoires of human rights and humanitarian law instruments; the jurisprudence of human rights organizations; and asylum and refugee law. (2 credits, graded).  Taught by Victor Essien.

Georgia State University College of Law – International and Foreign Legal Research

  • This course will provide an overview of international and foreign legal research. Students will receive a solid grounding in the practical skills and knowledge required for research in these areas. Foreign legal systems, international treaties, intergovernmental organizations and other related topics will be addressed. Theoretical principles — such as developing cost-and time-efficient research strategies — will also be covered. Electronic resources will be the primary focus of the class, though students will learn about, use and evaluate print resources as well. Students will be evaluated based on legal research assignments, in-class presentations and a take-home exam which tests their understanding of research tools and ability to perform foreign and international legal research tasks. (2 credits).  Taught by Deborah Schander.

University of Hawaii School of Law – Foreign and International Law Research

  • This course teaches how to research legal issues in foreign jurisdictions and on the international plane.  It is especially useful for students who are writing a note or paper on a foreign legal system or a public international law topic.  This course will teach you how to use the library system at UH to conduct foreign and international law research.  It will also focus on the use of proprietary databases and open access resources to complete your research.  This course is taught primarily online via video lecture, CALI lessons and course discussion boards but will meet in person for five classes.  The first half of the course focuses on different types of legal systems and the important sources of law for them.  You will be required to make a 15 to 20 minute oral presentation on a legal system in a country of your choice.  The second half of class will focus on the basics of public international law research.  You will be required to create a web-based research guide on an international law topic of your choice.  It is recommended that you have already taken or are simultaneously taking the basic International Law course. (2 credits).  Taught by Victoria Szymczak.

University of Pennsylvania School of Law – Research in Foreign and International Law

  • This course will familiarize students with the basic sources in international law and the national law of key foreign jurisdictions, and help students develop the necessary skills to efficiently research transnational legal questions.  Students will learn how to find international treaties, decisions of international tribunals, United Nations and European Union documents, and legislation and court decisions of selected common law and civil law countries. International trade, human rights and foreign constitutional, environmental, intellectual property and tax law research will also be singled out for special attention. As much as possible, the emphasis will be on English language materials and reliable online sources for foreign and international law.  Taught by Gabriela Femenia.

University of San Francisco School of Law – International Advocacy & Research

  • Students learn international law research skills and apply them in preparing memoranda, and other advocacy materials for international dispute resolution and policy advocacy. Substantive law is paired with research, litigation and advocacy to illustrate how to build compelling arguments in a high stakes environment. Students will develop both written and oral skills within the legal framework of advocating in court or an international agency. These skills will apply to a more generalized practice of law, as well as a practice that relies on international law knowledge. Satisfies the professional skills course requirement. (2 credits, pass/fail).  Taught by Lee Ryan.