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Program of Instruction

JULY 19 - AUGUST 7, 2009

American and European participants should plan to arrive in Shanghai by early afternoon of July 19, 2009, where they will travel by motor coach to Suzhou where the opening lectures and banquet will be held that evening. Students will be expected to remain in Suzhou through August 7, 2009. Further details concerning the program will be provided to admitted students in the spring of 2009.

Workshop in International Business
Transactions with Chinese Characteristics

In this program students will participate in a single, intensive, three week workshop course which emphasizes the development of some of the essential skills for transnational practice. Students will have the opportunity to work closely in teams of Chinese, European, and American law students to navigate a series of hypothetical transactions in which they will work together to represent the interests of a hypothetical Chinese, American, or European client. Through a series of simulated business interactions, the students will experience first-hand many of the same tasks that attorneys in the real world do in representing international business clients. This opportunity to actually participate in the stages of a business relationship gives students valuable insights to real world practice which are not available in a traditional, lecture style law course. Approximately one third of the time will be spent listening to lectures by many prestigious guest lecturers and professors, while two-thirds of the time will be devoted to working in groups on the hypothetical problems presented.

At the beginning of the course, the students will be assigned to their teams and presented with a description of the hypothetical company that they will represent throughout the three weeks. The students then must analyze how the relevant laws affect their company's business objectives and give a presentation to a mock board of directors explaining how best to pursue these objectives in China. As the course unfolds, the students will carry enact various stages of a business deal, including mock negotiations with another team of students representing another company and arguing their client's position regarding a commercial dispute.

This course is an interactive, participatory exercise, and is not meant to be a comprehensive course on the substantive law of international business transactions. Rather, the students will get hands-on experience with how the substantive commercial laws of China, Europe, and the United States come to life in real world business transactions. They will also gain an appreciation for the complexities of working through transnational business ventures with partners from different legal backgrounds, assisting them in identifying potential problem areas and in developing strategies for their resolution in the Chinese context.

It is important to emphasize that this not a doctrinal course in the various specific subject matters of international business transactions. No prior experience with the substantive laws of other countries is necessary. Sufficient legal subject matter will be provided through lectures, classroom discussions and reading assignments to enable each student to obtain enough proficiency in a subject matter to work on the hypothetical. The lectures in the first part of the course will survey basic concepts of Chinese law across the millennia so that Western students have some background in working with their Chinese counterparts. The areas of substantive law which students must address in representing their company will include contracts, business association, joint ventures, intellectual property, trade dispute mechanisms, and dispute resolution mechanisms.

American Bar Association Approval
Students enrolled through Cornell University School of Law will receive three semester hours’ credit for successful completion of the program. The program is fully accredited by the American Bar Association.

Cornell Law School’s International and
Comparative Law Program

The Summer Law Institute in Suzhou is an integral part of Cornell Law School's international and comparative law program. We invite you to visit our web site to explore what we offer on our home campus as well as our Paris Summer Institute – Read More