The Catholic University of America

Catalog Announcements 2013-14




Comparative and International Law Institute

The Comparative and International Law Institute is a certificate program designed to give students the opportunity to pursue a concentration of courses in the public and private areas of international law. Students are required to take at least five courses in international and comparative law, as well as complete an externship in an international law setting, such as a private firm or an international agency or organization. The externship, taken for either three or four credits, carries a mandatory classroom component titled Becoming a Lawyer or Becoming an International Lawyer, which must be taken concurrently with Legal Externship.

In planning a course of study in the institute, students must take Public International Law, one of either Comparative Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, or Law of the European Union, and one of either Comparative and International Trade, International Business Transactions, or International Economic Regulation. The two elective courses may be selected from the entire international law curriculum, which includes, but is not limited to, Immigration Law and Policy, International Human Rights Law, Human Trafficking Seminar, International Criminal Law, International Intellectual Property Law, International Development: Law and Policy, and Introduction to International Arbitration and Mediation. In addition, students who seek a broad grounding in issues that arise in an international practice are urged to consider courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques and Conflict of Laws. (ADR and Conflict of Laws satisfy the CILI elective requirement only if the courses are taught with an international component.) While it is not guaranteed that all these courses will be offered every academic year, most are taught on a regular basis. Institute students are encouraged to check the class schedule to determine what courses are being offered each semester and during the summer, and if there are special seminar courses being introduced into the curriculum. Students interested in writing on a particular aspect of international or comparative law may do so by enrolling in Directed Research.

Students interested in pursuing the certificate from the Comparative and International Law Institute are encouraged to apply separately to the program at the same time they apply to the J.D. program, but, in any case, no later than by the end of their third semester in law school, providing that space is available. For those applying concurrently with the J.D. program, institute applications will be considered only after applicants are admitted to the J.D. program.

For more information, visit or contact the director, Professor Rett R. Ludwikowski, or the Office of Institutes and Special Programs.


Institute for Communications Law Studies

The Institute for Communications Law Studies is a certificate program of academic concentration within the law school, designed to give specialized training to a select group of law students intending to practice in the field of communications law. In addition to the J.D. degree, students who successfully complete the institute's focused educational program and internships receive a certificate in Communications Law Studies.

For more than 25 years, the institute has offered specialized academic courses, numerous Washington internship opportunities (in federal agencies, on Capitol Hill, in corporate and trade association legal departments, and with top communications law firms), and a variety of special programs on and off campus featuring prominent communications law practitioners, scholars, industry executives, and distinguished institute alumni.

In fall 2010 the institute introduced a new, updated curriculum that not only provides students with a thorough grounding in communications law basics, but also enables them to tailor their studies to particular career pathways and areas of interest. Required basic courses include an introductory foundational course (Telecommunications Law, Policy, and Core Technologies), Administrative Law, and a final capstone seminar. To fulfill the remaining coursework requirements students must select: (i) one course from a menu of intellectual property electives (e.g., Introduction to Intellectual Property, Copyright Law, Patent Law, or Trademark Law); (ii) two courses from a menu of specialized upper-level communications courses (e.g., Cyberlaw, Entertainment Law, First Amendment Problems of the Mass Media, and/or New Telecommunications Technologies and the Law); and (iii) one course from a menu of related courses focused on business or public policy (e.g., Antitrust, Corporate Finance, Legislative Process, or National Security Law and Policy). Certificate candidates must also complete three internships with organizations outside the law school.

Although specialized instruction does not begin formally until the second year, students who have been admitted to the certificate program can begin participating in special activities and programs sponsored by the institute and the Communications Law Students Association during their first year of law school. Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply separately to the institute at the time they are applying for admission to the law school. Institute applicants will be considered once admitted to the J.D. program. Admission is granted on a rolling basis, and enrollment is limited. (Noninstitute students may take certain institute courses on a space-available basis.)

For more information, visit, or contact the program director, Professor Donna Gregg, or contact the Office of Institutes and Special Programs.

Law and Public Policy Program

The Law and Public Policy Program, established in 1984, is an academic certificate program for students interested in careers in the public policy arena. The program offers specialized courses and externships, opportunities for interdisciplinary study, academic counseling, and cocurricular activities designed to expose students to the public policy-making process, as well as training in the skills important to lawyers who participate in the development of law and policy in legislative, administrative, and judicial fora. Students in the program observe and participate in the practice of public policy law and study the lawmaking roles played by lawyers. LPP students also do extensive research and writing on public policy issues and engage in hands-on advocacy work.

Students should apply for admission to the LPP Program concurrently with their application to the law school. Students also have an opportunity to apply for admission to the program early in the fall semester if space is available. LPP students who successfully complete program requirements are eligible for a certificate in Law and Public Policy upon graduation.

Students pursuing certificates in Law and Public Policy must take the following courses: Administrative Law (three hours, second year, full time; third year, part time); Becoming a Public Policy Lawyer (two-hour seminar in conjunction with a two- or three-credit externship placement, fall of second year, full time; third year, part time); a course focusing on a particular area of public policy (two or three hours, spring of second year, full time; third year, part time); and the Public Policy Practicum (four-hour, year-long seminar in conjunction with a for-credit fieldwork placement, third year, full time; fourth year, part time).

During the spring of the first year for full-time students and by the spring of the second year for part-time students, each LPP student works with the director or a designated faculty member to design a tentative four-semester academic plan that will fulfill his or her educational and professional objectives. The LPP Program sponsors a speaker series called the Public Policy Forum. Attendance at these programs is an important part of the certificate program for LPP students. These events offer students the opportunity to engage in discussion of important public policy topics, meet policy makers, and learn about career pathways from lawyers engaged in public policy work.

For more information, visit or contact the Office of Institutes and Special Programs.


Securities Law Program

The program offers a certificate to be awarded to those students who successfully complete a rigorous set of course, internship, and grade requirements within the program. Students who satisfy the requirements will, in addition to the J.D. degree, receive a certificate from the Securities Law Program upon graduation.

Certificate requirements are multifaceted and include mandatory and elective course offerings, experiential learning, a research and writing component, academic counseling, attendance at securities speaker events at the school, a GPA performance requirement, and cocurricular and extracurricular activities designed to prepare students to respond to the challenges of a career in the field of corporate and securities law. Some will prefer to participate in the program without fulfilling all of the certificate requirements. This noncertificate concentration in the program remains an attractive alternative.

In order to obtain the certificate, students are required to take three mandatory courses: Corporations, Securities Regulation: Issuance, and Securities Regulation: Trading. Students may choose to fulfill the other course and externship requirements by selecting one of two options: (i) two of the upper-level elective securities regulation courses (the “light” standard course requirement) and two externships, at least one of which must be for three credits (see below); or, (ii) three of the following six identified upper-level elective securities regulation courses (the “heavy” standard course requirement) and one three-credit externship (see below). The six elective upper-level securities regulation courses are Securities Markets Regulation Seminar, Securities Regulation: Derivatives, Securities Regulation: Enforcement Procedures and Issues, Securities Regulation: Investment Company and Investment Advisers Act, Corporate Finance Seminar, and Securities Transactional Work in Securitization of Assets. In addition students would be required to take at least two of the following courses: Administrative Law, Advanced Issues in Corporate Law, Antitrust, Banking Law, Bankruptcy, Commercial Transactions, Corporate Tax, Financial Institutions Regulation, International Business Transactions, International Securities Regulation (Poland Summer Program), Legal Accounting, Unincorporated Business Organizations, and White Collar and Business Crimes.

Externships provide our students with opportunities to gain a mature understanding of the nature of the practice of corporate and securities law, develop contacts, and, at times, to obtain pre- and postgraduate employment. Networking opportunities with the growing number of securities law alumni, now at approximately 500, is facilitated by the law school’s location in the nation’s capital.

All students applying for the certificate must complete either a paper or portfolio program for one of the law school’s upper-level securities courses. (A paper or portfolio also satisfies a portion of the law school’s general writing requirement — see Announcements, Rule X.) Students may complete a two-credit Directed Research paper in a securities-related field (topic must be approved by the program director in order to ensure the paper will satisfy the writing component), submit for publication a securities regulation-related note or comment, or compete in the spring moot court competition and successfully complete the brief-writing portion of the competition (successful completion will be determined by the program director in consultation with the Securities Moot Court administrator[s]).

 As enhancements to the program, a number of cocurricular activities have been developed. These activities include a Securities Moot Court competition (in which CUA has often risen to the finals); an annual Securities Lecture Series that in the past two years included four SEC commissioners, directors and occasional cosponsored events with the D.C. Bar; leadership positions in the Securities Law Student Association (SLSA); and the alumni mentor-mentee social hours.

In order to maintain an active securities student body, certificate program candidates are expected to participate in the moot court competition (see writing component above), make contributions to the activities of SLSA, attend the securities lecture series, and attend the mentor-mentee activities. Each certificate applicant will be responsible for keeping a record of completion of the required cocurricular activities with the Office of Institutes and Special Programs.

To earn a certificate, students must achieve a specified grade point (approximately equal to the top half of the class) and must have an overall average in their securities and cocurricular courses that also places them in the top half of these courses. This rigorous standard is introduced into the certificate qualifications to ensure that students applying for and receiving the certificate are overall academically successful in law school.

As previously noted, those students who still want to focus on securities law but not with sufficient intensity to earn the certificate can still elect to concentrate in the Securities Law Program and may indicate such on their résumé.

For more information, visit; contact the director, Professor David A. Lipton; or contact the Office of Institutes and Special Programs.


Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion

Although not a certificate granting Institute, The Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion provides a framework for study, research, scholarly exchange, and public discussion of issues at the nexus of law and religion. Because these topics are multidisciplinary by nature, the program’s activities seek to advance both theoretical and applied knowledge of the field. Its practice-oriented programs center on the application of theory and multidisciplinary expertise in the litigation of religious liberty and equality claims; advocacy of religious perspectives in the legislative process; the legal representation of faith-based, nonprofit organizations; and the development of cutting-edge, multidisciplinary scholarship relevant to current public policy debates.

Each year, the program sponsors meetings, lectures, and publications designed to foster collaboration and exchange among faculty and law students, and within the university. Its symposia, conferences, and public policy colloquia extend that collaborative effort to students and scholars from other academic institutions and to a national and international network of policymakers, nongovernmental organizations, and attorneys who represent religious believers and faith-based organizations.

Students seeking a deeper understanding of theory and practice in the field of law and religion are invited to work with the program’s director to create an academic concentration offering specialized training in the theoretical and applied relationships among law, religion, and public policy. Students who elect to organize their studies in such a concentration will be prepared for the practice of law in the service of individuals and religiously affiliated, nonprofit institutions. They will develop the skills they need to participate as lawyers in public debate and litigation involving religious liberty and faith-based perspectives on the formation of social policy. In addition, they will gain a facility for reflection on questions arising under law and within the legal profession from a vantage enriched by ethical and theological perspectives.

Each student undertaking such a course of study will complete several prescribed courses, two or more program electives, and a semester of supervised fieldwork in one of a variety of approved field placements or externships. The director recommends that each student complete the sequence with a two-credit directed research project designed to integrate the lessons learned in course and fieldwork. The faculty adviser supervises the student's final directed research project. The faculty adviser also counsels students who are enrolled in the university’s J.D./M.A. joint degree programs involving canon law, philosophy, and theology.

For more information, visit or contact the director, Professor Robert A. Destro, or the Office of Institutes and Special Programs.


The Master of Laws (LL.M.) Degree Program

The Columbus School of Law offers its Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree program to graduates of U.S. and foreign law schools. In line with our Catholic mission, the Columbus School of Law instills in its students a quest for social justice and a profound duty to apply their legal knowledge and skills to the promotion of the common good. The LL.M. is an advanced program of legal study that is customized to the needs of the individual student. LL.M. candidates, mentored by expert faculty, plan a course of study from the following concentrations: Communications Law, Comparative and International Law or Securities Law. Through the law school's extensive curricular offerings, LL.M. candidates enhance their knowledge for practice by acquiring significant expertise in the area of specialization they have selected.

LL.M. Concentrations

Communications Law

The concentration in Communications Law provides special expertise in the regulation of the telecommunications industry, electronic mass media, wireless telecommunications services, and digital technologies; FCC practice and procedure; intellectual property transactions; copyright and patents; and First Amendment challenges for media. Faculty Coordinators: Professor Donna C. Gregg and Professor Susanna Fischer.

Comparative and International Law

The concentration in Comparative and International Law offers the student a program of study in comparative constitutional law, comparative legal history, comparative legal systems, comparative trade law, comparative military law, national security law, European law, maritime law, public international law, international trade law, international business transactions, international intellectual property law, international arbitration and mediation law, international civil litigation, international criminal law, international human rights law, international humanitarian law, and international environmental law. Given the breadth and depth of the law school's international curriculum, students may elect sub-concentrations in several areas. Faculty Coordinator: Professor Geoff Watson. 

Securities Law

The Securities Law concentration supplies the student with depth of background in a broad array of topics arising out of the law of securities regulation, including the regulation of issuance of securities, secondary trading of securities, market regulation, enforcement issues, corporate finance, investment companies and investment advisers, derivatives, and the regulation of financial institutions. Faculty Coordinator: Professor David A. Lipton.

Nonresident Master of Laws (LL.M.) Program with Jagiellonian University

Lawyers residing outside of the United States can earn an American LL.M. degree in our nonresident Master of Laws Program with Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland. The program is designed to provide lawyers educated outside the U.S. with a foundation in American law and the American legal system. Such studies are useful for lawyers representing American clients doing business abroad and lawyers who deal with American entities in other regards. The program is also useful for those with a scholarly interest in comparative law and lawyers interested in international dimensions of work with nonprofit organizations.