This winter, the Contemporary Challenges in American & Global Law web series continued with another exceptional slate of speakers. Initiated by Catholic Law Professor Emerita Leah Wortham and launched in partnership with Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, the series invited faculty and alumni experts from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss salient issues challenging the global legal system. As in the fall, the winter season comprised six, one-hour webinars on topics ranging from the effects of COVID-19 on commercial contracts to the future of sustainable investment. Programs discussed factual, legal, and policy considerations of interest to those in the field while providing sufficient background that attendees new to the area could follow the discussion and understand its significance.
To kick off the winter session, Vincenzo Senatore (LL.M. ’10), a partner in the London office of Giambrone & Partners, LLP, and Catholic Law Board of Visitors member Andrew Palmieri ’87, a partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr in Washington, D.C., led a discussion that posed the question, “Will COVID-19 be a Force Majeure Event in Commercial Contracts? A Civil and Common Law Analysis?” Throughout the course of the program, Senatore and Palmieri defined Force Majeure in the legal context and provided a comparative analysis of the concept within civil and common law. Senatore used four real-world examples to examine the differing ways that civil and common law principles approach contractual disputes to consider COVID-19 related disputes while Palmieri contrasted the U.S. approach.
The second event, held just a week after the Presidential Inauguration, turned to the timely topic of “International Law and the New Biden Administration.” Geoffrey P. Watson, Director of the Comparative and International Law Institute and retired Professor of Law, shared his thoughts on the Biden Administration’s approach to international law across ten key issues. Commentator dr hab. Izabela Kraśnicka (IBTSLP 1998), Faculty of Law at the University of Białystok in Poland, discussed European expectations regarding the new administration.
In February, the series continued its comparison of Europe and the US in public policy with, “European Union and the United States Budget Making: Process, Politics, and Policy in a COVID Challenged World.” Through the lens of a still pandemic stricken world, Katarzyna Stryjniak (LL.M. 2012), Legal and Policy Officer, European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation in Brussels, outlined the European Union’s (EU) budget-making process, procedures for adopting a budget, and the agreement the EU entered into at the start of the new year. Karen A. Tramontano ’82, Chief Executive Officer, Blue Star Strategies in Washington, D.C., focused on the contrast between the EU and the United States processes and response to current challenges.
As the web series moved into the second half of the winter session, speakers again used the pandemic to examine the legal world. In the fourth winter program, Heidi Mandanis Schooner, Professor of Law at Catholic Law, and Michal Bobrzyński (JU-CUA ALP 2005), Partner at Greenberg Traurig in Warsaw, Poland, asked, “How Well Did the Post-2008 Financial Crisis Regime Prepare the World for the Covid-19 Pandemic?” Schooner and Bobrzyński discussed the United States’ and Poland’s financial sectors as they face uncertainty regarding the scope of loss created by the pandemic.
The next program shifted to a more central focus on human rights. As a nationally recognized expert on the right to counsel, juvenile sentencing, and criminal justice reform, Cara H. Drinan, Professor and Director of Faculty Research at Catholic Law, led a discussion on, “The War on Kids: Progress and the Path Forward on Juvenile Justice.” Drinan outlined a brief history of juvenile justice, some recent reforms, and the path forward for the United States. Prof. dr hab. Włodzimierz Wróbel, Chair of Criminal Law, Jagiellonian University, and Polish Supreme Court Justice used his comments to clarify the significant differences between the two countries’ juvenile justice systems.
Concluding the winter series, Gaspar Kot (LL.M. 2012), who works for UBS in Kraków, Poland, and Chris Concannon ’94, President and Chief Operating Officer of MarketAxess, in New York City, New York, led a program entitled, “Sustainable Investment - The New Heart of EU Financial Market Regulation.” In his address, Kot defined sustainable investment and provided an understanding of the EU’s regulatory initiatives on promoting sustainable growth with a focus on environmental, social, and governance criteria. Concannon noted the impact the EU’s initiatives have on a global scale.
The webinars have led to wonderful conversations over the course of the year and engaged hundreds of participants from both Catholic Law and its partners at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. Professor Wortham is excited by the range of topics that the webinars have covered and equally excited for the final session. She shared, “Programs have spanned contemporary challenges in investment and financial markets, technology and data privacy, the pandemic’s commercial impact, changing approaches in the US and EU on international law and budget policy, and criminal law. The first three Spring Session webinars focus on human rights topics: combating gender-based violence, a comparison of the #MeToo and #Black Lives Matter movements, and looking at US retirement policy through the international human rights lens. The final program complements prior webinars related to investment fund regulation."
The Law School is pleased to announce the Spring Schedule below, which will begin on April 14, 2021. To register for the events, you may click on the event titles. You also may visit the Jagiellonian University series website to view previous programs and learn more about those that are upcoming.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021, 1:00 pm (EDT) (DC), 7 pm GMT+2 Poland)
Combating Gender-Based Violence: The Council of Europe Istanbul Convention Approach and the US Experience
Speaker: Katarzyna Wolska-Wrona (CUA LL.M. 2005), Chief Expert, European Affairs Committee, Prime Minister’s Chancellery, Republic of Poland
Commenter: The Honorable Diane Kiesel, (CUA JD 1985), Acting Supreme Court Justice, Supreme Court, New York County, Criminal Term, New York City, NY
Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 1 pm (EDT) (DC), 7 pm GMT+2 (Poland)
#MeToo and #Black Lives Matter: Conflicting Objectives or Opportunities for Advancement of Shared Priorities?
Speaker: Mary G. Leary, Professor of Law
Commenter: dr hab. Aleksandra Kustra-Rogatka (IBTSLP 2004), Faculty of Law, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Toruń, Poland
Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 1 pm (EDT) (DC), 7 pm GMT+2 (Poland)
Examining United States Retirement Savings Policy through the Lens of International Human Rights Principles
Speaker: Regina T. Jefferson, Professor of Law
Commenter: prof. UKSW dr hab. Elżbieta Karska, (IBTSLP 2000), Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law and Administration, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, Warsaw, Poland
Wednesday, June 2, 2021, 1 pm (EDT) (DC), 7 pm GMT+2 (Poland)
European and US Perspectives on Investment Fund Regulation
Speaker: Wictor Furman (CUA LL.M. 2009), Force Advokatbyrå, Stockholm, Sweden
Commenter: James V. Catano, (CUA JD 2011), Partner, Dechert, Washington, DC