- in Plano, Texas, USA
The Center for American and International Law
5201 Democracy Drive
Plano, Texas 75024
The Institute's premier annual event is the Academy of American and International Law. Since 1963, this multi-week program has attracted participants from 120 countries. Through its extraordinary classroom and extracurricular schedule, the Academy offers opportunities to forge valuable international relationships that last a lifetime.
This intensive, six-week course of study is designed for lawyers from outside the United States and focuses on U.S. law and international business transactions. Participants from more than 20 countries study and socialize together, learning from each other. They receive instruction from some of the best teachers of international law from U.S. law schools and corporations.
The practical curriculum includes both skills training and substantive law subjects (legal writing, negotiations, mediation, international arbitration and litigation, contracts, international business transactions, project finance, mergers and acquisitions, and more).
Download the Catalog (pdf)For more details, download the online catalog.
Who should attend?
The Academy is particularly valuable for non-U.S. lawyers who work for multi-national corporations or for law firms that represent either U.S. clients or multi-national clients with U.S. interests. It is not intended for the highly experienced international lawyer.
In 2012, the Academy hosted 68 participants from 30 nations. The 49 annual Academies have attracted participants from 120 countries, including attorneys, judges, law professors, and government officials.
Associate members of the Southwestern Institute for International and Comparative Law may send a person to the six-week Academy for a tuition cost of just $1,500.
Participation in the six-week course is available for a tuition cost of $2,500 for members of the Southwestern Institute for International and Comparative Law.
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Courses of Study
- An Introduction to the U.S. Legal System – This course examines the pillars of the U.S. legal system with a special focus on the Constitution, the role of and the relationship between the federal courts and state courts, federalism, and the common law. The differences between common law and civil law jurisdictions are also considered. The structure of the U.S. legal system and the role of the system's various actors are identified and analyzed. Consideration is also given to legal reasoning and the manner in which U.S. courts apply legal precedent.
- Business Organizations - This course explores major forms of business organizations, including multinational enterprises, their advantages and disadvantages, tax implications, general procedures for formation, financing, control, operation, and dissolution; and provides an overview of laws regulating business enterprises, including state, federal, and international regulatory agencies. We also discuss securities regulation, stock markets, and trading.
- Constitutional Law of the U.S. - This course touches on the doctrine of constitutional supremacy and judicial review; the doctrine of separation of powers, including discussion of the organization, functioning, and powers of the three branches of the federal government; relationships between federal and state governments; interstate commerce; due process of law; substantive civil and political rights.
- Contract Law - This course provides an introduction to the case and statute law of contract in the United States, including some comparison with doctrinal concepts and classifications in civil law countries; discussion of the relationship of contract and tort law in areas such as products liability, and survey of basic problems of drafting contracts in a foreign legal language.
- Employment Law - This course discusses the legal regulation of work and the workplace in a union and non-union environment. It touchyes on employee rights against unjust dismissal, invasion of privacy, and government regulations of the workplace. ntellectual Property Law – This course provides an overview of intellectual property law, including basic principles of patent copyright, trademark, and trade secret protection.
- International Business Transactions - This course provides an examination of the principal forms of transacting international business, including international sales contracts, distributorships and representation agreements, technology transfers, direct foreign investments, and joint ventures. The course considers the international, national, and contractual legal aspects of these types of transactions, including such matters as relevant treaties, applicable national laws and regulations, international payment methods, currency clauses, dispute settlement, sovereign immunity, and options for structuring the transactions themselves.
- International Commercial Arbitration - In-house counsel and outside firms that counsel multinational enterprises cannot afford to overlook the risks presented by disputes for which the parties have not properly planned. Such disputes are costly, time-consuming, and can divert management from the company's core activities. In the international realm, arbitration is the preferred method of dispute resolution. A properly crafted arbitration clause can keep businesses out of foreign courts, can ensure that expert decision-makers will be entrusted with any disputes that arise, and can produce results that are globally enforceable. This course considers the principal doctrines, sources of law, procedural features, and drafting techniques that promote successful international arbitrations.
- International Insolvency - This course provides an overview of the principles of bankruptcy and reorganization law, as applied to multinational corporations and other entities operating across national borders.
- International Litigation in U.S. Courts - This course provides an introduction to conflicts of law principles (private international law) followed by U.S. courts, including discussion of the following: jurisdiction to prescribe applicable law; jurisdiction to adjudicate jurisdiction over the subject matter and over the parties judicial abstention doctrines, such as forum non conveniens and the Act of State Doctrine; application of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act; recognition of foreign judgments; and the application in the United States of international conventions on service of process and on the taking of evidence abroad.
- International Tax Law - The profits from transactions involving international trade and investment are almost always subject to potential income taxation by at least two countries. While everyone does not have the time and inclination to become a tax specialist, no one involved in the negotiation, structuring or implementation of international transactions can afford to be unaware of at least the principal considerations that attend the taxation of those transactions. This course provides an introduction to the methods used by the United States and other governments to tax the income of international transactions (trade, investment and labor), consider the economic and political implications of different approaches to international taxation, and explore some of the techniques that have been developed to mitigate tax burdens on income derived from such transactions.
- Legal Accounting - This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of accounting and financial disclosure, based on U.S. and international reporting standards. It will examine each of the three components of the principal financial statements: the Balance Sheet (Statement of Financial Position), Statement of Income, and Statement of Cash Flows. The course will also include an overview of the process of auditing financial statements, an explanation of an auditor's report and associated disclosures, and what to look for in Management's Discussion and Analysis.
- Legal Writing & Drafting - This class helps students to improve their editorial and writing skills. It targets students who are already competent writers, but it requires no in-depth knowledge of grammar or rhetoric. The course covers issue-framing, readability, and writing efficiently.
- Mock Trial - The Conducting of a Civil Trial in U.S. Courts - This simulation features a sitting judge and practicing lawyers, with participants serving as either witnesses or members of the jury. Following the verdict, the judge and lawyers conduct a discussion with participants.
- Negotiations/Mediation - This course explores the processes, rather than specific substantive issues, of international negotiation. Using exercises and simulations, it examines the strategies available to a negotiator and focuses on special characteristics of negotiation in the international setting such as the roles of culture and power. It also covers international mediation and the special problems of multilateral negotiation.
- Professional Responsibility & Legal Ethics - This course looks into the different roles played by lawyers–advisor, negotiator, mediator, and advocate. Particular attention is given to the U.S. adversarial legal system. The course considers duties to clients, the courts, the government, adverse parties, opposing lawyers and the overall legal system. Participants are asked to apply their own countries ethical codes and traditional professional values in group discussions that provide a rich exploration of international differences in the roles of lawyers and their ethical codes and professional values.
“Everything was perfect—the lectures, the organization, and especially the hospitality that was extended by the Academy staff—the best experience in my life.
"The six weeks in Texas were unforgettable. I enjoyed every minute of my stay; the places, the lectures, the people ... Moreover, we hated the idea of having to leave. Something very special was born among us, something that we hope will last forever."
– former Academy participants
Admission to the Academy of American and International Law is based on documents the applicant submits.
Applicants should have a college degree and experience in one of the following fields: law, economics, journalism, teaching, or business. They must reside or have domicile outside the United States. Applicants must have substantial ability to read, speak and understand the English language. Instruction and all course materials are in English.
Make checks or money orders for tuition payable to The Center for American and International Law and mail to: The Center for American and International Law, 5201 Democracy Drive, Plano, Texas, U.S.A. 75024-3561. As an alternative, you may pay by credit card or wire funds to The Center. For wiring instructions, please contact Ann Lopez at email@example.com.
Academy participants should apply to the U.S. Consulate for a B-1 Business Visitor’s Visa. Check with the particular U.S. Consulate that has jurisdiction for your place of residence for specific requirements and procedures. It is also important to determine what the Consulate will require.
We understand that personal interviews are often required, and that processing times can be lengthy given the work load at many Consulates. We recommend that you begin the process early so that there is adequate time to schedule an interview.
We do not provide legal advice regarding U.S. immigration requirements. We recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney if you have any questions or doubts about requirements and procedures. It is also important that you understand and communicate to the authorities that you will not be performing any work or receiving any compensation from a U.S. entity while in the United States.
In our experience, Consulates require evidence of the visa applicant’s ties to his/her home country and intention to return to the home country. Such evidence can consist of deeds to property, contracts for services either to be rendered or received, and letters from relatives or an employer. For example, you might want to submit a letter from your employer that states your name and address, how long you have been employed, that you will be returning to work for your employer following the Academy, why the employer supports your attendance at the Academy, and what the employer expects you to gain from your attendance at the Academy. If your employer is responsible for the costs of travel to and from the United States, the letter should probably include that fact also. If you are self-employed, the letter should explain the nature and size of your business, and your ties and obligations to the business and your community. You might describe the Academy program as an extended legal education and business-related conference, and you should indicate what you expect to gain from your attendance. Because the Academy is in the nature of an extended continuing legal education conference for foreign attorneys that have previously completed their degree studies, we do not issue a Certificate of Eligibility. You will, however, have a copy of your letter of admission to the Academy that you can submit to the Consulate.
The Dallas Experience
Our goal is to introduce Academy participants, not only to the study of American and International Law, but also to the people and culture of the United States. Education, of course, takes place both inside and outside the classroom. The Academy schedule includes such extra-curricular events as a rodeo, a major league baseball game, a Texas barbeque, and a visit to at least one Dallas law firm.
One of the unique dimensions of the “Dallas Experience” is the opportunity to have local hosts through the North Texas Council for International Visitors and the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers. Your local hosts will be available during the Academy and will help acquaint you with the people and culture of Texas.
Attendance and Certificates
Attendance at sessions of the Academy is mandatory. To receive a certificate of participation, participants may miss no more than a total of one day of class, unless the absence is due to documented illness or unless approval is obtained from the Dean of the Academy.
Participants who miss more than a total of three days of class will be dismissed from the Academy unless the absence is due to documented illness or unless approval is obtained from the Dean of the Academy. In addition, participants are required to attend the Farewell Luncheon.
You will have the opportunity to receive two certificates. A certificate of participation will be presented to those who miss no more than one day of class. A second, academic certificate will be presented to those who successfully complete a series of short exams during the program. Once you acquire this second certificate, you will be listed as an Academy Fellow with our Institute.
Academy participants who are also admitted to the SMU Dedman School of Law Master of Laws program may receive 3 hours of credit toward a Masters of Law degree at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. To receive credit, they must pass an exam prepared by the School of Law program.
Academy participants are housed together in one facility, where we have negotiated a rate that includes lodging and transportation to and from class. Single, double, and triple-occupancy suites are available at different prices.
The average high temperature in the Dallas area during the months of June and July is in the 90s Fahrenheit (32 Celsius and higher). You may wear appropriate informal, comfortable clothes (for example, pants or slacks and a shirt or blouse) to class. Since the classroom is air-conditioned, however, you may wish to have a sweater or light jacket with you. Business attire is customary dress for a few activities, such as law firm receptions and the farewell luncheon. You may wish to wear national attire on the day we take the class photograph. Bring shorts, tee shirts, and a swimsuit for your off-duty time.
You are on your own for most meals. As stated, the hotel provides a complimentary breakfast and an afternoon snack. On each class day, the cost of the lunch is included as a part of your tuition, except for a few special events, The Center does not provide our meals in the evening and on the weekends. Daily meal costs at local restaurant will likely be between $15 and $40 depending on where you choose to eat. If you purchase groceries and prepare food in your suite, you can cut your costs considerably.
For those staying at the hotel, The Center will provide bus transportation between the hotel and your classes at The Center for American and International Law. The hotel also makes a courtesy van available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. fo rany destination within 3 miles of the hotel at no charge. Please request the van at least an hour in advance, and be prepared to pay the driver a tip for each trip.
You may wish to consider renting a car for your stay in Dallas, but you do not need to do so. The main requirements to rent a car are a valid driver’s license, a major credit card, and in some cases, a cash deposit. Some rental agencies require that the renter be at least 25 years of age.
Telephone and Internet Services
Local calls are available free of charge from your room at the hotel. Please note that long distance calls from your hotel room to your home country or anywhere else (other than in the immediate Dallas area) are very expensive. You will probably want to purchase a phone card for international calls, which should significantly reduce the rate you pay.
Wireless internet service is also available at The Center during class days, and a limited number of desktop computers with Internet connections are available in kiosks.
Not all religions of the world have houses of worship in the Dallas area, but many do. We want to assist you with the worship opportunities that are available, and will provide a list of places of worship in your arrival packet. Please feel free to talk with Steve concerning any questions you might have about places of worship, or about transportation to those places. Some of the local hosts will be available to assist you as well.
Cleaning and Laundry
Laundry facilities at the hotel are available for you to use for a modest cost. Pickup and delivery services for dry cleaning are also available for a small charge.
Sickness and Accident
The Center for American and International Law does not provide sickness or accident insurance. We do not provide medical care or cover the cost of medical care. In the U.S., the government does not provide free healthcare. We urge you to be sure to have adequate access to medical coverage. You may wish to purchase insurance that will cover you for health or accident problems that may arise while you are participating in the Academy. Although we will try to assist you as much as we are able, The Center for American and International Law, the Southwestern Institute for International and Comparative Law and the Academy assume no responsibility for health, accident or medical related expenses.
You should bring with you an adequate supply of any prescription medications you are taking. The U.S. pharmacies will not automatically fill a prescription. It is necessary to have your home pharmacy call or fax the information to the U.S. pharmacy. If that is not possible, you will have to make an appointment with a physician, keep the appointment, and have the physician write you a new prescription that you will give to the pharmacy to receive your prescription. This can be very expensive. Also, the cost of the prescription can vary. It is best to bring a six-week supply of any medications you may need.
It is difficult to locate local banks that convert foreign currencies into U.S. currency. You should have U.S. currency with you when you arrive at the airport. If you have questions concerning money matters, please contact Stacy Crowe, our Director of Finance at The Center for American and International Law, at her e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call her office phone at (972) 244-3409.
Mailing Packages to your Home Country
The United States Postal Service offers many types of service. In sending packages to your home country, be sure to check with the post office (www.usps.com or call (1-800-275-8777) to determine the weight limit for each country and the type of services available to ship your package. Each country has its own predetermined weight limit.
Although we partner with the hotel in making arrangements for your housing, you are responsible for all payment arrangements with the hotel. They will require that you sign an agreement to be subject to all rules the hotel has established for their business and for the comfort of all guests who stay there. Information about these rules will be made available to you upon check-in. Please ask hotel personnel if you don’t understand the agreement. We will do everything possible to help make your stay at the Academy, including the hotel, enjoyable. We have limited ability, however, to intervene with the hotel.
The Academy will have a facilitator on site at the hotel to assist you in a variety of ways, including: welcoming you upon arrival and orienting you to the hotel and to the surrounding area; maintaining the daily Academy schedule, including trips to and from the Center and to extra-curricular activities; and helping to resolve any issues that arise, such as illness, personal needs, and hotel issues. We encourage you to get to know the facilitator and to consult her with any concern that may arise.
Questions? Please email Steve Singleton for additional information about The Academy.