In keeping with its educational mission of encouraging students to acquire both broad social awareness and technical professional competence, Iowa Law offers a strong program of study in the rapidly expanding fields of international and comparative law. It does so for essentially three reasons:

  1. In an era of global interdependence, one must understand international law and foreign legal systems in order to be an effective lawyer.
  2. As professionals and community leaders, lawyers familiar with international and comparative law are crucial to the formulation of public policy at all levels of our society.
  3. The study of international and comparative law provides an essential theoretical foundation for all lawyers by affording unique insight into the nature of law and legal process.

Opportunities for Students in International and Comparative Law

From speakers and symposia to a law library with an outstanding array of international resources, a variety of opportunities exist for all students to get involved in international issues without ever leaving the College of Law. Co-curricular and extracurricular activities include:  

Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems (TLCP)
International Law Society (ILS)
International Law Students Association
Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition

University of Iowa Center for Human Rights

UI Center for Human Rights

Learn more about the centers and their ongoing projects

With a mission to promote and protect human rights at home and abroad through distinguished multidisciplinary leadership in human rights research, education, and public service.


The College of Law ensures that all of its students are exposed to international perspectives. With the exception of the special LLM tutorial and writing seminar, LLM students take their courses with JD students from the school's rich offerings on US, international, and comparative law. Foreign research scholars also audit some courses. 

As a JD student, you might, for example, sit in one of your first-year classes with a Chinese judge or a young German lawyer, or take an upper-level seminar with students from Zimbabwe, Mexico, or Korea.

The following professors provide the chief teaching and research support for the International and Comparative Program at Iowa Law.


Jonathan Carlson (1)

Jonathan C. Carlson

Professor of Law and International Studies
Victor & Carol Alvarez Fellow in Law
Professor Carlson focuses on international trade and commercial law, international environmental law, and the law of global climate change. He frequently lectures abroad.
Bram Elias (1)

Bram Elias

Clinical Professor of Law
Professor Elias has directed the Clinic’s immigration practice since 2015. His students represent clients in immigration proceedings and in state and federal judicial proceedings affecting immigrants' rights, and work with organizational clients engaged in advocacy related to immigration law and policy.
Stella Burch Elias (1)

Stella Burch Elias

Professor of Law
Chancellor William Gardiner Hammond Fellow in Law
Professor Elias teaches civil procedure, international law, immigration law, and comparative law courses, and she directs Iowa’s London Law Program.  Her research involves public international and comparative law, with a focus on United States and foreign immigration and nationality laws.
Ann Estin (2)

Ann Laquer Estin

Aliber Family Chair in Law
Professor Estin teaches and writes primarily in family law and international family law. As a member of the International Society of Family Law, she has served as an expert observer at the Hague Conference on Private International Law in connection with several of the Hague Children’s Conventions. In addition, she teaches courses in contracts and Federal Indian Law.
Brian Farrell (2)

Brian Farrell

Associate Professor of Instruction
Director, Citizen Lawyer Program
Associate Director, Center for Human Rights
Brian Farrell teaches international law, criminal law, and human rights courses. He is Director of the Citizen Lawyer Program, Associate Director of the UI Center for Human Rights, and was a co-founder of the Innocence Project of Iowa. Brian also serves as an adjunct lecturer at the National University of Ireland Galway and is a member of the Iowa Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission.
Professor Emily Hughes, University of Iowa College of Law

Emily Hughes

Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Edward F. Howrey Professor of Law
Professor Hughes teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. Before coming to the College, she was a professor at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, where she taught criminal law, criminal procedure (investigations and adjudication), and a seminar discussing mitigation and the death penalty.
John Reitz

John C. Reitz

Edward Carmody Professor of Law Emeritus
Professor Reitz's love of foreign languages led him to focus his professional career on comparative law and transnational transactions. Prior to joining the faculty of the College of Law in 1983, Professor Reitz served as an American Fellow to the faculty of the Salzburg Seminar on American Law and Institutions.
June Tai (1)

June Tai

Clinical Professor of Law
Director, Field Placement Programs
Professor June Tai is the Director of the Field Placement Program for the law school and supervises students in field placements. Her practice has focused on civil litigation, particularly in patent and other intellectual property disputes.  She earned her J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley. 
Lea VanderVelde (2)

Lea VanderVelde

University of Iowa Distinguished Chair
Director of the RAOS project, (Reconstruction Amendment Optical Scanning)
Lea VanderVelde researches 19th century lives, court decisions, and other occurrences that significantly impacted the course of American law, particularly in the areas of slavery, work, property, and the Constitution. She is currently using digital research technologies to examine American national expansion in the critical years before the Civil War and the Reconstruction Congress debates that enhanced American freedom.  
Associate Dean Adrien Wing headshot

Adrien Wing

Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law Programs
Bessie Dutton Murray Professor of Law
Adrien Wing joined the faculty in 1987, and currently teaches Critical Race Theory, Sex Discrimination Law, and Law in the Muslim World. In addition to being the Associate Dean for International & Comparative Law programs, she hold two other administrative positions. She is the Director of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights and Director of the Law School’s summer program in France.

Contact Information

By Mail

Associate Dean Adrien Wing
Bessie Dutton Murray Professor of Law
The University of Iowa College of Law
Iowa City, IA 52242-1113 USA

By Telephone

800-553-4692 ext. 9095 (from within U.S.) (Admissions Office)

By E-mail


Iowa offers a broad range of opportunities to study international and comparative law in its curriculum. Particular specialties include comparative law, European Union law, international business law, the law of international economic institutions, international environmental law, the law of international finance, international human rights law, the law governing international organizations and the conduct of United States' foreign policy, the law of war, and legal reform in Africa and the Near East, East and Southeast Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the successor countries to the Soviet Union.

The courses listed here include all UI-approved College of Law courses in these subject areas. The College does not offer each course every year. The Guide to Courses contains a list of courses that have been offered within the past two academic years. It also lists courses the College expects to offer during the next academic year.


Advanced Immigration Law and Policy

Advanced Topics in International Law

Comparative Law

Cultural Property/Heritage

European Union Law

Foreign Comparative & International Legal Research

Foreign Relations Law

Foundations of International Law

The Future of Public Law

Human Rights in the World Community

Immigration Law & Policy

International and Comparative Family Law

International Business Transactions

International Commercial Arbitration

International Criminal Law

International Environmental Law

International Finance

International Humanitarian Law

International Trade Law: Basic Norms & Regulations

International Transacting Skills

Introduction to the Law of France 


Law in the Muslim World

Law of War, Peace, and Military Affairs

Select Issues in Transnational Litigation

Select Topics in International and Comparative Law