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Law School Launched Inaugural Program of the Institute for the Global Practice of Law


The University of Cincinnati College of Law this summer launched its inaugural program under the umbrella of its new Institute for the Global Practice of Law (IGPL). The IGPL is an intensive four-week program for attorneys from other countries interested in U.S. law and international business transactions. For the inaugural program, held July 11-August 1, four attorneys from China visited the tri-state to learn about the U.S. legal system and how to better represent their global companies. 

 “The benefits to participants are immeasurable—the Institute took participants through nearly every major aspect of practicing in the U.S.,” said UC Law Visiting Professor Felix Chang, Director of the IGPL and Assistant Vice President and Counsel at Fifth Third Bank. “The Institute connected participants with the leaders of the business and legal communities in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. These legal communities, too, benefitted from the extensive contacts that the participants have in their home countries. At its most ambitious, the Institute will play a role in shaping the rule of law in sometimes nascent legal systems.”

The IGPL provided the technical legal skills and networking opportunities to help practitioners around the world enhance their practice. The program blended substantive legal training with practical exercises, strategies on marketing and law firm management, individualized tutorial sessions, and opportunities to network with global companies and major law firms in the area. Students were immersed in the legal system, learning how to partner with U.S. lawyers in the representation of clients and how to negotiate on behalf of and represent U.S. companies that do business around the world. 

Classes included the study of international business transactions under the framework of mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and tax; domestic and cross-border litigation, including conflict of laws and alternative dispute resolution; sources of U.S. law, such as cases, statutes and the Constitution; and legal ethics and professional responsibility.

The Institute was formed last year, with China chosen as the first country to target. Cincinnati law firms and businesses—which have been tremendously supportive of the Institute—have deep connections with China. In addition, the College of Law has also cultivated relationships with Renmin University, Shandong University, Beijing Normal University, and Zhongnan University.  The IGPL was developed by College of Law Dean Louis Bilionis; Felix Chang; Walter Spiegel, Vice President and General Counsel, Standard Textile; and Mark Stall ’88, General Counsel, xpedx division of International Paper. They are supported by an advisory board which includes representatives from Standard Textile Co., International Paper, and the following law firms: Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Jones Day, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, and Thompson Hine LLP.

 “U.S. companies today are looking for growth not just locally but around the world,” commented Walter Spiegel, Chairperson of the IGPL Advisory Board. “When doing business abroad, companies need to be able to consult with legal counsel who understand how U.S. companies think and operate and who can provide strategic advice on complex business transactions.  IGPL’s goal is to provide international practitioners with training that will enhance their ability to serve effectively in this capacity.”

For more information about the program, visit the website.