2014 Course Descriptions

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

This course is intended to provide a broad introduction to key elements of the law of entrepreneurship and a foundation for thinking about the law and policy of innovation.  The first term of the course will introduce students to typical progressions of start-up businesses, from early-stage seed funding through the venture capital cycle toward an anticipated exit.  Along the way, topics will include fundamental aspects of corporate law, intellectual property, choice of entity in light of tax- and non-tax-related issues, securities regulation, capitalization and equity-compensation issues, as well as innovation policy.  In the second term of the course, students will be introduced, in a Chinese and cross-border context, to how business can be started up, planned and grown in China or with a China (cross-border) dimension.  Students will be introduced to Chinese law and policy such as company law, corporate finance, and intellectual property law (limited only to a transactional lawyer), and will also be equipped with some legal skills of designing and planning transactional models to achieve commercial objectives in a cross-border context.  Private equity/venture capital, as well as tax will also be introduced in a Chinese law context, in particular, in various cross-border transactional arrangements.  During both terms of the course, students will from time to time act as legal counsel to a mock start-up company.

Taught by Ward and Shen

Financial Derivatives

This course will cover selected policies, laws, regulations, and practices relating to the derivative markets, focusing on exchange-traded and over-the-counter transactions and their participants.  Topics include analysis of applicable securities, commodities, insolvency authorities, business and economic objectives, transaction structures, hedge funds and securitization vehicles, and industry documentation.

Taught by Krawiec and Yoshiya

International Debt Finance

This course will provide an introduction to the ways in which international laws regulate the cross border financial markets.  Particular attention will be paid to events in the global markets over the past two decades, starting from the Tequila Crisis in Mexico in 1995 going up to the Euro area crisis that is still ongoing, including the Lehman crisis.  The legal structures that will be addressed in part will include customary international law, treaty law (such as the treaties governing the International Monetary Fund and the European Stabilization Mechanism) and more informal legal rubrics (such as those governing the relationships among the world's major Central Banks), as well as recent regulatory changes to financial sectors.  The course will touch on topics such as the complex (and sometimes destructive) relationships between governments and banks and also the ethics of financial institutions that arguably sit at the center of the current crisis in the global system.

Taught by Gulati and Nobumori

Introduction to the Common Law: US and Commonwealth

The Common Law, as it has developed in the United States, the United Kingdom and the various jurisdictions of the Commonwealth, has proven to be an exceptionally flexible and adaptable approach to legal organization. The first half of this course will concentrate on the common law function in civil disputes in the United States.  The second term will examine the divergent impact of the Common Law approach on the development of Public Law in the U.K. and the U.S.  Next, it will consider the way in which the Chinese (Mainland) political-legal structure has been shaped by historical events both during the Imperial period and post-1912 and post-1949.  The way the Public Law aspect of the Common Law has developed within British Hong Kong and in the HKSAR will also be examined.  Finally, the second term of the course considers aspects of the interaction between the HKSAR Common Law system and the PRC legal system.

Taught by Jones and Cullen

Reconciling Human Rights and Intellectual Property

This course explores the intersections between intellectual property (IP) and international human rights law and policy.  The first term of the course introduces the key rules and institutions of each legal regime and the competing conceptual frameworks for analyzing their intersection.  The relationship between these two fields has captured the attention of governments, policymakers, and activist communities in a diverse array of international and domestic political and judicial venues.  Some actors have raised human rights arguments as counterweights to the expansion of IP protection in areas including freedom of expression, public health, education, privacy, agriculture, and the rights of indigenous peoples.  At the same time, the creators and owners of IP are asserting a human rights justification for the expansion of legal protections.  After analyzing  these competing arguments, the first term of the course turns to a detailed case study on pharmaceutical patents, the human right to health, and access to medicines.  The case study includes a group exercise to negotiate a compulsory license for essential medicines under the WTO/TRIPS Agreement.  The second term of the course examines several other interfaces between IP and human rights in the form of four sets of case studies.  The first case study addresses indigenous peoples' rights, the protection of traditional knowledge in international IP law, and attempts to introduce a global requirement for disclosing the use of such knowlege in patent applications.  The second set of case studies will take an Asian focus.  The concept of legal transplants of intellectual property regimes in Asian countries will be examined, as well as the problem of counterfeit goods, typically made in China.  The third set of case studies focuses on the intersection between copyright and freedom of expression.  Areas to be examined include:  copyright treaties from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), U.S. intellectual property initiatives with extraterritorial effect, such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the emerging problem of copyright issues in ethical hacking and whistleblowing.  The final set of case studies will address privacy, surveillance and technologies.

Taught by Helfer and Maurushat

Regulation of International Finance: Institutions and Policies

The rules and principles of international financial regulation are complex, in part because they must be understood within the context of the domestic regulatory regimes of each nation in which banks and global markets operate.  Nevertheless, some common principles have emerged over the past four decades.  This enables us to gain some understanding of the international regime in which global banks and other financial organizations, and those with a significant international presence, must operate.  This course is designed to develop such understanding.  Although focused heavily on the banking sector, some attention will be paid to related financial areas as well.  The following areas will be reviewed:  modern global banking and the transnational activities of very large banks; challenges for financial stability and regulating global banks; institutions providing the focal point for developing the principles of large bank regulation, such as the G-20, Financial Stability Board, Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; the relationship of international institutions to domestic authorities (primarily the U.S.); associated international finance organizations (e.g., ISDA, IOSCO); European Banking Union; Basel III framework; Solvency II; Cross Border Resolution; and ideas for long term global financial regulation.

Taught by Baxter and Avgouleas


"Being in Hong Kong was an extremely stimulating experience. With the Asian economy still going strong amidst the Global Financial Crisis, it was hard not to get excited just by the dynamic environment of the city, where so many major international deals of the region are executed. The Institute itself was a great experience and in many ways helped me recognize the link between law school and the practice of law. My classes were both timely and practical. However, what I most valued was the opportunity to get to know both my classmates and my professors in a way that is not possible during the regular school year. Living in Robert Black College, which is small enough to create a very familial atmosphere, lent itself to forming genuine bonds with classmates and professors that I will continue to value for a very long time."

— Vivian Chow, participant from Duke Law School