The University of Ottawa and Queen’s University recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a joint TradeLab International Economic Law Clinic. International Trade and Investment Law Practicum courses will be offered in French and English Common Law in winter 2018, based on a similar course taught by Professor Debra Steger since 2013. The clinic will allow small groups of supervised students at both universities to work on specialized projects for key stakeholders in governments, international organizations, small and medium enterprises, and NGOs in the fields of trade and investment law.
The clinic will be supervised by Professor Steger, Hyman Soloway Chair in Business and Trade Law, Professor J. Anthony VanDuzer and Assistant Professor Wolfgang Alschner. Professor Steger will be Co-Director of the clinic at uOttawa with Professor Valerie Hughes who will be Co-Director at Queen’s. Professor Nicolas Lamp will also supervise students at Queen’s. Professors Steger and Hughes were the first two Directors of the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat.
“This experiential learning initiative will allow students to address real problems for real beneficiaries,” says Professor Steger. “Selected projects will culminate in the delivery of legal memorandums, briefs, draft laws, treaty texts or other outputs tailored to the beneficiaries’ needs.”
The uOttawa-Queen’s clinic is a partner in TradeLab, an NGO with headquarters at the prestigious Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. TradeLab is an independent organization that brings together students, academics and legal practitioners in trade and investment law. Through pro bono legal clinics and practica, it aims to connect students and experienced legal professionals with government agencies in developing countries, small and medium-sized enterprises, and civil society organizations to build lasting legal capacity.
The TradeLab network benefits from a global presence. Along with the new uOttawa-Queen’s clinic, it includes law school clinics in the United States, Switzerland, Spain, Tanzania, India and Qatar.
Professors Steger, VanDuzer and Alschner are looking forward to working with their colleagues at Queen’s University, and are confident students will benefit from the unique opportunities offered through the clinic.
“This, more than anything, will allow students to use the legal knowledge they’ve acquired and apply it to concrete scenarios that governments, international organizations, companies and NGOs are faced with,” says Steger. “It also provides practical exposure to the fields of trade and investment law, which could open the door to exciting career opportunities. We’re looking forward to offering our students this incomparable opportunity!”
TradeLab website: www.tradelab.org