Loyola Faculty Make an International Impact

The Loyola faculty have traveled to far corners of the globe to negotiate foreign treaties and educate lawmakers on American law. As nationally recognized experts in their fields, Loyola professors make an impact in the community and throughout the world as evidenced by the work of Professors Hughes, Levenson and Waterstone.

Justin Hughes

Last June, Professor Justin Hughes was the chief negotiator for the United States in Marrakesh, Morocco, where he signed the World Intellectual Property Organization’s landmark Treaty for the Blind. The treaty improves access to published works in formats such as Braille, large print text and audio books for the blind, visually impaired and print disabled.

“For many days in Marrakesh it looked like the negotiations -- called a ‘diplomatic conference’ -- would fail,” said Hughes, the William H. Hannon Distinguished Professor of Law. “The president of the diplomatic conference was the Moroccan Minister of Communications.  One day, he called me to his office and asked what he could do to make success more likely.  I told him, “’Close the airports and tell the negotiators that no one leaves until we have an agreement.’”

The treaty was approved after more than a week of intense debate among negotiators, though Hughes admits that he was prepared to stay in Morocco for the summer if necessary.  “It was very difficult work, but hopefully we produced an instrument that will, over time, significantly improve the lives of blind and other people with print disabilities,” said Hughes.

Laurie Levenson

Professor Laurie Levenson, the David W. Burcham Professor of Ethical Advocacy, traveled to Cambodia to visit the War Crimes Tribunal (also called the Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia (ECCC)) to witness the Khmer Rouge trials. She met with the defense lawyers, foreign press who were covering the trial and local villagers who came to watch it all unfold. “A trial of this kind is more of a history lesson than a simple prosecution of a few of the head culprits,” said Levenson.

For her, it was fascinating to watch how a foreign legal system operates. The trial was conducted by a panel of international judges and each defendant had two lawyers – one Cambodian and one foreign. “Unlike American trials, the victims also play a role in the case and are represented by counsel. The days I was there, I heard one of the leaders of one of the killing fields testify. It was like watching a modern-day Nuremberg trial,” said Levenson.

She observed the difficulty courts experience when trying major genocide trials as a result of the many political elements that are involved. “I wish I could take my students to see a trial like this. They would have more appreciation for how important it is to have a fair and efficient criminal justice system,” she said.

Michael Waterstone

Associate Dean Michael Waterstone (pictured above) attended a conference at Waseda University in Japan entitled “Disability Policy in the United States and Japan” in July 2013. The conference was a follow-up to a similar summit held at Loyola Law School last year that was made possible by a grant from The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. “The idea was to foster mutual learning and understanding of our different, but overlapping, legal and policy systems by academics and policymakers,” said Waterstone.

Waterstone led a session that asked, “What is the role of international law, if any, in improving the employment of people with disabilities?” He noted that the U.S. and Japan have similarities regarding disability law and some very important differences. “The Japanese are much more comfortable having people with disabilities work in more segregated employment settings, which helps their employment numbers, which we intuitively think of as ‘separate but unequal,’” he said.

By fostering this relationship between these scholars and the Law School, Waterstone hopes to continue a dialogue between those who are creating and implementing American and Japanese disability law.