Summer Study Abroad China

China has emerged as one of the world’s most powerful economic forces in today’s global economy. The demand is increasing for experts familiar with the ever-changing nature of the Chinese economy and with Chinese political and legal systems to provide advisory services to businesses and policy makers. We recognize these needs and offer students an opportunity to experience China firsthand in our summer study abroad program.

Students in China, summer 2015.
Students from the 2015 Summer Study Abroad China Program

Overview

The Summer Study Abroad China program immerses students with colleagues from other western universities, as well as Chinese law students, using faculty from all involved schools. This year‘s program features the following four, two-credit courses:

  • Comparative Family Law
  • Comparative Environmental Law
  • Comparative International Business Law
  • Comparative Renewable Energy Law

Program Details

Program Dates and Locations
Applications/Program Contact Information
Curriculum

Course Schedule
Housing
Cost & Financial Aid
Transportation & Insurance
ABA Approval Academic Credit and Eligibility
Changes, Withdrawals and Refunds
Students with Disabilities
Emergencies
Practical Travel Information
Program Faculty and Program Director

Program Dates and Locations

Session 1: May 29 – June 9, 2017 in Chongqing, China at Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SWUPL)
Session 2: June 12 – 23, 2017 in Beijing, China at China Youth University of Political Studies (CUPL)

Applications/Program Contact Information

Sam Panarella - Blewett School of Law - University of Montana
Email: samuel.panarella@umontana.edu, Phone: (406) 243-6623 (office), (503) 997-9376 (mobile)

Curriculum

Note: Students will have access to each University’s Law Library, in addition to high speed internet connections for most of their activities.

Comparative Family Law
Professor Cynthia Ford, Blewett School of Law - University of Montana

This course will cover the general subjects of the laws in the U.S. And China governing formation and dissolution of families (including same-sex): marriage, nonmarital unions, adoption, assisted reproduction, familial obligations, divorce, maintenance, child custody, and child support. Underlying each topic will be a discussion of why the government has any role whatsoever in these intimate relationships.

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
Professor Sam Panarella, Blewett School of Law - University of Montana

This course will focus on highlighting the differences and similarities between the renewable energy industries in the two countries. Particular attention will be paid to the laws and policies supporting (and, in some cases, limiting) the development of renewable energy in both countries, lessons learned from the US renewables experience that can inform the development of the more nascent Chinese industry, environmental drivers of renewable energy development in both countries, and transmission constraints that bedevil both industries.

Comparative Environmental Law
Professor Michelle Bryan, Blewett School of Law - University of Montana

This course provides a comparison of the environmental legal systems that exist in both China and the United States. The course will place particular emphasis on laws affecting water ecosystems, habitats, and resources. We will compare the major environmental laws of both nations and consider how the various levels of local, state/provincial, and national systems function together in each country. Students will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each country’s laws and what each country can learn from the other about environmental protection. The course will also examine possible future directions in those laws and areas of challenge, including environmental justice concerns, climate change, and how the systems seek to balance environmental protection alongside economic opportunity and growth.

Comparative International Business Transactions Law
Professor Ramón E Ortiz-Vélez, University of South Dakota School of Law

No two countries do more business with each other than the United States and China. Of course, these two nations also conduct much business with other nations. In times of a highly internationalized economy, this course will help you better understand the issues that face clients that wish to undertake international business transactions. This course will examine the basics of international trade law as well as major regional and global trade agreements in relation to both goods and services. It will also focus on import/export issues in relation to the United States. After examining the international legal and political frameworks governing international trade, the course will examine possible legal enforcement methods including select criminal provisions. The course will briefly examine how to set up a successful transactional practice. Climate change action is currently a major international issue that covers not only the issues studied in this class, but also spans across the other topics taught in the summer abroad program. It will thus be used to shed practical light on the class materials.

The class is very interactive and will require active class participation and open, frank, yet respectful analysis of some of the “hot topics” in today’s international legal and political discourse.

Course Schedule

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Week 1
Chongqing

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Week 2
Chongqing

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Renewable Energy Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Family Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Week 3
Beijing

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Week 4
Beijing

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Comparative Business Law
9- 10:50 am

Comparative Environmental Law
1 - 2:50 pm

Housing

Students will be lodged at hotels within short walking distance of the classrooms in Chongqing and Beijing. Students will stay in double rooms with private baths. The cost of the course includes a shared two-person double room.

We can help students arriving a few days early (which we strongly encourage) or staying after the course ends, but students must pay all hotel and meal costs directly for any additional nights.

Cost & Financial Aid

Program costs are currently estimated at $6000 (USD) which includes tuition and fees for the 6 U.S. law credits, all course-related travel inside China, all lodging inside China during the program, emergency medical insurance, all course materials, and the visa application fee.

*NOTE: THE ESTIMATE QUOTED ABOVE OF $6000 DOES NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL AIR TRAVEL TO AND FROM CHINA, FOOD, OR MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES, WHICH STUDENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ARRANGING AND PAYING FOR ON THEIR OWN. IN ADDITION, STUDENTS WHO CHOOSE TO STAY IN CHINA AFTER THE PROGRAM END DATE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ARRANGING AND PAYING SEPARATELY FOR THEIR OWN TRAVEL AND OTHER EXPENSES RELATED TO SUCH STAY.

Students enrolled in the program are eligible for financial aid to the extent that participating students are eligible to receive it. Students should contact their own school financial aid office for assistance and aid information.

At the University of Montana, students should contact Connie Bowman at (406) 243-5524 or connie.bowman@umontana.edu.

At the University of Sotuth Dakota, students should contact Lindsay Miller at (605) 677-5446 or lindsay.miller@usd.edu.

Transportation & Insurance

Transportation: Participants are responsible for arranging and purchasing their own international airfare between the U.S. and China. As noted above, the $6000 (USD) program cost includes transportation costs within China for travel to the various sites. Everyone will travel as a group within China.

Insurance: All participants are required to have overseas medical health and emergency evacuation insurance, the cost of which is included in the program costs. The University of Montana will make these purchases for each participant who needs it.

ABA Approval, Academic Credit and Eligibility

ABA Approval | Academic Credit: The American Bar Association Legal Education Committee has approved this program for all six (6) academic credits, which makes these credits eligible towards a J.D. degree at any ABA-accredited law school which chooses to accept them. Acceptance of any credit or grade for any course taken in the program is subject to determination by the student’s home school. The program’s sponsoring law schools have determined that law students must enroll in all (six) 6 credits as a condition for participation.

Eligibility: All US law students who have completed their first year of legal studies at a US ABA-accredited law school and who are in good academic standing at their law school are eligible to enroll, although preference will be given to UM and USD students. UM students are in good standing if they have a cumulative GPA of 2.3 or higher; students with a GPA below 2.3 may petition for an enrollment waiver.  In addition, non-law students may participate to the extent their universities recognize the academic credits. The University of Montana has approved the program for six (6) graduate credits. Participants are required to comply with their own school’s student disciplinary and honor codes throughout the program, and those failing to do so will be sent home in addition to facing their own school disciplinary sanctions as warranted.

**There are no prerequisites for enrollment in any of the courses in the program.**

Changes, Withdrawals and Refunds

This program is subject to change as to content and location based upon currently unforeseen circumstances including those generally falling within the scope of force majeure events such as natural disaster, war, epidemic illnesses, etc. In addition, the program will be cancelled in the event that (1) fewer than 15 US students enroll; (2) China becomes subject to a US State Department travel warning; (3) China imposes any new legal restriction making the program too difficult to administer; or (4) other extreme circumstances. The program’s sponsoring schools are committed not to increase program costs if any changes are needed; and in case of cancellation students will be provided a refund of all monies advanced within twenty days after the cancellation. In the event of cancellation of the program after a deposit has been paid, the Program Director will use his or her best efforts to make arrangements for each student enrolled to attend a similar program, if the student so desires. Students will be promptly notified of the following and given an opportunity to withdraw from the program if (1) major changes are made in the course offerings or other significant aspects of the program; (2) prior to the commencement of the program, a US State Department Travel Warning or Alert covering program dates and destinations is issued for the country in which the program will be conducted; and (3) during the course of the program, a US State Department Travel Warning or Alert covering program dates and destinations is issued for the country in which the program is being conducted. If a student withdraws from the program as permitted prior to the commencement of the program, or if the program is canceled, the student will receive a refund of all monies advanced within twenty days after the cancellation or withdrawal. If a student withdraws from the program as permitted during the course of the program, or if the program is terminated, the student will be refunded fees paid except for room and board payments utilized prior to the date of termination or withdrawal.

Program participants will be provided with current U.S. State Department travel information about China at least once before they depart, along with any updates. In the event that China becomes subject to a US State Department travel warning, all students will be notified through email and other means by the program director. Sponsoring schools will respond immediately to a State Department warning or advisory by cancelling or terminating the program; or relocating all or part of the program within the country to any site not subject to such warning or advisory. In addition, the sponsoring schools will seek immediate US Embassy and Consulate help and guidance in response to any such advisory or warning.

Students with Disabilities

This program will make all reasonable efforts to ensure full participation by persons with disabilities, although participants should note that not all facilities, buildings, and transportation are equipped for accessibility.

Emergencies

The program will handle emergencies as any arises. These include medical and safety emergencies. Participants will be asked in connection with their registration to provide emergency contact information. In addition, the program will provide emergency contact information for participant family members who need to communicate with participants in China. To the extent necessary because of exigent circumstances, the program will retain the discretion to discontinue the program before its conclusion and arrange for evacuation from China.

Program Faculty and Program Director

Professor Sam Panarella (Program Director)

Professor Sam Panarella teaches in the areas of business, environmental, and energy law and is the Director of the Max S. Baucus Institute. Before joining the law school faculty, Professor Panarella was the CEO of Crux Consulting, LLC, a legal process and management consulting firm whose clients include the legal departments of several Fortune 500 companies. Prior to that, Professor Panarella was a partner at Stoel Rives LLP, a leading western law firm, where he focused his legal practice on energy law, with a specialty in renewable energy development, and representing public and private companies in large-scale industrial and commercial project development. Professor Panarella clerked for United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Otto R. Skopil, Jr. before entering private practice. Professor Panarella was selected for inclusion in the 2007 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Professor Cynthia Ford

Professor Cynthia Ford graduated from Dartmouth College and Cornell Law School. She has practiced in Montana and Washington, doing significant amounts of family law as well as general civil litigation. She also has served as trial judge for two tribal courts, and currently serves as the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals for another tribal system. She volunteers regularly in the Montana Legal Services Family Law Advice Clinic. She has been a professor at UM since 1990, teaching Civil Procedure, Evidence, Remedies, Family Law, and Civil Clinic.

Professor Ramón E Ortiz-Vélez

Ramón E Ortiz-Vélez is the Director of Experiential Learning and Senior Lecturer at the University of South Dakota School of Law. He currently teaches in the areas of tax, military, and national security law. He also teaches bankruptcy, tax, and immigration law seminars as part of the Limited License Legal Technician program at the University of Washington. Prior to joining the University of South Dakota, Professor Ortiz- Vélez lectured at the University of Washington School of Law and the University of Phoenix, teaching courses in tax, business law, mediation, and ethics. As a practicing attorney, he was a founding member of Ortiz Gosalia, PLLC; his practice centered in national and international tax and business law, complex estate planning, and immigration.

Prior to establishing his law firm, Professor Ortiz-Vélez served as labor contracts negotiator and was the Director of Port Security for one of the largest ports in North America. He also worked for various United States agencies and departments, serving both in the United States and abroad.

Professor Ortiz-Vélez holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Troy State University, a Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law, and a Master’s of Law (LLM) in Taxation from the University of Washington School of Law. He is admitted to practice in Washington State and South Dakota and is a member of Wealthcounsel and the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Professor Michelle Bryan

Professor Michelle Bryan teaches in the Natural Resources & Environmental Law Program at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law. Growing up in farming, ranching, and energy development communities in the West, Professor Bryan was drawn to the fields of natural resources and environmental law. Prior to joining the law faculty, she worked in private practice representing a variety of clients including governments, private landowners, non-profits, developers, and affected neighbors and community groups. She brings this diversity of perspective to her scholarship and teaching. Her areas of specialty include water law, land use law, natural resources and environmental law, tribal-indigenous environmental rights, and international environmental law.