Frequently Asked Questions and Online Resources
Why did the University of Michigan Law School start the ITC?
The International Transactions Clinic (ITC) was launched in the Fall of 2008. It is the first of its kind in the United States. The ITC aims to be a training ground for highly qualified lawyers who graduate already experienced at representing their clients' interests in an increasingly globalized and complex world. The ITC does good by doing deals.
What kinds of clients does the ITC support?
The ITC has a diverse range of clients. Clients of the ITC include for-profit and not-for-profit entities. They include start-up enterprises and well-established businesses. They include impact investors and social enterprises. Some ITC clients are based here in Ann Arbor; others are based as far away as the United Kingdom, Tajikistan and Bangladesh.
What the ITC clients all hold in common, however, is an international focus and a willingness to tackle world challenges like poverty, education, housing, environmental degradation, and climate change. Many of the ITC's clients work at the base of the economic pyramid in emerging markets and provide services and products to billions of people in the world living on $2 a day or less. Other ITC clients make international investments that are expected to generate positive developmental, environmental or other social returns as well as financial returns.
Where does the ITC work?
By making use of technology, the ITC operates globally although the ITC physically is based in Ann Arbor. ITC clients have offices around the world. These clients are conducting, with support of the ITC, projects and transactions in places like China, Ghana, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mexico, and Tanzania, to name a few.
How does the ITC organize its work?
Students participating in the ITC generally work in teams of two students under the close supervision of faculty members who are practicing attorneys in California, Michigan, New York, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Students must participate in the ITC for two semesters so that they can gain exposure to a range of international transactions and clients. Students typically will work on two to three transaction matters at a time.
What skills will students learn by participating in the ITC?
The ITC gives students an opportunity to exercise and expand skills that are critically important to their professional development as they enter into practice areas that involve international transactions. Students will learn drafting and negotiating skills necessary for conducting cross-border transactions, analyze ethical issues that can arise in international business, build skills at structuring and documenting investments in enterprises that primarily work in emerging markets, and deepen their understanding of international economic and financial policy. Students also will learn how to provide legal support and advice to clients that work in challenging business and legal environments.
How big of a time commitment is the ITC?
The ITC is a two semester-long course.
Students participating in the ITC should expect to work on transaction matters for an average of 12-16 hours per week, in addition to classroom time. Some weeks will be much shorter due to matters outside of the students' control; other weeks, however, may be much longer for the very same reason. This is another reason why transaction matters are assigned to teams of students to help share workloads.
During the first six weeks of the Fall term, students meet twice a week in a seminar-like setting to build the requisite foundational knowledge for serving ITC clients.
What is the grade and credit allocation of the ITC?
The ITC is mandatory pass/fail for the Fall term and graded during the Winter term. Each term of the ITC will be allocated four (4) credits, for a total of eight (8) credits for the academic year.
Are there course prerequisites for the ITC?
There are no course prerequisites.
Does participation in the ITC fulfill the "Professional Responsibility" course requirement?
No, although the ITC focuses, among other things, on the professional responsibilities expected of lawyers.
Why would a student apply to join the ITC?
Here are some of the reasons former students have given when they applied to join the ITC:
"I joined the ITC because I have been passionate about using my legal skills to benefit social enterprises and non-profit organizations working to make a positive impact on the lives of the underprivileged.
As a clinician of the ITC, I have gained valuable experience in advising clients on their international expansion plans, complex grant agreements and various compliance matters. I now have a much better understanding of the crucial role of lawyers in realizing social innovation. I have no doubt that my ITC experience will help me launch an exciting career in the international development sector." Ji Won Kim (JD expected '13)
"The focus of the ITC combines the primary areas of law I hope to pursue during my legal career. After working in finance after college, I realized I wanted to apply those skills to more socially productive and globally significant objectives, namely economic development. I would like to do this by pursuing legal work in the field of microfinance and socially responsible investing. I also believe that, as a young professional, an understanding of transactional work on an international level is nearly essential given the current nature of the business world, especially in the finance industry. The ITC is the ideal medium through which law students can gain experience in this arena." Sogoal Salari ('12)
"The International Transactions Clinic was one of the primary reasons I chose to attend Michigan Law over other law schools. While I had little exposure to business or finance as an undergraduate, I was fortunate enough to take some of these kinds of classes during my graduate studies before matriculating to Michigan. These classes opened up whole new worlds to me: international capital markets, international development, microfinance, financial ethics, complex financial instruments, sovereign debt, etc. As I learned more about these fields in law school, I was delighted to realize that these issues could be approached from multiple perspectives. Not only could you engage this area through the "traditional" legal disciplines of litigation and negotiation, but also through the emerging fields of international regulation, arbitration, and crossborder contracts." Jennifer L. Tanaka ('12)
"[ITC] is a rare opportunity to learn transactional work. Because transactions are increasingly international, students are similarly interested in this sort of work. It's also an exciting, expanding field that many students want to enter. A lot of Michigan Law students have a lot of international experience and interests generally (look at our class), and this clinic is a way to meld their personal interests in all-things-international with potential future career paths. Also, in contrast to the vast offerings of public international law at the law school, the clinic deals with private international law." Ramzi Takla, ('11)
||". . . I plan to work abroad after I graduate so having that hands-on experience while in school will allow me to better understand the issues that are particular to an international deal . . . I hope I can use the skills and knowledge gained from this clinic to help those living in the poorest regions of China leave poverty and hopefully get on the road to prosperity." Jingqui (Joe) Mei, ('10)|
Check out the ITC Students page to see how recent graduates view their ITC clinical experience now that they are practicing law.
Below you can find links to policy and practice resources that we have found helpful in advancing the work of the International Transactions Clinic:
"Commercial Loan Agreements: A Technical Guide for Microfinance Institutions" (Available at: www.cgap.org under Publications, Technical Guides)
"Foreign Exchange Risk Mitigation Techniques: Structure and Documentation—A Technical Guide for Microfinance Institutions" (includes annotated Sample Letter of Credit and Annotated Sample Reimbursement Agreement) (Available at: www.cgap.org under Publications, Technical Guides)
"Commercial Bank and MFI Linkages: Tools for Assisting MFIs in Partnering with Commercial Banks" (a guide for assisting microfinance institutions in negotiating service agreements with commercial banks, includes sample form of term sheet for service agreement) (Available at: www.microlinks.org under Financial Services Recources, Institutional Models and Delivery Channels, Microfinance Institution—Bank Linkages, Tools)
"Negotiating an Equity Capital Infusion from Outside Investors," (includes annotated Shareholders Agreement and Shareholder Subscription Agreement) by David Carpenter (2010) (Available at: www.cgap.org under Publications, Technical Guides)
"Securitization," (includes Annotated Sales and Servicing Agreement) (2010) (Available at: www.cgap.org under Publications, Technical Guides)
"Provisions of Standard Commercial Guarantee Agreements," (includes annotated Corporate Guarantee Agreement) by Sandra Rocks (2010) (Available at: www.cgap.org under Publications, Technical Guides)
"Code of Conduct for Microfinance Rating Agencies" (Available at: http://www.microfinanzarating.com/images/stories/Code_of_Conduct_final.pdf)
"Incorporating Your Business Tip Sheet #5," by Drew Tulchin and ITC Student Clinicians Benjamin Lawless and Rory Wellever, Social Enterprise Associates (Available at: http://www.socialenterprise.net/assets/files/ SEATipSheet5IncorporatingYourBizFinal.pdf)
"Charting the Course: Best Practices and Tools for Voluntary Debt Restructurings in Microfinance," IAMFI (with research and support by the ITC) (January 2011) (Available at: http://www.morganstanley.com/globalcitizen/pdf/IAMFI.pdf)
"A Primer on Patent Law," by Michael Mattioli (2012), (Available at: Patent Primer.pdf).