As part of a continuing series on Spring 2015 semester courses that relate to innovation and business, this post spotlights International Finance.

Most law students have the seen the far-reaching effects of the 2008 global financial crisis, but fewer understand its causes. In International Finance, Professor Enrique Carrasco introduces the fundamentals of international capital markets to give students a better sense of “what’s going on in the world.” Noting that the jargon of international finance can cause “spasms,” Carrasco tries “to help students relax and learn how to have an intelligent conversation. The thrust is on the basics not becoming experts.”

Students who had Carrasco for Contracts will find International Finance to be a very different experience. First, the course has a narrative structure. It begins with the founding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the late 1940’s and continues through various historical debt crises that have shaken the global financial system. The course also discusses distinctive features of today’s emerging economies, such as the role of remittances and Islamic finance.

Second, although the course materials include some cases, students learn about the law’s role in international finance from other documents, such as international loan documents, regulations, and treaties. “A lot of international finance begins as ‘soft’ law – international standards that international bodies issue; they become “hard law” when adopted into domestic regulation,” Carrasco said.

Finally, Carrasco uses the Socratic method far less than in Contracts. Instead students have more hands-on assignments like drafting speeches (that Carrasco delivers to the class) and participating in panel discussions. “These exercises help students think outside of the typical law school class box and add some practical skills that students can build upon in the future,” said Garrett Morales, a 3L, who has taken the class.

“The format of the class was one of the aspects that I enjoyed the most,” continued Morales, “It’s definitely different then the standard ‘read 20 pages, highlight and/or brief the cases assigned.’ It makes the experience much more interactive without the added stress of the Socratic Method.” 

--Jay Stirling | October 25, 2010

Course Description

This course is intended for any law student who has little or no knowledge of international finance and development. Professor Carrasco intends to use the prototype of the textbook he is writing for West. The textbook is written in plain English with an informal tone. Coverage will include the functions of the International Fund and the World Bank, major financial crises, and emerging economies.


Schedule Information

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday | 11:30 am – 12:30 pm