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New England Law | Boston commercial law event

October 12, 2016: International business transactions were the focus of the Center for Business Law’s fifth annual conference on commercial law, “Selling Goods into Foreign Markets: Choice of Law, Risks of Sales through Intermediaries, Human Rights, and Challenges of Modern Payment Systems.”

The conference took place in New England Law | Boston’s Cherry Room and was co-sponsored by the law school’s Center for International Law and Policy, the Massachusetts Bar Association, and the Uniform Commercial Code Reporter-Digest.

“This conference was of interest to anyone whose practice or academic interest involves the international sale of goods,” said Professor Gary Monserud, the conference organizer. “The questions and comments from the audience greatly enriched the panel discussions.”

The first panel discussion addressed issues arising under the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods; legal issues that can arise when selling through intermediaries into foreign markets; and the arbitration of private disputes arising from international sales. Panelists included Professor William P. Johnson, director of the Center for International and Comparative Law and the Summer Law Program in Madrid of the Saint Louis University School of Law; Philip D. O’Neill, Jr., Esq., who has taught arbitration at Boston University School of Law and Harvard Law School; and Professor Michael P. Van Alstine, co-director of the International and Comparative Law Program of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. Dean and Professor Emeritus Peter J. McGovern of John Marshall Law School moderated the discussion.

Other participants included John F. Sherman, III, Esq., who is general counsel and senior advisor to Shift, an independent, nonprofit center for business and human rights practice. He is also a senior program fellow at the Corporate Responsibility Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School, and is chair of the International Bar Association’s business and human rights working group. Mr. Sherman played a key role in developing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which have far reaching implications for international and commercial lawyers. Professor Lisa J. Laplante, director of New England Law’s Center for International Law and Policy, guided the discussion in this area.

The second panel addressed current challenges with payment systems and featured Professor Sarah Jane Hughes of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Professor Stephen Michael McJohn of Suffolk University Law School; and Lorcan Tiernan, a business lawyer from Dublin. Stephen Y. Chow, Esq., partner with Burns & Levinson LLP, and a commissioner representing Massachusetts on the Uniform Law Commission, served as moderator.