Brazil-U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program

The Brazil-U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program at American University Washington College of Law is a comparative law program focused exclusively on Brazil and the United States and their respective legal and judicial institutions. Led by Senior United States District Judge Peter J. Messitte, the program is unique in offering a direct comparison of Brazilian legal and judicial institutions with those of the United States.

Traditionally, the Brazilian legal and judicial systems have been studied as just one part of Latin American legal and judicial systems in general, without reference to important differences.  Similarly, Brazilian judges, lawyers, academics and students have attended law schools in the U.S. to study American law, but have not been able to focus on particular comparisons between the Brazilian experience and the American.

WCL's program offers participants a firmer understanding of both Brazilian and U.S. systems and transmits substantial practical knowledge as the two countries increase their interaction with one another.



The Brazil-U.S. Legal and Judicial Studies Program coordinates seminars on various comparative law issues for Brazilian judges, legal professionals, academics, and students, and also assists those in the U.S. who wish to have comparable introductions to Brazilian law and Brazilian legal and judicial institutions. The Program has been able to engage, as co-lecturers, Brazilian lawyers and legal experts who reside and work in the Washington, D.C. region, as well as Brazilian professors and judges who frequently visit the city.

In addition to organizing events and initiatives, the Program collaborates with activities that already exist between WCL and Brazil in such areas as international commercial arbitration, intellectual property, environmental law and human rights.