Padideh Ala'i

Professor of Law
Director, Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program
Director, Program on Trade, Investment and Development (TID)

Office: Room Y305
Phone: 202-274-4227
Email: vCard


Padideh Alai is a Professor of Law at American University, Washington College of Law (WCL) where she specializes in the areas of international economic law, law of the World Trade Organization (WTO), and comparative law. She teaches international trade law and comparative law. Professor Alai’s scholarship has concentrated on transparency obligations of the WTO, implications of WTO rules on internal domestic transparency, universalizing the administrative state through the multilateral trading system, as well as evolution of international anti-corruption norms, and colonial history of the rhetoric of free trade.

Professor Alai serves on the Executive Committee of the Society of International Economic Law (January 2016-present), and the Academic Board of the ELSA/WTO Moot court competition. She is an Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law (June 2014 to the present). She has previously served as Co-Chair of the International Economic Law Group (IELG) of American Society of International Law (ASIL) as well as Co-Chair of the AALS Section on Comparative Law. She is the Chair of Organizing Committee of Wenger Family Lecture Series on International Trade Law (the first endowed lecture on international trade law at WCL).

Professor Alai is also the Director of the Humbert Humphrey Fellowship Program at WCL – a Fulbright program that brings together accomplished professionals who are at a midpoint in their careers. The Program is primarily supported by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the International Institute of Education (IIE). It enables the Fellows during a 9-month period to study and interact with career professionals in the general field of law and human rights. As of March 2017, WCL is the only law school in the United States that hosts Humphrey Fellows.

In 2005 and 2009 Professor Alai was the Director of the International Legal Studies Program. From 1988-1997 Professor Alai was in private practice representing foreign companies in the United States as well as developing country governments. From 1992-1996, she was part of the legal team representing the Government of the Philippines in international commercial arbitration as well as litigation in U.S. courts against Westinghouse Corporation claiming breach of contract and bribery by Westinghouse of then Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.



Areas of Specialization

  • Comparative Law
  • International Business Law
  • International Commercial Arbitation
  • International Trade Law

Degrees & Universities

  • J.D., Harvard Law School 1988
  • B.A., University of Oregon, Robert D. Clark Honors College 1985

  • Selected Publications

    • + More Publications...

    • Books

    • Padideh Ala'i, Brennan, Chao, Humes, Medel, Milton, & Rong, Introduction to the U.S. Legal System (Translated to Chinese) (Research Ctr. of the St. Council of the P.R.C. 1996).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989: A Legal Summary and Analysis (Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue 1989).
    • Other Publications

    • Padideh Ala'i, The WTO and the Anti-Corruption Movement, 6 Loy. U. Chi. Intl. L. Rev. 259 (2009).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Turkey: At Crossroads of Secular West and Traditional East: An Introduction to WCL Symposium, 24 Am. U. Intl. L. Rev. 679 (2009).
    • Padideh Ala'i, From the Periphery to the Center? The Evolving WTO Jurisprudence on Transparency and Good Governance, 4 J. Intl. Econ. L. 779 (Dec. 2008) (reprinted in Redesigning the WTO, Debra Steger, ed. (Winfried Laurier Press, 2010)).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Supra-national Governance and the WTO, NYU School of Law, Institute for International Law & Justice (2008).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Leopold & Morel: A Story of ‘Free Trade’ and ‘Native Rights’ in the Congo Free State, in Trade as a Guarantor of Peace, Liberty and Security? Critical, Historical, and Emprical Perspectives (Ala’i, Broude, & Picker, eds., ASIL Publg. 2006).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Transparency and the Post Cold-War Trading System, in Trends in the World Trade: Essays in Honor of Sylvania Ostry (Alexandroff & Bahla, eds., New Carolina Press 2006).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Developing Legal Benchmarks for Monitoring Implementations of Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements, in Report to Institution Reform and Informal Sector (IRIS) at University of Maryland (Inst. Reform & Informal Sector June 2004).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Controlling Corruption in International Business: The International Legal Framework, in Knowledge for Sustainable Development: An Insight into the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (UNDP/UNESCO Publication Fall 2002).
    • Padideh Ala'i, A Human Rights Critique of the WTO: Some Preliminary Observations, 33 Geo. Wash. Intl. L. Rev. 537 (2001).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Judicial Lobbying at the WTO: The Debate over the Use of Amicus Curiae Briefs and the U.S. Experience, 24 Fordham Intl. L.J. 1 (Nov./Dec. 2000).
    • Padideh Ala'i, The Legacy of Geographical Morality and Colonialism: A Historical Assesment f the Current Crusade Against Corruption, 33 Vand. J. Transnatl. L. 4 (Oct. 2000).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Free Trade or Sustainable Development? An Analysis of the WTO Appellate Body's Shift to a More Balanced Approach to Trade Liberalization, 14 Am. U. Intl. L. Rev. 1129 (1999).
    • Padideh Ala'i Report on the Current Legal Political Structures of West Bank and Gaza ( Dec. 1994) (Unpublished Manuscripts, Submitted to IRIS & USAID).
    • Padideh Ala'i The Paradoxical Nature of the ( 1988) (Unpublished manuscript).
  • + Selected Presentations

    • Padideh Ala'i, Organizer, The Future of Trade Agreements under the Trump Administration (American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Feb. 23, 2017).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panel Discussion Leader, The Rise and Fall of Major Trade Deals (American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Jan. 12, 2017).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Organizer, U.S. Trade Policy at A Crossroads: The Way Forward (Wenger Annual Distinguished Lecture on Trade, Henry E. & Consuelo S. Wenger Foundation, Program on Trade, Investment and Development & WCL Office of Development and Alumni Relations, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Nov. 10, 2016).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panel Discussion Leader, Forget the Past: What Sort of Trade Policy My Country Needs Going Forward (XII Annual Symposium on International Trade, ABCI Institute, Brazilian Embassy, & American University Washington College of Law, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Oct. 27, 2016).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Organizer, The Tenth International Trade and Investment Law Society Program and Distinguished Alumni Dinner (American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Apr. 14, 2016).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Organizer, Gender Equality: Voices from the Golabal South (IIE and the Department of State, American University Washington College of Law, D.C, Apr. 4, 2016).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panel Discussion Leader, The Future of International Trade and Investment Law: A Discussion of Recent Developments and Opportunities for Legal Professionals (American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Feb. 13, 2016).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Co-organizer, ISDS in TTIP: A Discussion on an Appellate Body Mechanism for International Arbitration (Arnold & Porter, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Jan. 28, 2016).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Co-organizer, Navigating EU Law and the Law of International Arbitration (PIOLD, TID, Business Law Program, Center on Commercial Arbitration, and European Law Association, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Nov. 16, 2015).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Co-organizer, Understanding TPP: A Conversation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (ITILS and TID, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Nov. 10, 2015).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panel Discussion Leader, Panel on Trade Policy Now and Beyond the Nairobi Ministerial (XI Annual Symposium on International Trade, presented by ABCI Institute, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Oct. 22, 2015).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panel Discussion Leader, Panel on Trade Policy Now and Beyond the Nairobi Ministerial (XI Annual Symposium on International Trade, presented by ABCI Institute, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Oct. 22, 2015).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Remarks, Remarks on the Award Recipient and Commitment of Law School to Trade Law, Pro Bono Work, and on the New Trade Program Founded by Professor Ala’i (inth Annual Distinguished Alumni Award Dinner, presented by ITILS and WCL, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Apr. 15, 2015).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panel Discussion Leader, The Future of WTO Dispute Settlement and Investor-State Dispute Settlement in the Face of Recent Grassroots and Public Push-Back (Ninth Annual Panel in Honor of Distinguished Alumni, International Trade and Investment Law Society; presented by ITILS and WCL, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Apr. 15, 2015).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panel Discussion Participant, Transparency and Procedural Due Process in International Economic Law (ASIL Annual Meeting, ASIL, D.C., Apr. 10, 2015).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Keynote Speaker, Georgian Crisis in Criminal Justice (American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Mar. 3, 2015).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Organizer, Trade Defense and Remedies: An Update on Brazilian Developments (WCL Program on Trade, Investment and Development, American University Washington College of Law, D.C., Feb. 26, 2015).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Organizer, Moderator, Panelist & Discussant, Exploring the Intersections of Religion and Governance: Past, Present and Future (Sixth Annual Baha’i Conference on Law, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Oct. 10-11, 2008).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Debra Steger, Peter Van den Bossche & William Davey, Organizer & Moderator, Global Governance and the WTO: A Conversation about the Past, Present and Future of the Dispute Settlement Mechanism of the WTO (American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Nov. 2008).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, Trade Liberalization and the Problematic of Corruption in Pursuing Development through Trade (Inaugural Meeting of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL), Geneva, Switz., July 15-17, 2008).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, WTO as a Supra-National Regulatory Body (Fourth Annual Global Administrative Law Conference (GAL IV), Viterbo, Italy, June 13, 2008).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, Current Trends and Developments in International Trade Law (ABA Young Lawyers Division, Apr. 2008).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, Second Annual International Trade & Investment Law Society Award Dinner (American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Mar. 10, 2008).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, Regional Trading Alliances: The US Prespective (Second Annual Meeting of the Emerging Dynamic Global Economies Network, Vancouver, Can., Oct. 15, 2007).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, WTO Reform (Second Annual Meeting of the Emerging Dynamic Global Economies Network, Vancouver, Can., Oct. 15, 2007).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, Interrelationships: International Economic Law and Developing Countries (Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law, International Economic Law Group (IELG), Oct. 4-6, 2006).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, NAFTA and Reginal Integration Specialization (Washington College of Law Founders Celebration Event, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Mar. 2005).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, Trade as Guarantor of Peace, Liberty and Security? (American Society of International Law-International Economic Law Group, American University Washington College of Law Conference, Wash., D.C., Feb. 26-28, 2005).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, Moderated Discussion on Dual JD Programs (Meeting of the WCL-Global Consortium Conference, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Oct. 2004).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, Islamic Commercial Law & Finance (ABA Middle Eastern Law Division, at Fulbright & Jaworski, July 2004).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, Constitutional Reform in Iran (ABA Middle Eastern Division, at Fulbright & Jaworski, June 2004).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, Introduction of Sharia'h Law (ABA Middle Eastern Law Division, at Fulbright & Jaworski, May 2004).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, New World Legal Orders Conference (University of Toronto & Osgoode School of Law, Toronto, Can., Apr. 2004).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, WTO Accession of Jordan and Russia (International Legal Studies Program, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., 2004).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, Legal and Economic Integration and Globalization of the Middle East (ABA International Law and Section Annual Meeting, May 7-10, 2003).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, International Law Standards for Domestic Governance (ASIL Annual Meeting, Apr. 4, 2003).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, Legal Aspects of International Trade Series: Anti-Dumping, Subsidies and Courntervailing Measures (A A Distance Learning Course Sponsored by the World Bank Institute and the WTO, Feb. 26, 2002).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, An Environmentally Friendly WTO? (Environmental Law Society, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Oct. 2001).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, Diversity and International Law (Canadian Council of International Law Annual Conference, Ottawa, Can., Oct. 18-21, 2001).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, Role of Civil Society at the WTO, World Bank and the IMF (Annual Meeting of the American Branch of the International Law Association, N.Y.C., N.Y., Oct. 2001).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, Increasing Disparity between the Rich and Poor: International Law and the Perils of Globilization (Sixth European Bahai Conference on International Law and Order at the Hague, Hague, Neth., Oct. 1, 2001).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, Selected Issues in U.S. and International Trade (University of Haifa, Faculty of Law, Haifa, Isr., May - June 2001).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, What are the Responsibilites of Business in a Global Economy? (International Legal Studies Program Reunion, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Mar. 2001).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, Post Colonial Legal Projects: Use of Theory in Legal Reform (WCL Founders Event, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Apr. 27, 2001).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, Global Trade Issues In the New Millennium (George Washington University Law Center, Wash., D.C., Sept. 22, 2000).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, International Trade/WTO-GATT (International Business Law Program, Universidad Javriana, Bogota, Colum., Sept. 2000).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, Managing Legal and Political Risks in International Business Transactions: International Trade Week (American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., June 21-25, 1999).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Laws (Foreign Law Seminar, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP, Oct. 1998).
    • USIA on Corruption in the Judiciary (World Vision Television July 1998) ().
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, Managing Legal and Political Risk in International Business Transactions (International Trade Week, American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., June - July 1998).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, International Trade/WTO-GATT (International Business Law Program, Universidad Javriana, Bogota, Colum., May 1998).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Panelist, Combating Corruption: Recent Multilateral Initiatives (American University Washington College of Law, Wash., D.C., Apr. 6, 1996).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, Financial Regulations in the United States (Conference Sponsored by Reichler, Milton & Medel for Chinese Government Officials, Wash., D.C., Winter 1993).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, Role of Legal System in a Market Economy (Beijing, P.R.C., July 1993).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Speech, International Commercial Transactions, Seminar on International Commercial Transactions (Havard Law School, Cambridge, Mass., Spring 1993).
    • Padideh Ala'i, Lecture, Enforceability of Arbitral Awards (International Law Institute, Wash., D.C., 1991).