Welcome to 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.

The 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 Program has established a special bond with members of Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF) and Superior Tribunal of Justice (STJ). STF ministers who have participated in programs at WCL include Ministers Gilmar Mendes, Teorí Zavascki, Cármen Lúcia, Luís Roberto Barroso and the current president of the STF, José Antonio Dias Toffoli. Visitors from the STJ have included Ministers João Otávio de Noronha, Luís Felipe Salomão, Paulo de Tarso Sanseverino, Ricardo Villas Bôas Cueva, Francisco Falcão, Marco Buzzi, Paulo Dias de Moura Ribeiro, Sebastião Reis Junior, Antonio Carlos Ferreira and Raul Araújo Filho. Another prominent Brazilian Judge to address an audience at the Law School was Federal Judge Sergio Moro, the trial judge handling the Operation Carwash (Lava Jato) case. Judge Moro served as Minister of Justice in the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Program Features

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 AUWCL and Brazil in such areas as international commercial arbitration, intellectual property, environmental law and human rights.

Upcoming Events

October 5, 2021       

Speaker, Virtual “American Procedural Law: A Comparative View”, Masters Graduate Program in Social Relations & Labor Law, University of the Federal District (Brasilia).

November 4, 2021  

Speaker, Virtual – International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) – Judge Messitte is scheduled to address Commercial Court Judges of Rio de Janeiro & São Paulo on the topic Arbitration and the Courts in the U.S.

November 18, 2021

Coordinated by Judge Messitte and Dean Oscar Vilhena Vieira, American University Washington College of Law & Law School of Getúlio Vargas Foundation (Fundação Getúlio Vargas / São Paulo) – Virtual Seminar on Comparative Labor Law – Brazil & the U.S. Among the participants will be Minister Maria Cristina Peduzzi, the President of the Superior Labor Court of Brazil (TST), other Ministers of the TST, as well as distinguished professors and practitioners in Brazil and the US, specialized in Labor Law.