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Wednesday November 22, 2000

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Hands-on project gives UA law students experience

By Mindy Jones

Arizona Daily Wildcat

International trade teaches students clarity

Students in the international transactions law course at the UA's James E. Rogers College of Law have been elicited by the U.S. government to help them with international policies.

The class, composed of both undergraduate and graduate students, will review guidelines required for letters of credit provided by banks for international trading and transactions.

The graduate course's professor, Boris Kozolchyk, was employed by the U.S. Council on International Banking in 1993, and helped to review these standards as a U.S. representative for the International Chamber of Commerce.

At that time, one of the major provisions made to the international banking practices was that any documents presented by the seller should match the bank's letter of credit.

Mina Goldberg, an employee of the National Law Center for International Trade explained the differences between a buyer and a seller in regards to over-seas transactions.

"One way in which you conduct a transaction is that you go to your bank, deposit your money and they send a letter of credit to the seller at the other end," she said. "The bank vouches that you are good for the payment, but if the package of materials you send to the seller's bank is inaccurate, the transaction won't take place."

It is this "package of materials" that the ICC asked students to review.

Although employees of the law center participated in the review of guidelines for a set of practices instituted for trade relations between Mexico and the United States in 1995, this is the first time students' aid is being enlisted.

The litigation over disputed supporting materials, Kozolchyk said, went down drastically after the UA department got involved.

Earlier this year, the ICC conducted a follow-up examination where they asked the 120 nations involved to compare and comment on the changes made in 1993 and 1995.

Kozolchyk, an Evo Deconcini professor of law, saw this as a learning opportunity for his class.

"This is an interesting project for the students," he said. "It is the only place in the world that this is happening in the classroom, and so not many students are exposed to this process."

Since the beginning of the semester, the students have reviewed the airway bill, which defines the set of processes used in international transactions where goods are shipped by plane.

The students have made recommendations to the ICC including creating a definition section within the documents, where terminology is clarified for participating parties.

With the help of Ken Greenfield, a retired corporate lawyer and auditor member of the class, the students will continue to review other documents later in the semester.

"The students will work on shipping laws and letters of credit which are the glue of international trade," Greenfield said. "The ICC defines these laws, and we are helping them with it."

Salvador Orofino, a student coordinator and third-year law student, assists Kozolchyk in interpreting the regulations to the other students.

Kozolchyk added that having students, specifically those from different countries' has given the class an edge that the nation's delegates do not have.

"Having students versus practitioners adds another dimension because we are removed from the bias of the workplace," Orofino said. "We have an incentive to be as objective and inclusive as possible."

A meeting has been set up by the ICC in Turkey during the Thanksgiving weekend to determine whether the UA should continue their review of the processes.

At last notice, Kozolchyk added, the ICC was pleased with the student's work and hoped they would continue researching until further notice.