Cooley professor extends relationship with Serbia and Slovak Republic

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by Cynthia Price
Legal News

The University of Belgrade, though a Fulbright Scholarship, will reward Cooley Professor Paul Carrier for his expertise in East-Central European culture and legal systems by sponsoring an academic-year visit to the beautiful Serbian capital this fall.

That will follow closely on the heels of a grant to study the Slovak language in Bratislava, an equally beautiful capital city in Slovakia, which Carrier just completed,

Both cities are familiar to Carrier from work and scholarly study he did before starting at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, as are the legal systems of both countries.

These opportunities cap a year which Carrier already regarded as significant because he received tenure back in March. (See Grand Rapids Legal News, March 14, 2012.)
Looking back at Carrier’s education and career, his continued relationship with these East-Central European countries is not surprising.

An incredibly learned man, Carrier started out his academic career by receiving a B.A. in Economics and English Literature of the University of Michigan in 1985. He spent the year after that studying French language and culture at the  Université de Franche Comté a Besançon et le Centre de Linguistiques Appliqués in France before returning to Michigan to attend Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law, graduating summa cum laude in 1991 with his law degree.

He then augmented his credentials by attending Washington D.C.’s Georgetown University Law Center, first doing post-degree study in Florence, on International Commercial Law and European Union Law, and then graduating with distinction in 1995, with an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law.

His career both during and after his law study reflected a similar pattern, He clerked in the Corporate Transactions Group of the Ford Motor Company while in law school,
followed by approximately a year as a research attorney for the Michigan Court of Appeals. 

From 1992 through 1994, he served as Law Clerk for Michigan Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Comstock Riley, who was then Chief Justice (until 1993).

After an assistantship to Georgetown University’s Prof. Don Wallace, Jr. allowed him to focus on international government procurement issues, and he taught a course in the subject as part of pursuing his LL.M., Carrier earned his first Fulbright as  a Senior Teaching Scholar at the Comenius University in Slovakia.

Carrier stayed on there from June 1997-June 2000, teaching at the Institute for International Relations and Law at Comenius.

A job working for Squire, Sanders and Dempsey LLP, a truly international law firm with offices across Europe, Asia, and the United States, kept him in Bratislava until 2001, after which he moved to Prague in the Czech Republic to work for Lovells. That position with the British-German law firm which has since merged to become Hogan Lovells lasted until he joined the Cooley faculty in 2003.

The subjects Carrier teachers at Cooley reflect his background: European Union Law, Public International Law, Advanced Practice Skills - International Law; Modern International Contract Law and Practice; International Business Law; and assistance with International Criminal Law. He also teaches Property I and II.

The list of his presentations and, in particular, his publications including short articles is impressive and lengthy, often done collaboratively.

He is also the faculty advisor to the Moot Court Competition and was co-director of the Foreign Study in Toronto Program in 2007 and 2008.

It is unusual to receive two Fulbright Scholarships, but Carrier’s relations with Fulbright do not end there. Since 2000, he has assisted the Program Director of Slovakia's Fulbright Commission, currently Mária Paniaková, with assessing the proposals from Slovak candidates for obtaining Fulbrights in the U.S., in the area of law. “I was chairman of the Nominating Committee, by appointment of the U.S. Ambassador to the Slovak Republic, in 2000,” Carrier points out.

His activities in  the region will be facilitated by the intensive month-long study of the Slovak language with Comenius University Philosophy Faculty's Studia Academica Slovaca he has just undergone in Bratislava, Slovak Republic. The Ministry of education, science, research and sport of Slovak Republic sponsored his participation. The Aug. 4-26 session included a cultural field trip and networking with other participants from a wide variety of countries.

“My translators along with law students working at my law firm were my lifeline back when I worked for Squire Sanders in Bratislava,” Carrier comments, “and I continue to aid former colleagues, official legal translators in Slovak Republic, with legal translation questions.”

Carrier was already fluent in conversational Slovak, and peppers his emails with Slovakian phrases, favoring “srdacni pozdravi,” which means best wishes.

All of this leads up to his 8-month associate professorship at the University of Belgrade. He will draw on his researched knowledge and a long list of special skills acquired while at Squire Sanders: international syndicated financing, anti-monopoly authority filings, and dual-nation transactions, to teach international law. The prestigious university was founded in 1808.

His expenses are fully paid while there, although he has to pay for his own transportation.

Carrier’s position at the University of Belgrade starts on Oct. 1.