Vivian Curran

Distinguished Professor of Law

In 2022, the American Society of Comparative Law awarded Professor Vivian Curran its Lifetime Achievement Award. The prize honors “living senior comparativists whose writings have changed the shape or direction of American comparative or private international law.” It is in “recognition of lifetime extraordinary scholarly contributions to comparative law in the United States.” She is also a co-editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Comparative Law. Professor Curran serves as Vice-President of the International Academy of Comparative Law and past  President of the American Society of Comparative Law. She is a member of the American Law Institute and is also president of the North-American Section of the Société de Législation Comparée. She is also also Correspondante étrangère de UMR 8103 ISJPS (CNRS/Université Panthéon-Sorbonne) and a member of the University of Paris I (Sorbonne’s) Institute of Legal and Philosophical Sciences’ Center of Comparative Law and Internationalization of Law.

She was decorated in 2007 by the Republic of Austria for her work as the United States appointee to the Austrian General Settlement Fund Committee for Nazi-era property compensation and in 2013 by the government of France as a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques for her services in the promotion of the French language and culture in the United States. She has published widely in the field of comparative and international law.

Curran has given talks at universities in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and Holland. Her articles have appeared in such publications as the Notre Dame Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, le Recueil Dalloz, Boston College Law Review, Alberta Law Review, the American Journal of Comparative Law, La Revue internationale de droit comparé, the American Journal of International Law, Columbia Journal of European Law, Cornell International Law Journal, and as chapters in numerous books, including one co-edited by Justice Stephen Breyer. 

    Education & Training

  • JD, Columbia University
  • MPhil, Columbia University
  • MA, Columbia University
  • BA, University of Pennsylvania
Recent Publications


  • "POROSTÉS DU DROIT/LAW’S POROSITIES (Société de législation comparée, Paris, 2020)
  • Comparative Law: An Introduction, (Carolina Academic Press, 2002).
  • Learning French Through the Law: A French/English Comparative Treatment of Terms in a Legal Context, (Columbia University, Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law & Juris Publishing, Inc., 1996).
  • Core Questions Of Comparative Law, (English translation of Bernhard Großfeld’s Kernfragen der Rechtsvergleichung, Carolina Academic Press, 2005).

Articles, Chapters, Other:

  • Amicus Brief to D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Simon v. Republic of Hungary (filed December, 2022), available here.
  • Musings on Private Law -Public Law Taxonomies in Comparative Law (symposium piece, with publisher, forthcoming).
  • Nazi Stolen Art: Uses and Misuses of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, TRANSNATIONAL LAW AND CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS (forthcoming, 2023), available at
  • Harmoniser la common law et le droit civil en un jus commune universalisable, 2022 Revue De Science Criminelle 243 (2022).
  • Mireille Delmas-Marty: Humaniste Incomparable, 74 REVUE INTERNATIONALE DE DROIT COMPARE 31 (2022).
  • Addressing Member State Deviations from EU Foundational Values and the Rule of Law, GLOBAL COMMUNITY YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE 145-176 (Oxford University Press, peer-reviewed, 2022), available on SSRN
  • L’utilité du droit comparé, in ACTES DU COLLOQUE DE 100 ANS DE L’INSTITUT EDOUARD LAMBERT (ed., Frédérique Ferrand, 2022) available on ssrn at:
  • L’Europe face aux défis de pluralismes inattendus, CHEMINER AVEC MIREILLE DELMAS-MARTY 195 ( ed.s Geneviève Giudicelli-Delage et al., Mare et Martin, 2022). Available at:
  • Appraising the U.S. Supreme Court’s Philipp Decision, 83 Pitt. L. Rev. 304 (2021), available at
  • A French Language International Arbitration Course for U.S. Law Students, in STATE OF ARBITRATION: ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF GEORGE BERMANN (ed.s, Julie Bedard & Patrick Pearsall) (Juris, 2022).
  • The Un-Common Law, in A COSMOPOLITAN JURISPRUDENCE. ESSAYS IN MEMORY OF H. PATRICK GLENN (Helge Dedek, Oliver Twining, ed.s, Cambridge University Press, 2021), available on SSRN at
  • Federal Rule 44.1: Foreign Law in U.S. Courts Today, 30 Minn. J. Int’l. L. 231 (2020).
  • Critiquing Günter Frankenberg’s Comparative Law As Critique, 21 (2) German L.J. 304 (2020).
  • Contributed to U.S. Supreme Court brief in Sovereign Immunities Philipp and Simon cases (October, 2020).
  • The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act’s Evolving Genocide Exception 23 UCLA J. Int’L L & For. Aff. 46 (2019).
  • Comparative Law and Language, in THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF COMPARATIVE LAW, 681-709 (Mathias Reimann & Reinhard Zimmermann, ed.s,, Oxford University Press, 2d. ed., 2019).
  • One of ten international law professors to write amicus brief to California Supreme Court in Rockefeller Technology (Asia) Investments VII, v Changzhoiu SinoType Technology Co., Ltd., Case No. S249923 (2019).
  • La responsabilisation des entreprises (avec Kathia Martin-Chenut), in Delmas-Marty, M.,Martin-Chenut, K. & Perruso, C. (eds.), SUR LES CHEMINS D’UN JUS COMMUNE UNIVERSALISABLE (Paris, Mare et Martin, coll. ISPJS, 2021).
  • Les origines de la common law, ce droit peu commun”, in Delmas-Marty, M.,Martin-Chenut, K. & Perruso, C. (ed.s), SUR LES CHEMINS D’UN JUS COMMUNE UNIVERSALISASBLE (Paris, Mare et Martin, coll. ISPJS, 2021).
  • The Civil Law, in BLACKWELL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SOCIOLOGY (2d ed., 2019).
  • Editor (with Franklin A. Gevurtz) of U.S. National Reports XXth General Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law Fukuoka, Japan, 2018, 66 AM.J. COMP. L. SUPP. 1. (2018).
  • U.S. Discovery in a Transnational and Digital Age and the Increasing Need for Comparative Law, 51 U. Akron L. Rev. 857 (2017).
  • Law and Human Suffering: A Slice of Life in Vichy France, 28 J. L. & Lit. 65 (2017).
  • Traduction ou Trahison 9 CIVIL L. FORUM 126 (2016).
  • United States Discovery and Foreign Blocking Statutes, 75 LA. L. Rev. 1141 (2016).
  • Le juge national américain et le droit de l’environnement, in PRENDRE LA RESPONSABILITE AU SERIEUX (Alain Supiot & Mireille Delmas-Marty, ed.s, Presses universitaires de France, 2015).
  • Les nouveaux défis de la globalisation pour le droit comparé : baliser entre contre-courants, in LE DROIT COMPARE AU XXIE, Bénédicte Fauvarque-Cosson, ed.(Société de législation comparée, 2015)
  • Evolving French Memory Laws in Light of Greece’s 2014 Anti-Racism Law, in REVIEWS & CRITICAL COMMENTARY (CRITCOM), Council for European Studies, on SSRN.
  • La jurisprudence récente de la Cour suprême des Etats-Unis en matière d’extraterritorialité et autres questions d’importance internationale, 43 RECUEIL DALLOZ 2473 (11 Dec.2014).
  • The Use, Abuse, and Non-Use of International Law in the United States and France (with William M. Carter, Jr.), in REVISITING VAN GEND EN LOOS, Hélène Ruiz-Fabri et al., ed.s (2014).
  • At the Crossroads of Law and Society: The Trial of Mendel Beilis, 28 J. Law & Lit. 87 (2016)
  • Harmonizing Multinational Parent Company Liability for Foreign Subsidiary Human Rights Violations, 17 Chi. J. Intl' L. 403 (2017).
  • Reviving Human Rights Legislation after Kiobel (with David Sloss),  107 Am. J. Int’l L. 858 (2013).
  • From Nuremberg to Freetown: Historical Antecedents of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in  The Sierra Leone Special Court And Its Legacy: The Impact For Africa And International Criminal Law (ed., Charles Jalloh, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014).
  • Mass Torts and Universal Jurisdiction,  34 U. Pa. J. Int'l. L. 799(2013).
  • Extraterritoriality, Universal Jurisdiction and the Challenge of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 28 Md. J. Int'l. L.  _76 (2013).
  • Hermann Kantorowicz: A Son of the Nineteenth Century Speaks to the Twenty-First,  _ German L.J. _ .
  • La politique, la Cour suprême américaine et les droits de l’homme à l’aune du droit international, in Elections Americaines. Un Bilan 157 (ed., Julian Fernandez, Pédone, 2013).
  • Book review, Gilles Cuniberti, Grands Systemes De Droit Contemporains (2e éd. 2011), 61 Am. J. Comp. L. 721 (2013).
  • La Formation des juristes aux États-Unis, in  Les Professions Juridiques, Journees Cambodge-Vietnam, Tome LXI/2011, Travaux De l'Association Henri Capitant (Bruylant & LB2V).
  • Symposium Remarks on the Alien Tort Statute and the Corporate Defendant, 43 Georgetown Journal of International Law (2012).
  • Balancing Freedom of Expression and Human Rights in FranceJurist (Feb. 2012).
  • History, Memory and Law,  16 Roger Williams L. Rev. 100 (2011).
  • Les Mécanismes de Compétence Universelle au Service de la Protection de l’Environnement, Regards Croisés Sur l’Internationalisation du Droit: France- Etats-Unis 223-230 (Mireille Delmas-Marty & Stephen Breyer, eds., Société de Législation Comparée, 2009).
  • l’Internationalisation, Entre Droit Comparé et Droit Intermational: Regard d’une Comparatiste, Regards Croisés Sur l’Internationalisation du Droit: France-États-Unis 119-131 (Mireille Delmas-Marty & Stephen Breyer, eds., Société de Législation Comparée, 2009).
  • Comparative Law and the Legal Origins Thesis: '[N] On Scholae Sed Vitae Discimus,' 57 American Journal of Comparative Law (2009). On SSRN.
  • Voices Saved from Vanishing, 70 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 435 (2009), available on SSRN.
  • Legal Developments in France and the United States in the Era of Globalization, European Union Center of Excellence Newsletter (Feb. 2009).
  • La Sécurité Juridique à l'Ere de la Mondialisation 110 La Revue du Notariat 311 (2008).
  • Globalization, Legal Transnationalization and Crimes Against Humanity: The Lipietz Case, 36 American J. Comparative Law 363 (2008). Available on SSRN.
  • The Pursuit of Law, Harmonizing Law in an Era of Globalization: Convergence, Divergence, and Resistance, (Larry Backer, ed., Carolina Academic Press, 2007).
  • Book Review of Le Droit Sous Vichy (Durand et al., eds., 2006), 7 H-France Review 141 (Nov. 2007).
  • Standing on the Shoulders of Schlesinger: The Trento Common Core of European Private Law Project, Opening Up European Law (Mauro Bussani & Ugo Mattei, eds., 2007). Previously published in 11 Eur. J. Private L. 66 (2003), 2 Global Jurist Frontiers 2, (2002).
  • Translation and Annotation of Lipietz c. Préfet de la Haust-Garonne, Tribunal Administratif de Toulouse, (June 6, 2006).
  • Book Review of Mireille Delmas-Marty, Globalisation Économique et Universalisme des Droits de l'Homme, 4 Revue de Sciences Criminelles et Droit Pénal Comparé (2006).
  • Re-Membering Law in the Internationalizing World, 34 Hofstra L. Rev. 93 (2005). Available on SSRN.
  • Beyond the Digest, translation from the French of Claude Witz [original title in English] (volume of proceedings of University of Pittsburgh conference on the Vienna Convention, February 2003, Ronald Brand et al. eds.).
  • Politicizing the Crime Against Humanity: The French Example, 78 Notre Dame Law Review 677 (2003) (available on SSRN), to be published in condensed version under the title Politicizing the Crime Against Humanity in France’s Courts in Law and Critique (forthcoming).
  • On the Shoulders of Schlesinger: The Trento Common Core of European Private Law Project, Opening Up European Law (Mauro Bussani & Ugo Mattei, eds., 2007). Available on SSRN.
  • Comparative Law and Language, Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law (Mathias Reimann & Reinhard Zimmermann eds., Oxford University Press, 2006). Available on SSRN and bepress.
  • A Comparative Perspective on the CISG, Drafting Contracts Under the CISG (Ronald Brand & Harry Flechtner eds., Oxford University Press, 2007).
  • l’Enseignement du Droit Aux États-Unis: Réflexion sur l’Actualité, University of Pittsburgh School of Law Working Paper Series, Working Paper 34, 
    available on bepress.
  • The Role of Foreign Languages for Transnational Legal Education, 23 Penn State Int'l L. Rev. 779 (2005). Available on SSRN.
  • Law's Past and Europe's Future, 6 German L.J. 483 (2005).
  • Racism's Past and Law's Future, 28 Vermont L. Rev. 683 (2004). Available on SSRN.
  • The Politics of Memory/Erinnerungspolitik and the Use and Propriety of Law in the Process of Memory Construction, 14 L. & Critique 309 (2003). Available on press.
  • On the Shoulders of Schlesinger: The Trento Common Core of European Common Law Project, 11 European Journal of Private Law 66 (2003). Available on SSRN.
  • Politicizing the Crime Against Humanity: The French Example, 78 Notre Dame L. Rev. 677 (2003). Available on SSRN.

Selected Presentations:

  • April 20, 2023: Moderated panel at conference on “Modern Legal Education and the Unmaking of American Lawyers,” University of Pittsburgh Law School.
  • April 11, 2023: “The Ongoing Struggle to Recover Nazi-Looted Art,” as both speaker and panel organizer in Pitt EU Center's “Conversations on Europe” series.
  • November 3, 2022: “U.S. Law and Nazi Stolen Art Cases” (by Zoom to SOAR course for older student education, Detroit)
  • October 26, 2022: chaired session on “Liability of Credit Rating Agencies,” International Academy of Comparative Law, Paraguay.
  • September 22, 2022: Taxonomies of Public and Private Law in Comparative Law, Trento University Faculty of Law, Italy.
  • July 4, 2022: “A la croisée des systèmes juridiques » (« At the Intersection of Legal Systems »), Paris conference Cheminer avec Mireille Delmas-Marty, July 4, 2022, available at…
  • April 22, 2022: “Europe and Its Travails” Pitt Law Faculty Scholarship Presentation.
  • April 8, 2022: “Transnational Discovery of E-Evidence,” American Society of International Law panel presentation, Washington, D.C.
  • October 7, 2021: Keynote speaker: Edouard Laboulaye Conference, Lyon, France (“L’utilité du droit comparé”) (by zoom).
  • April 8, 2021: A Critique of the Current Genocide Exception to Foreign Sovereign Immunity, Foreign Sovereign Immunity Conference, Pitt Law School, April 8, 2021 (co-organizer of the conference).
  • December 15, 2020: presentation at conference on the “Uses of Comparative Law in French Institutions” (Les usages du droit comparé dans les institutions françaises), at the Sorbonne's Institute for Juridical and Philosophical Sciences (Institut des sciences juridique et philosophique de la Sorbonne) (by zoom).
  • December 4, 2020: “Applying Comparative Law to Civil Procedure” is the kick-off speech to the conference on comparative law and civil procedure at Max Planck Institute, Luxembourg (zoom).
  • October 2020: Panel chair and speaker, Développements récents en droit français, the annual conference of American Society of Comparative Law, by Zoom, UCLA, October 15, 2020.
  • Moderator, Panel on plea bargaining, Conference on “Comparing Comparisons,” Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, Germany, November 11, 2019.
  • Speaker on “Meeting Great Expectations: Is the French Duty of Vigilance Law a Case for Innovation?” at Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development, World Bank, Washington, D.C., November 5, 2019.
  • Invited Commentator for Junior Scholar Paper, “The Jurisdictional Vacuum for Transnational Corporate Human Rights Claims,” Annual Conference, American Society of Comparative Law, University of Missouri, October 17-19, 2019.
  • “Le défi de la responsabilistaion des entreprises multinationales à l’aune de l’effondrement de l’Alien Tort Statute et des procécédés de litige de aux États-Unis, » Congrès de l’Institut des Amériques, October 10, 2019, Paris.
  • Invited Commentator at Princeton-Illinois Comparative Law Workshop of younger comparatist paper, June 3, 2019.
  • Moderated Vice-Provost for Graduate Studies’ Meeting on Graduate Student Unionization, March 26, 2019, University of Pittsburgh.
  • Spoke at Provost’s Advisory Committee on Women’s Concerns Celebration to address newly promoted women faculty, March 6, 2019.
  • “European Post-War Measures in Dealing with Hate,” at post-Tree of Life massacre panel of Dean Blee, December, 2018
  • “Competing European Narratives of the Past and Governance Issues of the Present,” at Symposium on Comparative Governance in Europe, University of Pittsburgh, November 9, 2018.
Research Interests

Comparative Law
Transnational Law
International Human Rights
Estates and Trusts
Law and Language