Howard University has a hidden treasure on the West Campus.
Professor Marsha Echols is bringing to students and the School
of Law many opportunities to benefit from her years of experience
in international trade and business. The inter-disciplinary Doha
Roundtable discussions on trade and development and her Project
on International Knowledge, Creativity and Development Law bring
together faculty, students and guests in meetings and research projects
on cutting edge topics, like the proposed new round of multilateral
trade negotiations and commercial law reform in Africa.
And as a Member of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal,
she makes law in addition to her research and teaching about it.
Professor Echols enjoys watching students begin to understand the
complexities of advising clients about international transactions.
"In an international transaction, a lawyer must know the applicable
laws," she says, "but that isnt enough: the whole
context for the treaty or the sale, the investment, the technology
transfer, the financing or the aid is crucial.
"There are often the competing cultures, the nuances of the
languages and subtle business and social implications of what youre
trying to do that require a lawyer to think beyond
what is on the written
page and often to consult with persons in other disciplines. To
me learning international law, while remembering to appreciate these
competing and conflicting interests, adds special twist to this
area of the law."
In her book, "Food safety and the WTO: The Interplay of Science,
Technology and Culture" (Kluwer Law International 2001), Professor
Echols applies her interdisciplinary approach to the study of international
trade rules about food safety. The book was developed from her J.S.D.
dissertation at Columbia Law School.
Until the Doha Roundtable began,
me learning international law, while remembering to appreciate
these competing and conflicting interests, adds special twist
to this area of the law.
her favorite research project with students was the creation of
the Project on International Knowledge, Creativity and Development
Law. This was part of an American, Brazilian, Mozambican and South
African consortium that reviewed the commercial laws of several
countries and advised the government of Mozambique on the findings.
Under Professor Echols supervision Howard law students researched
laws and policies on technology transfer, investment funds, goodwill
and factoring in countries ranging from Kenya and South Africa to
Russia and the United States. She traveled to Mozambique as part
of the consortium to present the findings and later advised the
Law at Eduardo Mondlane
University as Fulbright Senior Specialist.
The Doha Roundtable was created as a forum to discuss the significance
of the proposed new global trade negotiations for developing countries,
the goals to be achieved and the best means for accomplishing these
goals. The first discussion was held in March 2002, with Ambassador
George Moose (Bunche Center), Dr. Ransford Palmer (Economics) and
Professor William Alford (Harvard Law School) presenting papers.
Howard law students, participants from the private sector and other
academics participated in the half-day discussion. Sessions for
next year will probably address intellectual property, services,
agriculture, debt and finance, non-trade issues like environmental
protection, and dispute resolution.
Before joining the HU Law School faculty, Professor Echols was
with a D.C. law firm and also served for a time as Adviser to the
Vice Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission, as well
as Adviser to the Associate Administrator of USDAs Foreign
Agricultural Service. In addition, she was an adjunct professor,
teaching the law of the European Community at the law schools of
the University of Virginia and George Washington University.
With years of study and work in Brussels and Geneva behind her,
Professor Echols has law degrees from Georgetown University Law
Center, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Columbia Law School. She
is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Howard University, where she majored