About the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade
Founded in 1992, the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade (NatLaw) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and legal reform institution affiliated with the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona. NatLaw is dedicated to:
- Comparative-commercial law normative (civil and common law) and socio economic empirical research of uncompromising quality and integrity
- Drafting of civil and common law commercial statutes, treaties and model laws inspired by good faith (honest, reasonable and fair) standard and best practices with an objectively verifiable impact on economic development
- Highest quality contextual, comparative commercial law training of legislators, judges, law professors and students, practicing lawyers and international businesses (big and small).
Over the past 23 years, under the leadership of Founding Director Dr. Boris Kozolchyk, NatLaw has built a stellar reputation within the international community as a leading provider of legal reform services, ranging from researching, drafting, and assisting with the implementation of model commercial laws and regulations, to judicial reform and training. NatLaw's staff and roster of professionals includes some of the world's most recognized experts in the area of comparative commercial law, and NatLaw's research covers many substantive areas of commercial law, including: alternative dispute resolution, banking, bankruptcy, business formation and associations, competition law and policy, customs, electronic commerce, microfinance, intellectual property, investment securities, judicial reform and training, labor, products liability, real estate, securitization, secured transactions, and transportation.
NatLaw has been retained repeatedly by the most prestigious international institutions in the world, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the United States Agency for International Development, to name a few. Though NatLaw was originally formed to assist with implementation of NAFTA, NatLaw has grown beyond the scope of its name, and is now performing scholarship and project work that is reshaping legal systems in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
For over two decades, NatLaw has served as a special consultant to the U.S. State Department in a wide variety of international commercial law matters impacting communities around the globe, and has served as the U.S. State Department's representative to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law as well as part of the U.S. Delegation to the NAFTA 2022 Committee. In addition, NatLaw has worked for, or on behalf of, foreign governments and NGOs in Latin America (Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, and Honduras), in Africa (Malawi, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Zambia) and more recently in Asia (China, Japan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Pakistan), assisting with the development and implementation of legal reforms designed to harmonize laws and rules of practice that promote economic development within those countries.
The creation of reliable and harmonized legal structures for business has a profound and very practical impact on daily life around the globe. NatLaw's secured transaction law reforms allow small and medium-sized businesses to use their inventory, equipment, accounts receivable, and contract rights as collateral for loans, enabling businesses to obtain the financing they need to grow. A reliable lien registry gives investors and lenders confidence that their security interests are protected, resulting in a willingness to lend. These legal reforms permit the growth of credit for small and medium-sized businesses, fostering a better standard of living through increased productivity of both people and capital.
In addition, harmonized documentation, such as invoices, drafts, bills of lading, and warehouse receipts, whether as parts of letters of credit or of "supply chain financing" transactions, protects buyers, sellers, and lenders in the cross-border shipment of goods and services. These reforms foster economic growth by building institutional trust and facilitating intranational and international business transactions that knit together companies and people across the globe.
NatLaw has convened many important international conferences, both in Tucson and around the globe, on its own behalf and on behalf of various national governments or international organizations. In addition, NatLaw hosts professional training and other capacity building programs, all of which are deemed practical extensions of its legal reform agenda. NatLaw's professional training efforts have included many programs conducted in Mexico (Criminal Oral Trial Training, Competition Law Training), Colombia (Bankruptcy Law and Oral Trial Training), and Honduras (Secured Transactions Law Training).
Going forward under the direction of new Executive Director Professor Don De Amicis, NatLaw desires to build on its existing professional training expertise and explore new opportunities, with the goal of institutionalizing the training programs to create repeatable processes and materials, and expanding the scope of its training activities to cover all of the countries where NatLaw performs project work.