Meet the Faculty: Professor Andrew Spalding
School of Law welcomes Andrew Spalding, Assistant Professor of Law
February 21, 2013
During the fall semester, the School of Law welcomed to the faculty Andrew Spalding, Assistant Professor of Law. Professor Spalding teaches and writes in the area of international business law, and his scholarship focuses on anti-corruption law.
Spalding is a senior editor of the FCPA Blog, a widely consulted website devoted to the subject of anti-corruption compliance and enforcement, and his research has been covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist, Atlantic, Forbes, and National Public Radio. He received his J.D. from University of Nevada in Las Vegas and a Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has served as a lecturer, panelist, or invited keynote speaker at over two dozen conferences and meetings on international business and anti-corruption law topics.
Spalding said he was interested in joining the faculty at the School of Law because of its eagerness to develop international programs. He was also drawn to the quality of the faculty. He explained, "By quality, I mean not just their academic productivity, but the character of the faculty. There's a brightness and a genuinely stimulating feeling about the place." He said the faculty was unique in their infectious enthusiasm and vigor for legal academics when compared to other law schools.
Spalding also liked the small size of the school. He added, "It's great because I really get to know the students and have lots of opportunities to interact with them inside and outside of the classroom." Spalding currently teaches International Business, Transactions, Anti-Bribery Seminar, Comparative Business Law, and Contracts at the law school.
When asked about his plans to foster the law school's international mission, Spalding said he would like to bring more foreign exchange students into the classroom. "[My exchange students] have been absolutely invaluable." He has worked with students from countries such as Italy, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and France. He added, "Their perspectives, informed by culture and by their own legal education, were really valuable in classes focusing on international issues."
Spalding is also interested in expanding opportunities for faculty members to teach abroad. He explained, "In my field—international business law—the opportunity to visit different cultures and talk to practitioners, students, and faculty is priceless." This spring, Spalding is traveling to Germany to teach a seminar on anti-corruption law at the University of Mannheim. Before joining the law school, he taught intensive short courses on international business transactions and other legal topics to practicing lawyers in Beijing, China, through the Beijing Lawyers Association. Spalding also plans to travel to Slovenia and South Africa later this year.
Before joining the School of Law, Spalding worked at a major international law firm in Washington, DC, where he had the opportunity to handle a variety of international cases. He explained, "It was very easy to see there that what was happening—in particularly developing countries—was historic. The firm had an established China practice, a budding India practice, a Russia practice, and you could see that these countries were being utterly transformed by the practice of business, and business law was a big part of it."
He said his practical experience made him realize that he wanted to devote his career to focusing on international law. "As I got to see the landscape of the field better, I came to think that anti-corruption law, which is my research area, was going to be important, and it was a poorly understood area of the law." He added, "I tried to specialize in that piece of international business and its transformative impact on the world."
After practicing in DC, Spalding spent a year as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in Mumbai, India, where he had the opportunity to travel across India and into Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates to conduct research and lecture at law and business schools. He focused on studying the impact of anti-corruption laws on foreign direct investment in developing countries such as India. In addition to teaching and writing, Spalding said he had the opportunity to interact with practitioners, which he finds to be an important part of his research. He explained, "Even today, my research involves talking to practitioners. I think of myself as being in an area that bridges the divide between the academy and practice, and that's both exciting and challenging."
Spalding hopes to incorporate the practitioner's perspective into the classroom, which, he says, is becoming easier to do with video conferencing technologies.
Spalding also said he hopes his students will come to appreciate that international business is transforming the world in historic ways. He explained, "We live in a time where following the collapse of communism, the lowering of trade barriers, the global consensus on promoting trade in the free market system, and technologies that make communication easier, international business is thriving as it never has before. What we're seeing is the reduction in poverty in developing countries on a scale that's unprecedented in history. It's exciting—as you travel through particularly the developing countries—you see that the world is being transformed. And the engine of that transformation is, by and large, business." He said students today not only have the opportunity to study these historic changes occurring in the world, but they can participate in them through practice. He added that jobs are available in the field of international business law, and he encourages his students to take advantage of practical opportunities.
During his year in India, Professor Spalding began writing on the topic of FCPA, the anti-corruption law, which led to publishing his work on the FCPA Blog, a website that has a readership of more than 500,000 people from more than 150 countries. He said the blog gives him the opportunity to broadcast his ideas to a wide audience. "I like it on a number of levels—it keeps me engaged in the practice of law, it allows me to share my ideas in a way that seems relevant and useful to practitioners, and it forces me to develop a new language—a new voice." Spalding currently serves as a senior editor of the FCPA Blog.
Spalding is also active in the American Society of International Law (ASIL) and encourages his students to get involved with the organization. He and a colleague created an anti-corruption interest group, which he said would offer students opportunities to participate.
Spalding reflected on his teaching position at the law school by saying, "Almost everything I do in this job, I do from the heart—the teaching, the research—I have an extraordinary sense of feeling in my niche here, and feel very stimulated."