Paul B. Stephan

  • John C. Jeffries, Jr., Distinguished Professor of Law
  • David H. Ibbeken '71 Research Professor of Law

Paul B. Stephan is an expert on international business, international dispute resolution and comparative law, with an emphasis on Soviet and post-Soviet legal systems. In addition to writing prolifically in these fields, Stephan has advised governments and international organizations, taken part in cases in the Supreme Court of the United States, the federal courts, and various foreign judicial and arbitral proceedings, and lectured to professionals and scholarly groups around the world on issues raised by the globalization of the world economy. During 2006-07, he served as counselor on international law in the U.S. Department of State, and in 2020-21 as special counsel to the general counsel in the Department of Defense. He was a coordinating reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement (Fourth) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States. Other interests for Stephan, who joined the University of Virginia’s law faculty in 1979, include taxation and constitutional law.

Stephan received his B.A. and M.A. from Yale University in 1973 and 1974, respectively, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1977. Before returning to Virginia, he clerked for Judge Levin Campbell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. He has taught as a visiting professor at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations, the University of Vienna, Münster University, Lausanne University, Melbourne University, University of Pantheon-Assas (Paris II), Sciences Po, Paris I, the Interdisciplinary Centre Herzliya, Sydney University, the Peking University School of Transnational Law in Shenzhen, China, and the University of Tartu’s Pärna College. He also has visited at Columbia Law School and Duke Law School, and served as a scholar in residence in the London office of Wilmer Hale.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Stephan took part in a variety of projects involving law reform in former socialist states. He worked in Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Albania and Slovakia on behalf of the U.S. Treasury and in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan on behalf of the International Monetary Fund. He also organized training programs for tax administrators and judges from all of the formerly socialist countries under the auspices of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. His casebook on international business is used at law schools both in the United States and abroad. He is the co-author, with Robert Scott, of The Limits of Leviathan: Contract Theory and the Enforcement of International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2006). His current research interests include the legal challenges posed by big data and a book called The Crisis in International Law – System Shocks, National Populism, and the Battle for the World Economy.

Scholarship Profile: Where Tax and International Law Converge (Virginia Journal 2000)


  • J.D.
    University of Virginia School of Law
  • M.A.
    Yale University
  • B.A.
    Yale University


Comparative International Law (editor with Anthea Roberts, Pierre-Hugues Verdier and Mila Versteeg) (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Doing Business in Emerging Markets: A Transactional Course (Foundation Press: New York, 2d ed. 2015) (with Richard N. Dean and James W. Skelton, Jr.), (Foundation Press: New York, 2010) (with Richard N. Dean).

Foreign Court Judgments and the United States Legal System (editor) (Brill Nijhoff, 2014).

International Trade and Investment (LexisNexis, 2011).

International Business and Economics: Law and Policy with 1994 Supp. (with Julie A. Roin and Don Wallace Jr.) (LexisNexis, 1993; 2d ed. 1996; 3d ed. 2004;.4th ed. 2010).

Economics of European Union Law (editor) (Edward Elgar, 2007).

The Limits of Leviathan: Contract Theory and the Enforcement of International Law (with Robert E. Scott) (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

The Law and Economics of the European Union (with Ben DePoorter and Francesco Parisi) (LexisNexis, 2003).

Legal Reform in Post-Communist Europe: The View from Within (editor with Stanislaw Frankowski) (Martinus Nijhoff, 1995).

International Law and International Security: Military and Political Dimensions: A U.S.-Soviet Dialogue (editor with Boris M. Klimenko) (M.E. Sharpe, 1991).

Book Chapters/Multi-Author Works:

Chapter on Antibribery Law, in David Sloss ed. Change in the International Order (Oxford University Press, New York, 2021)

"The Legitimacy of International Law," in Howard Williams, et. al., eds. Palgrave Handbook of International Political Theory (Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming 2021).

"The Waning of the Federal Common Law of Foreign Relations," in Sarah A. Cleveland & Paul B. Stephan eds., The Restatement and Beyond — The Past, Present, and Future of U.S. Foreign Relations Law (Oxford University Press, 2020).

"Comparative International Law, Foreign Relations Law and Fragmentation: Can the Center Hold?," in Anthea Roberts et al., eds., Comparative International Law 53 (Oxford University Press, 2018).

"Conceptualizing Comparative International Law" (with Anthea Roberts, Pierre-Hugues Verdier and Mila Versteeg), in Anthea Roberts et al., eds., Comparative International Law 3 (Oxford University Press, 2018).

"Enforcement of International Law," in Francesco Parisi, ed., 3 Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics 465 (Oxford University Press, 2017).

"Treaty Enforcement," in Eugene Kontorovich & Francesco Parisi, eds., Economic Analysis of International Law 181 (Elgar, 2016).

"The Political Economy of Jus Cogens" and "The Political Economy of Judicial Production of International Law," in Alberta Fabricotti, ed., The Political Economy of International Law: A European Perspective 75 and 202 (Edgar Elgar: Cheltenham, 2016).

"Guerras Fiscais nos Estados Unidos (Fiscal Wars in the United States)" in Belo Horizonte, Misabel Abreu Machado Derzi, Onofre Batista Júnior & André Mendes Moreira, eds., Coleção Federalismo e Tributação ‒ Volume 2: Estados Federal e Guerra Fiscal no Direito Comparado (Collection on Federalism and Taxation ‒ Federal States and Fiscal Wars in Direct Comparison) 161 (Arraes, 2015).

“Human Rights and Wealth,” in Borzu Sabahi et al., eds., A Revolution in the International Rule of Law: Essays in Honor of Don Wallace, Jr. 207 (Juris, 2014).

"International Law and Competition Policy," in D. Daniel Sokol, Ioannis Lianos and Thomas Cheng, eds. Competition and the Role of the State 121 (Stanford University Press, 2014).

"Introduction" and "Unjust Legal Systems and the Enforcement of Foreign Judgments," in Paul B. Stephan, ed. Recognition and Enforcement of Judicial Judgments 1, 84 (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2014).


"Sovereign Immunity and the International Court of Justice: The State System Triumphant," in John Norton Moore, ed., Foreign Affairs Litigation in United States Courts 67 (Martinus Nijhoff, 2013).

“The Impact of the Cold War on Soviet and US Law: Reconsidering the Legacy,” in Tatiana Borisova & William Simons, eds., The Legal Dimension in Cold-War Interactions: Some Notes from the Field 141 (Martinus Nijhoff, 2012).

“International Law as a Source of Law,” in Francesco Parisi, ed., Production of Legal Rules 255 (Edward Elgar, 2d ed. 2011).

"Treaties in the Supreme Court: 1946-2000" in David L. Sloss, Michael D. Ramsey & William S. Dodge eds., International Law in the U.S. Supreme Court: Continuity and Change 317 (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

"Empagram – Empire Building or Judicial Modesty?" in David L. Sloss, Michael D. Ramsey & William S. Dodge eds., International Law in the U.S. Supreme Court: Continuity and Change 553 (Cambridge University Press,. 2011)

"The Problem with Cooperation," in Andrew Guzman ed., Cooperation, Comity, and Competitive Policy 217 (Oxford University Press, 2011)

"Comparative Taxation Procedure and Tax Enforcement" in Stephen W. Schill ed., International Investment Law and Comparative Public Law 599 (Oxford University Press, 2010),

"Taxes, Economics of" in David S. Clark ed. 3 Encyclopedia of Law and Society - American and Global Perspectives 1463 (SAGE Publications, 2007)

Introduction in Economics of European Union Law, Paul B. Stephan ed., (Edgar Elgar, 2007).

"Energy Development and Distribution: What Can the Law Do?," in Myron H. Nordquist, John Norton Moore & Alexander S. Skaridov eds., International Energy Policy, the Arctic and the Law of the Sea 201 (Martinus Nijhoff, 2005).

"United States," in Party Autonomy: Constitutional and International Law Limits in Comparative Perspective, George A. Berman ed., (Juris Publishing, Inc., 2005).

"Against International Cooperation," in Richard A. Epstein & Michael S. Greve, eds., Competition Laws in Conflict: Antitrust Jurisdiction in the Global Economy 66 (American Enterprise Institute Press, 2004).

The Cold War and Soviet Law, Proceedings of the 93rd ASIL Annual Meeting 43 (2000).

"Inheritance and Gift Taxation," in International Encyclopedia of Law and Economics (2000).

"Regulatory Cooperation and Competition: The Search for Virtue," in George A. Bermann et al., eds., Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: Legal Problems and Political Prospects 167 (Oxford University Press, 2000).

"Westernization of the European East?" (with Stanislaw Frankowski), in Stanislaw Frankowski & Paul B. Stephan III, eds., Legal Reform in Post-Communist Europe: The View from Within 473 (Martinus Nijhoff, 1995).

"Prevention and Control of International Terrorism," in Paul B. Stephan & Boris M. Klimenko, eds., International Law and International Security: Military and Political Dimensions: A U.S.-Soviet Dialogue 321 (M.E. Sharpe, 1991).

"Comrades' Courts and Labor Discipline Since Brezhnev," in Olimpiad S. Ioffe & Mark W. Janis, eds., Soviet Law and Economy 213 (Nijhoff, 1987).

"Foreword" to The First Amendment and National Security 1 (University of Virginia Center for Law and National Security, 1984).


“Wars of Conquest in the Twenty-First Century and the Lessons of History ‒ Crimea, Panama, and John Bassett Moore,” 62 Va. J. Int'l  L. (2021).

“International Human Rights and Multinational Corporations: An FCPA Approach”, with Pierre-Hugues Verdier), B.U. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2021).

"Sovereignty and the World Economy"

"Constitutionalism and Internationalism: U.S. Participation in International Institutions," in Curtis A. Bradley, ed., Oxford Handbook of Comparative Foreign Relations Law 375 (Oxford University Press: New York 2019). SSRN

"International Law as a Wedge Between Legal Systems," in Marko Novakovic, ed., The Common Law and the Civil Law Today ‒ Convergence and Divergence 1 (Vernon Press: Wilmington, Del. 2019).

"Big Data and the Future Law of Armed Conflict in Cyberspace," Matthew C. Waxman, ed. (Oxford University Press, 2020).

"Foreign Relations and the City"

"The One Voice in Foreign Relations Law and the Future of Federal Common Law"

"The Future of International Human Rights Law— Lessons From Russia," Law & Contemp. Probs. (forthcoming).

"Inferences of Judicial Lawmaking Power and the Law of Nations"

"The Political Economy of International Law. A European Perspective"

"Sovereign Immunity and the International Court of Justice: The State System Triumphant"

"Competing Sovereignty and Laws’ Domains," 45 Pepp. L. Rev. 239-330 (2018).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Blocher, Gulati and Coase: Making or Buying Sovereignty?," 66 Duke L.J. Online 51-65 (2017).

"Agora: Reflections on RJR Nabisco v. European Community ‒ Private Litigation as a Foreign Relations Problem," 110 Am. J. Int'l L. Unbound 40 (2016).

"Comparative International Law: Framing the Field" (with Anthea Roberts, Pierre-Hugues Verdier and Mila Versteeg), 109 Am. J. Int’l L. 467 (2015) .

"United States v. Bond and Information-Forcing Defaults: The Work that Presumptions Do,” 90 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1465 (2015).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“Courts on Courts: Contracting for Engagement and Indifference in International Judicial Encounters,” 100 Va. L. Rev. 17 (2014).

"Human Rights Litigation in the United States After Kiobel," 1 PKU Transnat’l L. Rev. 338 (2013).

"The Political Economy of Extraterritoriality," 1 Pol. & Governance 92 (2013).

"Taxation and Expropriation—The Destruction of the Yukos Oil Empire," 35 Hous. J. Int’l L. 1 (2013).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Limits of Change: International Human Rights under the Obama Administration,” 35 Fordham Int’l L.J. 488 (2012).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Regulatory Competition and Anticorruption Law,” 53 Va. J. Int’l L. 53 (2012).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“Rethinking the International Rule of Law: The Homogeneity Fallacy and International Law’s Threat to Itself,” 4 Jerusalem Rev. Legal Stud. 19 (2012).

"Privatizing International Law," 97 Va. L. Rev. 1573 (2011).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Political Economy of Jus Cogens," 44 Vand. J. Ttransnat’l L. 1073 (2011).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"International Humanitarian Law in the Context of Terrorism and the U.S. Courts," 2009 Russian Y.B. Int'l L. (Special Issue) 201 (2010).

"Disaggregating Customary International Law," 21 Duke J. Comp. & Int'l L. 191 (2010).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

"Symmetry and Selectivity: What Happens in International Law When the World Changes," 10 Chi. J. Int’l L. 91 (2009).

"Open Doors", 13 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 11 (2009).

"What Story Got Wrong: Federalism, Localist Opportunism and International Law," 73 Mo. L. Rev. 1041 (2008).

“Does the CISG Fill a Much-Needed Gap?,” 101 Proc. Am. Soc’y Int’l L. 414 (2007).

“The Institutionalist Implications of an Odious Debt Doctrine,” Law & Contemp. Probs., Summer 2007, at 213.

“Private Remedies for Treaty Violations after Sanchez-Llamas,” 11 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 65 (2007).

“U.S. Judges and International Courts,” 100 Proc. Am. Soc’y Int’l L. 238 (2006).

"An Empirical Assessment of the Impact of Formal Versus Informal Dispute Resolution on Poverty: A Governance-Based Approach" (with Edgardo Buscaglia), 25 Int’l Rev. L. & Econ. 89 (2005).
SSRN Abstract

"Global Governance, Antitrust, and the Limits of International Cooperation," 38 Cornell Intl L.J. 173 (2005).

“Self-Enforcing International Agreements and the Limits of Coercion” (with Robert E. Scott), 2004 Wis. L. Rev. 551 (2004).

“Courts, the Constitution, and Customary International Law: The Intellectual Origins of the Restatement (Third) of the Foreign Relations Law of the United States,” 44 Va. J. Int’l L. 33 (2003).

“Taking International Law Seriously” (with Samuel Estreicher), 44 Va. J. Int’l L. 1 (2003).

“A Becoming Modesty: U.S. Litigation in the Mirror of International Law,” 52 DePaul L. Rev. 627 (2002).

“Courts, Tribunals and Legal Unification—The Agency Problem,” 3 Chi. J. Int’l L. 333 (2002).

“Institutions and Elites: Property, Contract, the State, and Rights in Information in the Global Economy,” 10 Cardozo J. Int’l & Comp. L. 305 (2002).

"The Political Economy of Choice of Law," 90 Geo. L.J. 957 (2002)

"Redistributive Litigation—Judicial Innovation, Private Expectations and the Shadow of International Law," 88 Va L. Rev. 789 (2002).

"Choice of Law and Its Consequences: Constitutions for International Transactions," 26 Brook. J. Int’l L. 211 (2000)

"International Governance and American Democracy," 1 Chi. J. Int’l L. 237 (2000)

"Richardson v. McKnight and the Scope of Immunity after Privatization" (with Clayton P. Gillette), 8 Sup. Ct. Econ. Rev. 103 (2000).

"Sheriff or Prisoner? The United States and the World Trade Organization," 1 Chi. J. Int’l L. 49 (2000).

"The Futility of Unification and Harmonization in International Commercial Law," 39 Va. J. Int’l L. 743 (1999).

"The New International Law—Legitimacy, Accountability, Authority, and Freedom in the New Global Order," 70 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1555 (1999).

"Rationality and Corruption in the Post-Socialist World," 14 Conn. J. Int’l L. 101 (1999).

"Constitutional Limitations on Privatization" (with Clayton P. Gillette), 46 Am. J. Comp. L. 481 (Supp. 1998).

"Creative Destruction—Idiosyncratic Claims of International Law and the Helms-Burton Legislation," 27 Stetson L. Rev. 1341 (1998).

"International Law and Economics—Remarks," Proceedings of the 90th ASIL Annual Meeting 115 (1997).

"Accountability and International Lawmaking: Rules, Rents and Legitimacy," 17 Nw. J. Int'l L. & Bus. 681 (1996-97).

"Toward a Positive Theory of Privatization—Lessons from Soviet­Type Economies," 16 Int'l Rev. L. & Econ. 173 (1996).

"The Fall—Understanding the Collapse of the Soviet System," 29 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 17 (1995).

"Modern Techniques for Financial Transactions and Their Effects on Currency," 42 Am. J. Comp. L. (Supp.) 203 (1994).

"Further Thoughts on the Rule of Law and a New World Order." 26 John Marshall L. Rev. 739 (1993).

"Privatization after Perestroyka: The Impact of State Structure," 14 Whittier L. Rev. 403 (1993).

"Closing Out the Soviet Union," Va. L. Sch. Rep., Summer 1992, at 21-24.

"Labor Law in Russia—The Hopes and Fears of Post-Soviet Workers," 32 Va. J. Int'l L. 789 (1992).

"Moscow Conference: Soviet Law and Economic Relations," Va. L. Sch. Rep., Winter 1991, at 12-14.

"Perestroyka and Property: The Law of Ownership in the Post-Socialist Soviet Union," 39 Am. J. Comp. L. 35 (1991).

"Revisiting the Incorporation Debate: The Role of Domestic Political Structure," 31 Va. J. Int'l L. 417 (1991).

"Soviet Law and Foreign Investment: Perestroyka's Gordian Knot," 25 Int'l Law 741 (1991).

"Disaggregation and Subchapter C: Rethinking Corporate Tax Reform," 76 Va. L. Rev. 655 (1990).

"International Law in the Supreme Court," 1990 Sup. Ct. Rev. 133.

"The Restructuring of Soviet Commercial Law and Its Impact on International Business Transactions," 24 Geo. Wash. J. Int'l L. & Econ. 89 (1990).

"Perestroyka i Sovietologia," SShA: Ekonomika, Politika, Ideologia, Mar. 1989, at 30-35.

"Courts with Income Tax Jurisdiction: An International Comparison," 8 Va. Tax Rev. 233 (1988).

"United States-Soviet Conference," Va. L. Sch. Rep., Spring 1988, at 21-22.

"Constitutional Limits on the Struggle against International Terrorism: Revisiting the Rights of Overseas Aliens," 19 Conn. L. Rev. 831 (1987).

"A Comment on Transfer Tax Reform," 72 Va. L. Rev. 1471 (1986).

"Study of Soviet Legal System," Va. L. Sch. Rep., Winter 1986, at 5-6.

"Federal Income Taxation and Human Capital," 70 Va. L. Rev. 1357 (1984).

"Nontaxpayer Litigation of Income Tax Disputes," 3 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 73 (1984).

"Bob Jones University v. United States: Public Policy in Search of Tax Policy," 33 Sup Ct. Rev. (1983).

"The First Amendment and Content Discrimination," 68 Va. L. Rev. 203 (1982).

"The Breach of Trust behind The Brethren" Va. L. Wkly., Feb. 22, 1980, at 1, 4.

"Constitutional Limits on International Rendition of Criminal Suspects," 20 Va. J. Int'l L. 777 (1980).


Statement in Administration's Proposal Relating to the Tax Treatment of Americans Who Renounce Citizenship 92-97. U.S. Congress. House Committee on Ways and Means. Hearing, Mar. 27, 1995.

Book Reviews:

Review of Solomon and Fogelsong, Courts and Transition in Russia, 117 Pol. Sci. Q. 165 (2002).

"Has Globalization Gone Too Far?," 18 Nw. J. Int’l L. & Bus. 246 (1997) (book review).

Review of Gordon B. Smith, Reforming the Russian Legal System, 56 Russian Rev. 492 (1997).

Review of Rand, Comrade Lawyer, 51 Russian Rev. 452 (1992).

Review of Stuchka, Selected Writings on Soviet Law and Marxism, and Ginsburgs, 1 The Soviet Union and International Cooperation in Legal Matters, 49 Russian Rev. 373 (1990).

"Glasnost and the Soviet System of Justice" (reviewing van den Berg, The Soviet System of Justice), 21 Law & Soc'y Rev. 837 (1988).

Review of Armstrong, The Soviet Law of Property, 34 Am. J. Comp. L. 813 (1986).

Review of Hazard, Butler & Maggs, The Soviet Legal System, 12 Soviet Union/Union Sovietique 351 (1985).

Review of Coffin, The Ways of a Judge, 67 Va. L. Rev. 1447 (1981). 



Current Courses

All Courses

Colloquium in International Relations Theory (seminar)
Comparative Law (seminar)
Emerging Markets: Principles and Practice (seminar)
Federal Income Tax
International Business Transactions
International Law and the Scholarly Process (seminar)
Seminar in Ethical Values




International Law and the Judiciary

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