Michael P. Van Alstine

Francis King Carey Professor in Business Law




(410) 706-1055


(410) 706-0407

Photo of Michael P. Van Alstine


  • BA, 1983, St. Norbert College
    JD, 1986, George Washington University
    MJurComp, 1993, DrJur, 1995, University of Bonn, Germany

Professor Michael P. Van Alstine specializes in international and domestic private law. He has published widely in both English and German in the areas of comparative law, contracts, commercial law, and international commercial transactions. A particular area of scholarly interest is a comparative law analysis of treaties, specifically how different legal systems give effect to international treaties in or as domestic law.

Professor Van Alstine has earned law degrees in both the United States and Germany. He received both his Doctor of Laws and Master of Comparative Law degrees summa cum laude from the University of Bonn, Germany. He obtained his Juris Doctor degree with high honors from the George Washington University in 1986. Before becoming a law professor, he practiced domestic and international commercial and business law at law firms in the United States and Germany. Prior to joining the faculty of Maryland Carey Law in 2002, Professor Van Alstine spent seven years on the faculty of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, during which he was a four-time recipient of the Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching.

At Maryland Carey Law, Professor Van Alstine teaches International Business Transactions, Contracts, Secured Transactions; and Sales and Sales Financing. He served as associate dean for research and faculty development from 2006 to 2010 and was voted Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year in both 2016 and 2008. He also has taught in the Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, College Park, and in 2016 was selected for the Most Engaging in Class award in that program.


Principles of International Business Transactions (5th ed. 2022) (with Ralph H. Folsom & Michael Ramsey). Abstract

International Business Transactions in a Nutshell (11th ed. 2020) (with Ralph Haughwout Folsom & Michael D. Ramsey). Abstract

International Business Transactions: A Problem Oriented Coursebook (13th ed. 2019) (with Folsom, Gordon & Ramsey).

Principles of International Business Transactions (4th ed. 2017) (with Folsom, Gordon & Ramsey). Abstract

International Trade and Economic Relations in a Nutshell (6th ed. 2016) (with Folsom & Gordon). Abstract

Get a Running Start: Your Comprehensive Guide to the First Year Curriculum (2016) (with others). Abstract

Principles of International Business Transactions (3d ed. 2013) (with others). Abstract

International Business Transactions: A Problem-Oriented Coursebook (11th ed. 2012) (with others). Abstract

International Trade and Economic Relations in a Nutshell (5th ed. 2012) (with others). Abstract

United States Commercial and Economic Law (2d ed., 1999) (with S. Elsing) (in German).

Absence of Agreement upon Contract Formation under the United Nations Convention on International Sales Law (1995) (in German).

Book Chapters

International Law in Domestic Courts, in Research Handbook on the Politics of International Law (Wayne Sandholtz & Christopher A. Whytock eds., 2017).

Institutional Concerns on the Intersection of the UNIDROIT Principles and the CISG, in Festschrift für Siegfried Elsing 705-729 (Werner F. Ebke et al. eds., 2015).

Treaties in the Supreme Court: 1900-1945, in The U.S. Supreme Court and International Law: Continuity and Change 191 (D. Sloss et al. eds., 2011).

The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement: Summary and Conclusions, in The Role of Domestic Courts in Treaty Enforcement: A Comparative Study (David Sloss ed., 2009).

The UNCITRAL Digest, the Right to Interest, and the Interest Rate Controversy in Drafting Contracts Under the CISG 508-528 (H. Flechtner et al. eds., 2008).

The International Sales Contract Including the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods, in International Commercial Transactions (2005).


Arresting Misguided Trends in Treaty Law, 110 Kentucky Law Journal 421 (2022).

The Unified Field Solution to the Battle of the Forms Under the UN Sales Convention, 62 William & Mary Law Review 213 (2020). Abstract

Risiken für Deutsche Unternehmen bei Sicherungsrechten in den USA, 64 Recht der Internationalen Wirtschaft 169 (2018).

Prescience and Insight in International Law Scholarship, 31 Temple International & Comparative Law Journal 355 (2017).

Treaty Double Jeopardy: The OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the FCPA, 73 Ohio State Law Journal 1321 (2012). Abstract

Stare Decisis and Foreign Affairs, 61 Duke Law Journal 941 (2012). Abstract

Book Review, Constitutional Necessity and Presidential Prerogative: Does Presidential Discretion Undergird or Undermine the Constitution?, 45 Tulsa Law Review 631 (2011) (reviewing Peter M. Shane, Madison's Nightmare: How Executive Power Threatens American Democracy and Benjamin A. Kleinerman, The Discretionary President: The Promise and Peril of Executive Power). Abstract

The Universal Declaration and Developments in the Enforcement of International Human Rights in Domestic Law, 24 Maryland Journal of International Law 63 (2009). Abstract

Taking Care of John Marshall’s Political Ghost, 53 Saint Louis Univerity Law Journal 93 (2008). Abstract

Executive Aggrandizement in Foreign Affairs Lawmaking, 53 UCLA Law Review 309 (2006). Abstract

The Death of Good Faith in Treaty Jurisprudence and a Call for Resurrection, 93 Georgetown Law Journal 1 (2005). Abstract

Federal Common Law in an Age of Treaties, 89 Cornell Law Review 892 (2004). Abstract

Treaty Law and Legal Transition Costs, 77 Chicago-Kent Law Review 1303 (2002). Abstract

The Costs of Legal Change, 49 UCLA Law Review 789 (2002) Abstract

The Judicial Power and Treaty Delegation, 90 California Law Review 1263 (2002) Abstract

Of Textualism, Party Autonomy, and Good Faith, 40 William & Mary Law Review 1223 (1999) Abstract

An Analysis of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods and Its Significance for Latin America, 2 Derechos y Valores [Colombia] 116 (1999) (translated into Spanish). Abstract

Dynamic Treaty Interpretation, 146 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 687 (1998) Abstract

Consensus, Dissensus, and Contractual Obligation through the Prism of Uniform International Sales Law, 37 Virginia Journal of International Law 1 (1996) Abstract

Die EG-Uebernahme-Richtlinie im Lichte der Erfahrungen in den USA[=The EC Takeover Directive in the Light of Experience in the United States], 4 European Commercial & Tax Reporter 8 (1993) (in German). Abstract