A Global Reckoning: 

Answering Calls for Change

Table of Contents


Spurred by last summer’s demands for equitable justice, the Washington International Law Journal is excited to present this year’s symposium, “A Global Reckoning: Answering Calls for Change.” Legal scholars and corporate leadership will discuss the Black Lives Matter movement’s impact on public and private actors across the globe. Academics and practitioners will discuss their scholarship on the intersections of race, human rights, and corporate conduct. Accompanying panels will explore questions about how global commerce, trade, and governance fundamentally impact local communities and their social movements. Participants will also enjoy artwork featured as a visual representation of the human experience in the context of these social movements led by marginalized groups around the world.

This event is made possible with the support of the University of Washington’s Global Business Law Institute (GBLI).

CLE Accredited by WSBA: 5 credits total.

Featured Artwork

Click each piece to visit artist website.

Schedule of Events

All times are in Pacific Standard Time. CLE Accredited by WSBA: 5 credits total (listed with each session below).

Thursday, May 6, 2021


8:30 AM Welcome and Introduction

William Covington, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UW School of Law

William Covington is a Senior Lecturer and directs the Technology, Law and Public Policy Clinic (Tech-Law Clinic) at the University of Washington School of Law. A graduate of New York University (1972) and the University of Michigan School of Law (1977), Covington has spent over twenty-five years working in technology-driven fields. He has served as regulatory counsel for Group W Cable and later in a similar capacity with McCaw Cellular Communications. Covington led lobbying efforts, wrote or assisted in the writing of over twenty land use laws, served on numerous commissions and frequently appeared before federal, state and local regulatory bodies where he worked to create regulatory structures which balance public sector-private sector interests.

Covington has co-chaired UW Law’s Dean’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and was a founding board member of the Washington State Bar Association’s Limited License Legal Technician program. He received the Dean’s Medal for Service in 2013.

9:30 AM Dialectic Inquiry Into Racist and Antiracist Potential in Business and Human Rights  

Professor Erika George,

University of Utah College of Law


 Professor Jena Martin,

West Virginia University College of Law


Professor Tara Van Ho

University of Essex School of Law

Abstract: Our article and discussion question assumptions about racism within the Business and Human Rights (BHR) field. By showcasing a dialogue between three BHR scholars, our article examines BHR’s approach to racism and explores the challenges and opportunities within BHR to ensure an anti-racist praxis. Unfortunately, this is a unique and original contribution to the scholarship, as scholars have yet to scrutinize how BHR might confront or reinforce racism. Our goal is to provide a clearer account of racism in the field and how its primary tools either address or reinforce racism. [WSBA: 1.5 Ethics credits]

Panel Moderator: Dr. Dana Raigrodski 

Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of the General Law LL.M. program 

University of Washington School of Law

Friday, May 7, 2021
9:00 AM Introducing Day Two

Mario L. Barnes, Toni Rembe Dean and Professor of Law, UW School of Law

Mario L. Barnes is the Toni Rembe Dean of the University of Washington School of Law and a nationally recognized scholar for his research on the legal and social implications of race and gender, primarily in the areas of employment, education, criminal, and military law.

Dean Barnes joined UW from UC Irvine School of Law where he served as professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs. Before joining UCI in 2009, he was a faculty member at the University of Miami School of Law, where he was twice selected as Outstanding Law Professor. Prior to his academic career, Barnes spent 12 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, including service as a prosecutor, defense counsel, special assistant U.S. attorney, and on the commission that investigated the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. He retired from the Navy in 2013, after 23 years of combined active and reserve service.

Barnes earned both his bachelor’s degree in psychology and his juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his master of laws at the University of Wisconsin.

9:30 AM Corporate Complicity in International Criminal Law: Potential Responsibility of European Arms Dealers for Crimes Committed in Yemen 

Professor Marina AksenovaIE University Law School in Madrid

Abstract: This article examines the question of corporate complicity within the framework of international criminal law and, more specifically, at the International Criminal Court (ICC). It does so by reference to a communication to the ICC filed by several non-governmental organizations, inviting the prosecutor to examine potential criminal responsibility of several European corporate officials who are knowingly supplying weapons to the United Arab Emirates/Saudi-led coalition currently engaged in a military offensive in Yemen. This submission raises an important legal question of whether the Rome Statute of the ICC provides for the possibility to hold corporate officials accountable in cases of complicity in gross human rights and humanitarian law violations.  This article purports to answer this question by scrutinizing two specific provisions of the Rome Statute: Article 25(3)(c), which discusses aiding and abetting for the purpose of facilitating the commission of a crime, and Article 25(3)(d), which criminalizes contributions to the commission of a crime by a group of persons acting with a common purpose.  [WSBA: 1 Law & Legal credit]

12:30 PM Race and Representation: The Legislative Council in Hong Kong During the Reign of Queen Victoria

Dongsheng ZangProfessor Dongsheng ZangUniversity of Washington School of Law

Abstract: George Floyd’s murder by Minneapolis police in May 2020 and the subsequent crackdown on the “Black Lives Matter” movement was a full display of undisguised racism backed by naked brutality. It will be remembered as a shameful chapter in United States’ racial history. For those of us who have not recovered from the shock, it is not only our obliviousness that has blinded us; it is our denial and our unwillingness to recognize how institutionalized racism has been. This article illustrates how racism is not an unfortunate happenstance; it is a cancer that has been deliberately embedded deep in the core of our institutions in the long history of our civilization. Specifically, the article analyzes the racist roots of British colonialism and its entangled relationship with liberalism during Queen Victoria’s reign. [WSBA: 1 Ethics credit]

1:45 PM PANEL: Transnational Corporate Project Impacts on Local Communities’ Environments 

 John Pierce 

 Partner and Co-Chair of Clean Technology Practice at Perkins Coie, and member of   the   firm’s energy practice


 Jason Stevens

 President and CEO, Mitsubishi International


 Laura Eshbach

 Program Manager of Corporate Engagement, Landesa

This panel will discuss how businesses investigate and evaluate the impact corporate development and expansion projects have on the environment and the local communities living nearby. Panelists can share examples of corporate projects that have impacted the environment and/or the quality of life of local communities abroad.  They will discuss strategies for mitigating harm or even contributing to environmental protections. Examples may include agricultural or industrial development projects in under-resourced countries and their impact on global climate change, indigenous land rights, urban and/or rural community development, and internationally recognized human rights such as the right to an adequate standard of living, as listed in Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [WSBA: 1.5 Ethics credits]

Jennifer Lenga-Long

 Panel Moderator: Jennifer Lenga-Long

 Associate Director, Sustainable International Development Program
 University of Washington School of Law