Loyola University Chicago


OLD - Teaching Faculty

William T. Loris

Mr. Loris serves as PROLAW's Program Director and as a Senior Lecturer. 

He comes to Loyola after a distinguished career in international service. He served for five years in Abidjan, Ivory Coast as a Regional Legal Advisor for West Africa to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), working on the legal aspects of the USAID program across West and Central Africa followed by five years in Cairo as a Legal Advisor in USAID's Egypt mission.

He then co-founded the International Development Law Institute, a Dutch foundation, which was later transformed into an inter-governmental organization, the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), by an international convention. IDLO is now a key international institution in the promotion of the rule of law in developing countries, countries in economic transition and countries recovering from violent conflict. Read More

Thomas F. McInerney

Thomas McInerney is the Director of the Treaty Effectiveness Initiative ("TEI"), which fosters breakthroughs in the performance, efficiency, and legitimacy of international treaty institutions concerning arms control, the environment, labor, human rights, and transnational crime.

Prior to creating TEI, he was Director of Research, Policy, and Strategic Initiatives for the International Development Law Organization in Rome where he worked for 10 years. Through his leadership, IDLO initiated a research program on how individuals can be empowered to realize their rights under international law. The project grew from inception to generate six books, more than 50 research papers, and dozens of public events around the world. The knowledge generated through this work helped build partnerships with multilateral organizations, especially in the United Nations, and informed debates on international law, global regulation, and development. McInerney also led the 2008 effort to revamp IDLO’s strategy, resulting in one of the most promising and innovative approaches in promoting the rule of law to further social and economic opportunity in developing and transitional countries.  From 2002 to 2009, he served as General Counsel and Secretary of IDLO. Read More

Marie Claire Colaiacomo

 Ms. Colaiacomo serves as Counsel at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in Rome, where she provides legal advice on a project financing portfolio made up of thirteen countries, spanning through Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and deals with a broad range of institutional matters. Prior to joining IFAD in 2004, she held positions as in-house counsel and procurement specialist in a number of private sector companies.  She obtained her LLB from the University of Warwick in 1995 and her MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London in 2011. She is a member of the Working Group led by UNIDROIT for the preparation of a legal guide on contract farming which should be released in 2014. Her recent publications include articles in the International Organizations Law Review, The Manchester Journal of International Economic Law and in the International Law Research.

Alexandre Cordahi

Alexandre Cordahi has 25 years of experience in international development law and legal reforms. Since 1998, he has been engaged as a team leader and senior expert in EU funded projects/programmes dealing with the rule of law and economy.

From 1984 to 1989, he worked as a legal counsel in syndicated loans, project financing, and sovereign debt renegotiations. From 1989 to 1998, he served as a senior legal counsel and head of the francophone department at the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO). He co-organized the first public conference on legal harmonization in Africa (Ohada, Dakar 1992) and designed the first rule of law training modules. Since 1998, he has worked with a wide range of stakeholders involved in promoting the rule of law in countries associated to the EU. Read More

Xuan Gao

 Dr. Xuan Gao serves as a Counsel at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a UN specialized agency based in Rome. In such a role, he assists the General Counsel on the legal aspects of IFAD resource mobilization, and provides legal advice on institutional issues of the Organization and on a project portfolio composed of more than twenty countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Prior to 2005, he worked in China, first in the public sector and then in a private trade enterprise.  Dr. Gao also holds Visiting Professorship with Peking University and Senior Research Fellowship (non-resident) with China University of Political Science and Law. Since 2001, he has published extensively in international law, including eight authored/ edited books and a number of journal articles.


  • LLB, China University of Politics and Law, 1999
  • LLM (International Business Law),  University of Manchester, 2006
  • PhD (Public International Law), University of Manchester, 2010

Rutsel Martha

Dr. Martha currently serves as the General Counsel, or Director of Legal Affairs, for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in Rome, Italy.

He is also a Visiting Professor of Law for the National University of Singapore. Dr. Martha has an extensive background in rule of law, having previously worked as General Counsel for the INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) in Lyon, France, as well as Counselor for the Legal Department of the International Monetary Fund. He has served as the Minister of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles, as well as the Minister Plenipotentiary within the Netherlands Permanent Representation to the European Union. Earlier in his career, he was engaged as an adjunct Professor of Law in the Washington College of Law of the American University in Washington D.C., and has lectured Law in the University of the Netherlands Antilles.

Dr. Martha has published extensively in public international law, international economic law and European Union Law, including a book titled "The Jurisdiction to Tax in International Law", which was awarded the 1989 Mitchell B. Carroll Prize of the International Fiscal Association. He holds a LL.M. degree from the Washington College of Law of the American University (Washington D.C.) and a Doctor of Laws from the University of Leiden Law School in the Netherlands (1989). Dr. Martha is a Dutch citizen.

Karen Shaw

 Karen Alicia Shaw, a Loyola alumna, is responsible for managing all aspects of the administration of the graduate law programs including the Master of Laws (LL.M.) for law graduates holding a juris doctor or equivalent law degree and the Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) for non-legal professionals working in the fields of business and taxation, children and family services, and health care.

After her legal studies, Ms. Shaw taught health care insurance policy and medical law and ethics at the vocational training and business college levels. She has also held the position of program dean for Taylor Business Institute Chicago's medical billing and medical office administration degree and certificate programs where she further developed curriculum and academic policies as well as implemented and directed the college's academic assessment initiatives.

Ms. Shaw is currently pursuing a doctorate in juridical sciences through the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy at Loyola. Her research focuses upon federalism and federal preemption of state health care laws to determine their effects on the delivery of and access to quality health care in the United States. Prior to her doctoral studies, Ms. Shaw received an LL.M. degree in health law from the Beazley Institute and a J.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where she was an associate editor for the Journal of Law and Commerce.


  • B.A., DePaul University, 1997
  • J.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2000
  • LL.M., Loyola Chicago, 2001

Jessica Vapnek

 Jessica Vapnek is a graduate of Yale University and Berkeley Law School, where she was Editor in Chief of the California Law Review. She was an intern for Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the Northern District of California, and a law clerk to Judge Jack B. Weinstein of the Eastern District of New York and Chief Judge Dolores K. Sloviter of the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Jessica has been a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana.

For 15 years she was a Legal Officer with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, providing capacity building and assistance to member countries wishing to update their national legislation on agriculture, food safety, institutional development, and natural resources. She has published a number of articles and texts on legislative drafting. Since December 2009, Jessica has been Director of Major Projects at Tetra Tech DPK in San Francisco, USA, where she manages US-government-funded rule of law strengthening projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, and Liberia.

Karen Ann Widess

Karen Ann Widess served as Head of Program Development and Compliance for the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) from 2006 through 2010, where she coordinated the activities of the internal committee for the selection of projects and oversaw the staff of the Program Development and Compliance Unit in developing program and projects involving numerous counties and rule of law development issues and diverse donor agencies and organizations.

Ms. Widess holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Law School (1985), a Diploma in International Law from the London School of Economics (1984) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. Ms. Widess has wide experience in various common law, civil law and "post-Soviet" legal systems, as well as substantial experience in project design, management, monitoring and evaluation. She has worked for over 20 years in the practical aspects of democracy assistance, human rights, rule of law, free market reform, institutional strengthening and NGO strengthening.


Giulio Zanetti

 Giulio Zanetti is a seasoned Rule of Law expert and training methodology specialist with solid experience gained from over 20 years working at IDLO, at WIPO and for a leading law firm, and teaching at postgraduate level in various universities.  He has a proven track record in designing and managing complex and extensive programs (ranging from $100,000 up to $35M) in numerous Rule of Law-related areas.

Before joining Loyola, he served as Director of the Training and Networks Department (2008-2013) and Head of the Program Department (2005-2007) at the International Development Law organization (IDLO). Prior to joining IDLO, he worked at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as a senior lawyer, and for prominent law firms. Since 2006, he is a visiting professor at the Masters on IP organized by WIPO at the University of Turin. Mr. Zanetti has published several papers and articles on aspects of IP law. 

Mr Zanetti holds a First Class Honours Degree in Law with a focus on international law from the University of Turin and a Master of Laws in Intellectual Property and Competition Law from the University of London, Queen Mary and Westfield College. He is fluent in Italian, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.