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This Article places the recent evolution of U.S. personal jurisdiction in comparative context. Comparativism helps illuminate and explain both the modest convergences and the more pervasive divergences. On the convergences side, the Supreme Court’s acknowledgment of transnational litigation and express invocation of European approaches to personal jurisdiction have helped move general jurisdiction away from the exorbitant “doing business” jurisdiction that seemed previously to be settled U.S. law. But persistent divergences tell the more interesting story. The Court’s refusal to deviate from its commitment to transient jurisdiction, its recent narrowing of specific jurisdiction since 2011, its implicit rejection of pendent-party personal jurisdiction, and its adherence to a strong form of consent-based personal jurisdiction all reveal a stark contrast with other countries’ approaches to personal jurisdiction. That contrast is founded on deep and stubborn ties to American history, political structure, and litigation norms, all of which make broader convergence difficult, if not implausible. For these reasons, U.S. personal-jurisdiction doctrine is more likely to continue to develop on an independent track rather than hew to global trends. Some areas of parallelism might still occur, but substantial convergence is likely to remain elusive.

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American Journal of Comparative Law