International Legal Studies

International Legal Studies

Photos courtesy of Kaycie Rupp, Lindsay Henson, and Brian Kelly.   

At Harvard Law School, "international" is not just something we teach. It is something we are. 

The HLS community includes students from more than 85 countries. In 2013-14, hundreds of students worked, studied, and conducted research in 52 countries. More than half of the Harvard Law faculty incorporate international and comparative perspectives in their teaching, scholarship, and public service in a significant way. This year, they offered more than 90 HLS courses and reading groups focusing on international, foreign or comparative law. The scores of visitors and scholars from abroad, and over 4,500 alumni who live outside the United States, help make HLS truly international. Our research centers host hundreds of talks, workshops, and conferences with an international focus. And all of this activity draws on the world's foremost academic law library.

At HLS an international perspective is foundational, rather than peripheral, to legal inquiry. And this forms the basis for scholarship and action that have tangible impact in the world. These pages detail how integral international, foreign and comparative legal studies — or ILS — have become to HLS and what a difference they make.

Just as Harvard originated much that is now commonplace in American approaches to international legal education — including specialized courses in international law, a student-edited international law journal, and an international law library — Harvard Law School today is reshaping international legal studies for the 21st century.  

Recent ILS News

  • Albie Sachs discusses ‘Soft Vengeance’ at HLS

    On September 12, Justice Albie Sachs, who served on South Africa’s inaugural Constitutional Court from 1994 through 2009, visited Harvard Law School for a screening and discussion of “Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa” with filmmaker Abby Ginzberg.
  • Meet this year’s new HLS faculty

    A host of new faculty members arrived at Harvard Law School this academic year, and over the summer, Dean Martha Minow announced two new faculty who will join HLS in 2015.
  • Margaret H. Marshall to receive 2014 Thurgood Marshall Award

    Margaret H. Marshall, Harvard Law School senior research fellow and lecturer on law, will receive the American Bar Association’s 2014 Thurgood Marshall Award. A retired chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Marshall is being recognized for her long-term contributions to advancing civil rights, civil liberties and human rights in the United States.
  • Wilkins receives two academic awards in Spain in July

    Professor David Wilkins was honored twice in July by academic societies in Spain. Wilkins is the Lester Kissel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, as well as the director of the Program on the Legal Profession and Vice Dean for Global Initiatives on the Legal Profession.
  • Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program attains major First Circuit victory involving persecution in Guatemala

    In a landmark immigration decision involving a claim of eligibility for asylum, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an opinion finding past persecution in the case of a Mayan man, based on the long history of genocide in Guatemala and related racist mistreatment. The client in the case, Manuel Ordonez-Quino, was represented by Harvard Law School Senior Clinical Instructors John Willshire Carrera and Nancy Kelly, co-managing directors of the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services.
  • Desai testifies on tax inversion

    On July 22, Harvard Law School Professor Mihir A. Desai, a scholar of tax policy, international finance and corporate finance, participated in a Senate Finance Committee hearing titled “The U.S. Tax Code: Love It, Leave It, or Reform It.”
  • Ninth Circuit judge recounts landmark case at HIRC 30th anniversary

    On June 17, about 200 Harvard Law School alumni and students gathered to mark the 30th anniversary of the Harvard Immigration & Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC). It was a celebration of "30 Years of Social Change Lawyering," and it brought together advocates from around the country and the world.
  • Harvard Law Thinks Big! A series of short talks on big ideas (video)

    Five Harvard Law School professors presented a sampling of their innovative ideas in late May at the 2014 Harvard Law School Thinks Big lecture, an annual event that challenges faculty to explain those big ideas in short talks.
  • Privacy (TBD): In the online space, what is private may depend on who you are and where you live

    As Professor of Practice Urs Gasser sets up his PowerPoint and students deploy their notebooks and laptops, a riff of music drifts by. The tune soon reveals itself as a jazz version of the Beatles classic “Here, There and Everywhere”—a title that’s evocative of the global subject covered in this seminar, Comparative Online Privacy.
  • Recent Faculty Books – Summer 2014

    In two new books, Professor Cass Sunstein, former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, addresses human behavior and how government should best respond to it.

Last modified: August 18, 2014

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