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 2012-13, hundreds of students worked, studied, and conducted research in 55 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

  • 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.
  • Koh receives 2014 Great Negotiator Award (video)

    Ambassador Tommy Koh LL.M. ’64 of Singapore was recently presented with the 2014 Great Negotiator Award by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School’s Future of Diplomacy Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
  • Using Both his Head and his Heart

    For this great negotiator, it comes naturally
  • The Alien Tort Statute: In Pursuit of Corporate Accountability

    On the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program and American Constitution Society co-sponsored a talk titled “The Alien Tort Statute: In Pursuit of Corporate Accountability.” Paul Hoffman, counsel for petitioners in Kiobel, joined Marco Simons, legal director of Earth Rights International […]
  • Vorenberg Law Books Donated to South African University

    Betty Vorenberg has donated nearly 60 boxes of law books from the library of her late husband, professor and former dean James Vorenberg ’51, to the law school at University of the North in South Africa. In 1996 the Vorenbergs visited Bongani Majola LL.M. ’88, then the dean of the historically black university, located in […]
  • Harvard’s Berkman Center to launch global network focused on youth-oriented hate speech

    The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University has announced an effort to form a first-of-its-kind thematic network of experts, educators, practitioners, and ambassadors that will facilitate, promote, and strengthen collaboration to counter youth-oriented hate speech online.
  • Stilt to join Harvard Law faculty

    Kristen A. Stilt, a leading expert on Islamic Law and society, will join the faculty of Harvard Law School beginning September 2014, with an appointment as Professor of Law.

Last modified: February 19, 2014

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