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

  • Cravath Fellows pursue international academic projects

    Harvard Law Today recently highlighted twelve Harvard Law School students who were selected as the 2015 Cravath International Fellows. The students traveled to 11 countries for winter term clinical placements or independent research with an international, transnational, or comparative law focus.
  • Human Rights Clinic releases report on accountability for killer robots

    The International Human Rights Clinic and Human Rights Watch recently released 'Mind the Gap: The Lack of Accountability for Killer Robots,' a 38-page report that details significant hurdles to assigning personal accountability for the actions of fully autonomous weapons under both criminal and civil law.
  • Harvard Law champions entrepreneurship and innovation

    For law students interested in entrepreneurism and startups—as entrepreneurs themselves, as lawyers representing startups, or both—there is a wealth of growing and intersecting opportunities at Harvard Law School and across the university.
  • 2015 J-Term International Travel Grant Recipients

    During the 2015 winter term, 52 HLS students traveled to 26 countries conducting research for writing projects or undertaking independent clinicals, with support from the Winter Term International Travel Grant Program, which includes the Cravath International Fellowships, the Reginald F. Lewis Internships, the Mead Cross Cultural Stipends, the Andrew B. Steinberg Scholarships, and the Human Rights Program Grants.
  • ‘Voices of Syria:’ Unique survey offers an inside look at a worn-torn country and its people

    Vera Mironova, a graduate research fellow at Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation, was one of the lead authors of the “Voices of Syria” project, which covered topics such as current living situations, safety concerns, the future role of religion — among other key issues in Syria’s government. Mironova, a fifth-year year Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland, oversaw and coordinated the operation on the ground. Her goal: to capture the civil war in its most raw form.
  • A focus on food: Harvard Law School forum mines ways to protect, improve what we eat (video)

    On March 28-29, The Harvard Food Law Society and the Food Literacy Project hosted the “Just Food? Forum on Justice in the Food System” at Harvard Law School, organized as part of Harvard’s yearlong Food Better initiative, created to discuss issues surrounding what we eat.
  • At Harvard, Madeline Albright discusses the power of personal relationships

    The value of a clear understanding of your country’s objectives and the power of personal relationships — along with the wisdom of not drinking too much lemonade — were among the insights former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright shared with an audience at Harvard Law School's on April 2.
  • Breaking down the Middle East: Feldman weighs in on widening chaos, conflict

    In a recent interview in the Harvard Gazette, Harvard Law School Professor Noah Feldman, Harvard Kennedy School Professor Nicholas Burns, and Wall Street Journalist Farnaz Fassihi offer their analyses of the recent conflicts in the Middle East and the historic political, social, and military transformation taking place in the region.
  • Why Corruption Threatens Global Security: A talk with Sarah Chayes

    In a talk sponsored by International Legal Studies on February 11, former NPR correspondent Sarah Chayes, currently senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, spoke to HLS students about the links, historical and current, between corruption and global security.
  • Clinical voices: Mojca Nadles LL.M. ’15 on Asylum Representation in Texas

    A small group of three Harvard Law School students spent a week with the ProBar South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project in Harlingen, Texas, working with the office that assists adults in the Port Isabel Detention Center who are seeking asylum. Clinic student Mojca Nadles LL.M. '15 shared her thoughts on the experience in a post for the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs blog.

Last modified: January 20, 2015

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