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

  • At the Center of the Profession

    The legal profession is going through dramatic change, affected by factors ranging from globalization to new technology to a fragile economic recovery. And a Harvard Law School institution dedicated to studying the profession is undergoing its own big change.
  • President of a community without borders

    Every two years, the Harvard Law School Association appoints a new president to oversee an organization aimed at fostering engagement and community among the nearly 38,000 alumni living in 148 countries around the world.
  • Home Rule within Enemy Lines: Capturing life in a WWI internment camp

    During World War I, about 400,000 “enemy aliens” were imprisoned by all sides in camps on nearly every continent. During that time, Germany’s only exclusively civilian prison camp, Ruhleben Gefangenenlager, became a model of civil functionality.
  • Between Cambridge and Kiev

    The recent political turmoil in Ukraine meant that the couple worked 24/7, following the news constantly in order to give prompt advice to the minister.
  • Gallery: The 2014 Chayes International Public Service Fellows

    Since 2001, a select group of HLS students have undertaken public service internships under the auspices of the Chayes International Public Service Fellowship, dedicated to the memory of HLS Professor Abram Chayes '49.
  • Ferencz receives HLS Medal of Freedom (video)

    Benjamin B. Ferencz ’43, known for his role as chief prosecutor in the Nuremburg Trials and for his work promoting an international rule of law and the creation of an International Criminal Court, has been awarded Harvard Law School’s highest honor: the Medal of Freedom.
  • At HLS, former secretary of state Kissinger reflects on career, surveys current affairs

    Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger visited the Harvard Law School campus last week to share some of the lessons learned as adviser to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
  • Clinic investigation: Senior Mynamar officials implicated in war crimes and crimes against humanity

    On Nov. 7, the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School released a legal memorandum, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in Eastern Myanmar, which examines the conduct of the Myanmar military during an offensive that cleared and forcibly relocated civilian populations from conflict zones in eastern Myanmar.
  • Harvard Law School Celebrates National Pro Bono Week

    Harvard Law School is celebrating National Pro Bono Week from October 20th to October 24th. This celebration honors the outstanding work of lawyers who volunteer their time to help people in their communities and increase justice for all. The week will be marked by ceremonies and panel discussions focused on the value of pro bono […]
  • Harvard Law and International Development Society builds global law school network

    One year ago, Co-vice Presidents of Harvard Law & International Development Society Maryum Jordan ’14 and Elizabeth Nehrling ’15 reached out to law schools around the world. Their question was simple: Are faculty and students at your institution interested in starting a law and international development student organization?

Last modified: November 10, 2014

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