International Legal Studies

International Legal Studies

Credit: 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 2014-15, hundreds of students worked, studied, and conducted research in 49 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 nearly 5,000 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.

Chayes International Public Service Fellowships

with children

View the slideshow from the 2015 Chayes Fellows; 19 HLS students who worked in 15 countries through the Chayes International Public Service Fellowship.


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Student Stories: Exploring International Legal Studies

Portraits of students profiled in RoadmapsHarvard Law School has a singular commitment to international and comparative law. We stand apart from other U.S. law schools in treating this area as equal to all other first year offerings, providing every J.D. student the choice of an array of international legal studies courses specially crafted for 1L.s. Here is a sampling of the amazing ways in which Harvard students explore international legal studies.

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Study Abroad: Q+A with Samantha Glover '14

Samantha Glover '14 in Rio de Janiero, BrazilSamantha Glover spent the fall of her 3L year at FGV Direito Rio in Brazil.

Read about how her semester abroad has helped to shape her legal education.

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Recent ILS News

Students traveled the world for research and clinical work during winter term 2016

Harvard Law Today

During the 2016 winter term, 65 HLS students traveled to 30 countries conducting research for writing projects or undertaking independent clinicals, with support from the Winter Term International Travel Grant Program.

Jorge Gonzalez S.J.D ’13: A career shaped by interdisciplinary and global perspectives

Harvard Law Today

As a Harvard Law School student from Colombia, Jorge Gonzalez S.J.D. ’13 was inspired by the interdisciplinary approach so many at Harvard brought to studying law.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership and the changing world of international trade: A Q&A with Mark Wu

Harvard Law Today

Assistant professor of law Mark Wu focuses his scholarship on the rapidly changing world of international trade and international law.