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 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 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

Saptarishi Bandopadhyay, Institute of Environmental Science for Social Change, Philippines

19 HLS students are currently working in 15 countries through the Chayes International Public Service Fellowship.

View the slideshow from last summer’s 22 Chayes Fellows, who traveled to 14 countries.

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Student Stories: Exploring International Legal Studies

ILS Roadmaps: Student experiencesHarvard 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

Closing argument: Lor Sok LL.M. ’15, making an impact at home

Harvard Law Today

As he prepares to finish his LL.M. year at Harvard Law, Lor Sok recalls all the benefits the experience has provided him. He praises his classes, professors and fellow students. He’s enjoyed trips to explore the United States from the West Coast to New York and even smiles at the memory of going to the opera in Boston. But the real test of the experience, he says, is what it will mean for Cambodia, his homeland.

New publication examines different approaches to assisting victims of armed conflict

Harvard Law Today

Acknowledge, Amend, Assist: Addressing Civilian Harm Caused by Armed Conflict and Armed Violence, a 28-page report released this week by Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program and Action on Armed Violence (AOAV), seeks to advance understanding and promote collaboration among leaders in the field.

Generous and Generative: Duncan Kennedy’s influence spans the globe

Harvard Law Today

Regardless of whether they know it, or even like it, thousands of law students over the past four decades have been influenced by Duncan Kennedy’s keen insights into the politics of law. An astonishing amount of that influence was direct. For over 30 of those years, one-fourth of every HLS entering class learned contracts, property […]