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

Articulating Integrity

Harvard Law Today

Students write about corruption for an international audience.

The Global Anticorruption Lab, taught by HLS Professor Matthew Stephenson ’03, offers law students an unusual opportunity to hone concise writing skills through the crafting of blog posts that are read and commented on by high-level stakeholders around the world.

A Voice for Accountability

Harvard Law Today

Sareta Ashraph documents violations of international law for the U.N.

For much of her career, Sareta Ashraph LL.M. ’01 has worked to uncover the truth behind some of the worst conflicts in the world. She has investigated human rights abuses including murder, torture, and rape, and has spoken to people traumatized by what they have […]

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.