International Legal Studies

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At Harvard Law School, we consider an international perspective foundational to legal inquiry. Our community includes students from more than 70 countries and jurisdictions, faculty members whose expertise spans the world, renowned visitors and scholars from abroad, and an extraordinary global alumni network. And in a typical year, more than 170 HLS students work, study, or conduct research abroad in more than 45 countries,  supported by research centers and fellowship programs. The International Legal Studies office is dedicated to facilitating these opportunities.

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Coursework + Clinical Offerings

More than 100 courses and reading groups focus on international, foreign, or comparative law. Every J.D. student takes an international or comparative law class during their time at HLS.

Students can engage in supervised projects spanning the globe through HLS clinical offerings, such as documenting state-sanctioned massacres in Haiti with the International Human Rights Clinic.

Molly Doggett ’17 at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Molly Doggett ’17 worked for a summer at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, examining international standards for the treatment of critically ill detainees.

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2015 Chayes Fellow Aditya Pai '17 in India

During a summer abroad, Aditya Pai ’17 analyzed the effectiveness of the Sehgal Foundation’s legal literacy camps in the Mewat district of India.

International Opportunities

Specialized programs support experiential learning and immersion in foreign legal cultures. Frameworks include  research/writing projects and independent clinicals during the three-week winter term abroad, a summer engaged in international public interest, and a semester taking classes at a foreign law school.

Library + University Resources

The world’s largest academic law library and the vast resources of Harvard University combine to offer unparalleled opportunities for international legal research and study.

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Research Programs + Centers

HLS’ research programs and centers provide opportunities to work directly on notable projects with an international scope, such as the Program on International Law and Armed Conflict’s research on the potential effects of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian and medical activities; the Human Rights Program’s work on issues of gender, sexuality, and women’s rights around the world; the Center for the Legal Profession‘s research on how globalization is reshaping the market for legal services in emerging economies; and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society’s project on artificial intelligence and global governance.

Mark Jia '16 at work in Hong Kong

Mark Jia ’16 spent a winter term assessing pathways for reforming Hong Kong’s campaign finance laws at the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre. 

Spotlight on:

Spotlight on:

  • Students

    Students

    HLS students hail from more than 85 countries, and travel throughout the world to study, work, and research.
    Read their stories
    Read their stories
  • Teaching and Learning

    Teaching and Learning

    HLS faculty’s expertise and research interests, and the work of visiting scholars and clinical programs, range across jurisdictional and disciplinary borders.
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    Continue Reading
  • Alumni

    Alumni

    HLS graduates are leaders across the globe, forming an unparalleled network.
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    Continue Reading

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In our Roadmaps, read about some of the amazing ways students have explored international legal studies at HLS:

  • A winter term filming a documentary on water rights in India
  • A semester in Switzerland studying specific aspects of international law
  • Developing an international business plan through the Harvard Innovation Lab
  • Exploring conflict resolution through clinics, independent research, and summer work abroad

and more.

Read all eight stories