“Adapt or die.”
That’s the mantra of the 21st century, with its intensified pace in technology and competition. Today, we live in a global world, where nations battle for commercial resources and influence as much as military dominance. At the same time, these nations must cooperate on issues like trade, crime, and security. As a result, they are more economically interdependent than ever – and that requires laws that can be applied jointly, despite differing legal systems and cultural mores.
That’s where international law comes in. Whether you aspire to work in a corporate, private, or government setting, international law is a rapidly-growing specialty. There are so many areas to practice, including trade, intellectual property, tax, labor, criminal, human rights, and environmental law. In these roles, you can work with multinational companies, international courts, and business and humanitarian groups to harmonize regulatory interpretations and enforcement while balancing social and political considerations.
In the United States, international code can be particularly difficult to integrate. For over 250 years, we’ve struggled to balance Federal and state jurisdictions. Now, the lines between sovereign and international standards are blurring, as some laws must be viewed in the context of international norms. How much influence should those international norms have, particularly when they were crafted and regulated outside of the American legal system? And how can attorneys fashion solutions for their clients that support both the letter and spirit of domestic and international law? Those are the types of issues that students in international law programs must weigh.
As part of its 2014 law school rankings, US News and World Report ranked specialty tracks like international law. Unlike its overall ranking, which weighs criteria like placement rates, LSAT scores, and assessments from law school deans, tenured faculty, lawyers and judges, US News calculates its specialty rankings strictly from votes submitted by legal scholars, with each voter able to nominate up to 15 schools. Based on the number of votes cast for particular schools, here is U.S. News’ ranking of the top 10 law schools for international law:
(See following page for Tipping The Scales’ table of the best programs in international law)