Boasting students from 85 countries – and with over 4500 alumni living overseas – Harvard Law not only teaches international law, it influences it. Harvard’s curriculum includes over 90 international law courses, along with hundreds of seminars and talks each year. In particular, students can take part in annual sessions and conferences on everything from Islamic law to international financial systems. Students can study abroad at Cambridge for a year…or spend a semester at universities located in hot spots like Switzerland, China, or Brazil. In keeping with Harvard’s tradition of robust student clubs, the law school sponsors associations catering to students from South Asia, The Middle East, Africa, and Canada, along with publishing student legal journals like Harvard Asia Quarterly, Latino Law Review, and The Harvard International Law Journal.
Seeking options? Check out the Georgetown Law Center, which offers course clusters in comparative law, trade, international finance and investment, intellectual property, litigation and national security law. Graduates can choose from 11 international LL.M. programs (or create a custom track of their own). And study abroad programs are available in China, Australia, Argentina, United Kingdom, Germany, France, India, Japan, Spain, South Korea, and the Netherlands. Students looking to hone their writing skills can join a series of journals, including the renowned Georgetown Journal of International Law. Along with building a new international and comparative law library, the Georgetown Law Center has also established a series of institutes and centers to facilitate research and international cooperation, along with providing students with hands-on practice experience. For example, the Harrison Institute For Public Law partners with government agencies and private organizations to help them better understand and comply with international agreements.
American University’s international legal studies program features 35 courses and 30 seminars, with over 190 students from 63 countries. With 24 full-time and 40 part-time faculty members, American offers eight LL.M. programs in areas ranging from free trade agreements and regional integration to international environmental law (and even a combined LL.M. and MBA). Plus, students can choose from 35 exchange and study abroad programs in 22 countries. Notably, the school hosts an annual International Legal Educational Abroad Conference and an Inter-American Human Rights Moot Court Competition. It also maintains centers for human rights and international commercial arbitration. In addition, it sponsors special projects, such as the Afghanistan Documentation Project, where students are building a database of human rights violations committed in Afghanistan since 1978.
Like the Georgetown Law Center and American University, George Washington University Law School is based in Washington D.C. This enables the school to draw faculty, speakers, and internship opportunities from government agencies, international organizations, and global law firms. The school also follows a unique philosophy, believing international and comparative principles should be integrated within all courses. Along with mixing this global flavor throughout the curriculum, George Washington also offers over 70 courses in international law, placing special emphasis on commercial law, international organization, dispute resolution, and human rights. The school also publishes International Law in Domestic Courts and the George Washington International Law Review. In addition, it sponsors a series of centers and projects, including the Global Internet and Human Rights Distinguished Speaker Series. For students looking to work in human rights, George Washington has also teamed up with Oxford University to produce an International Human Rights Law Program, which is held in the United Kingdom over the summer.
International legal studies have been a cornerstone of the University of California-Berkeley’s curriculum since the law school was founded in 1913. The school is best known for its International Human Rights Law Clinic (IHRLC), which has won victories on behalf of clients ranging from Haitian children to Guantanamo Bay detainees. Considered among the elite human rights clinics in the nation, the IHRLC gives students the chance to litigate real cases. Boalt Hall also partners with various schools in the university, such as the Haas School of Business, to provide interdisciplinary experiences. Students can also help edit the Berkeley Journal of International Law or participate in organizations like the International Law Society or the Jessup International Moot Court. Berkeley offers study aboard and overseas externship programs as well.
Yale Law’s international law program emphasizes practical experience through an array of projects and clinics. In the school’s Immigration Legal Services Clinic, for example, students help clients prepare asylum applications and represent them before the Immigration Court. The student body is also known for sponsoring their own reading groups and designing independent study programs on topics ranging from economic sanctions to Chinese criminal law. The school is also distinguished by all-start faculty members like Oona Hathaway, a State Department adviser who has testified before Congress regarding legal issues relating to the Iraq War.