Faculty and Courses

Dean Martha Minow on International Legal Studies
"From the faculty's decision to require every first-year JD student to enroll in an international or comparative law course to the school's vast range of classroom and clinical offerings involving international, foreign, and comparative law, Harvard Law School situates legal education in the global context. This is what students need and want; and this increasingly mirrors the research, advocacy, and public service of the faculty. For governance, markets, politics, health, culture, technology and enhancing human welfare, international, comparative and foreign law studies have never been more important nor more exciting."

Because Harvard Law School faculty’s expertise and research interests range across jurisdictional and disciplinary borders, so does the curriculum.  HLS is leading the way with innovative thinking about how law might best be practiced and taught in a world linked by converging and competing legal systems, technology, and a relative ease of scholarly exchange.

The Harvard Law School faculty can no longer be easily divided into domestic and international law specialists. Faculty experts on U.S. law increasingly bring international and comparative law into their work, in the process transforming core classes and legal thought, while those who specialize in international legal studies bring this expertise to bear on U.S. law and other disciplines.

HLS’ classes blend the domestic and the international with instruction offered from a range of vantage points.  Teaching and learning are also shaped by the pervasive presence of foreign professors and students who constitute a vital part of the fabric of HLS.

This integrated internationalism means that experiencing international legal studies at Harvard does not require a set course of study.  One can certainly pursue a trajectory rich in international human rights, global trade, or development finances.  Yet international, comparative and foreign law are also taught in “classic” subjects of U.S. law, having spilled over their traditional boundaries into such areas as procedure, contracts, and property.  As a result, they now influence the study of administrative law and antitrust, local government and corporate finance, family law and constitutional law, to name just a few areas.

Last modified: July 02, 2010

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