Top 5 Law Schools for International Law

Our world is smaller and more connected than ever. As world governments and economies engage in trade and conflict, lawyers with an understanding of international law are an invaluable asset. If your career goals would benefit from a concentration in international law, consider a school known for its international law program. According to U.S. News and World Report, the top law schools for international law are the following:

1) New York University (New York, New York)

New York University’s International Legal Studies program gives students premier access to top professors plus proximity to the United Nations. The program includes advanced small-group seminars, research, and fieldwork. Some international law students may specialize in the Transitional Justice Leadership Program, led by UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Pablo de Greiff, which, per its website, “brings together teaching, documentation, research, and convenings on topics such as criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, institutional reform, and reparations programs in countries undergoing a transition to democracy in the aftermath of conflict or of authoritarianism.”

As part of this program, students complete a year-long internship with a New York international organization or NGO. NYU also runs the 4-year Institute for International Law and Justice (IILJ) program. Scholars in this program present papers at the International Law and Human Rights Emerging Scholarship Conference during both 2L and 3L years and partake in an International Law Thesis course during the fourth year.

In addition to the career opportunities that the school in New York City offers, in the event that you have any free time during law school, you couldn’t ask for a better playground than the City That Never Sleeps.

Impressive Professor:
José Enrique Alvarez – Former president of the American Society of International Law and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Institut de Droit International.

2) Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

Harvard’s International Legal Studies program prides itself on exploring the law in a global context. In addition to offering top-notch courses, Harvard gives students the opportunity to participate in clinics, which offer exciting fieldwork opportunities. Past clinics have involved investigating rights abuses in Burma, providing advice and trainings about negotiation methods to NGOs, and staffing a legal services center in Ghana.

Impressive Professor:
William P. Alford – Former Dispute Resolution panelist under the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

3) Columbia University (New York, New York)

Columbia’s Global and International Law program includes several centers on different parts of the world: the Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Center for Israeli Legal Studies, Center for Japanese Legal Studies, Center for Korean Legal Studies, and the European Legal Studies Center, all of which help students secure research positions, internships, and fellowships abroad.

Columbia Law School also provides programs in international business law, such as the Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership program, which focuses on bolstering the long-term viability of public corporations, and the Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law and Public Policy, which helps students merge the worlds of business, law, and public policy.

Impressive Professor:
Mark Barenberg – Member, International Commission on Labor Rights, Law and Society Association, and the Labor and Employment Relations Association.

4) Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)

Georgetown University has two international law programs: International & Comparative Law and International Economic Law. Students can also earn a certificate in World Trade Organization Studies. Located in Washington, D.C., Georgetown has a unique and direct line to Capitol Hill, the IMF, the WTO, the World Bank, and other institutions where students in international law can apply their skills. Students from around 70 countries can be found in classes at Georgetown Law, enhancing its global appeal and character.

Impressive Professor:
Daniel K. Tarullo – Former Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy; President Clinton’s personal representative to the G7/G8 group of industrialized nations.

5) Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut)

Broad courses like International Human Rights Law and International Commercial Arbitration are paired with smaller seminars on more narrow topics like Contemporary Legal Issues in Africa and Climate Change Law. Clinics allow students to learn in the field. In the Immigration Legal Services Clinic, for instance, students help immigrant clients prepare their applications for asylum and represent them before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals. In the year-long Transnational Development Clinic, students provide legal advice to community-based clients working on international development and against global poverty. Students may extend their studies with the 4-year J.D.-MA program through Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, in which they choose a global region of specialization.

Impressive Professor:
Oona A. Hathaway – Member, Advisory Committee on International Law for the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State; Former Counsel to the General Counsel for National Security Law at the U.S. Department of Defense.