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International and Comparative Legal Studies


International and comparative legal studies have been a part of the mission of Cornell Law School since its founding.  Today, a half-dozen programs and centers, including student and faculty exchanges, host comprehensive curricula related to international law and the laws of foreign nations, as well as courses of study that culminate in joint or combined degrees.  Essential program elements, such as conferences, foreign-court clerkships, library acquisitions, student exchanges, and visiting professorships, enhance the value and relevance of these institutional entities, the activities of which are summarized below.

The Berger International Legal Studies Program

Named in honor of Leo Berger J.D. '56 and his wife, Arvilla, the Berger International Legal Studies Program sponsors a varied and indispensable array of activities, including the international and joint-degree curricula at Cornell Law School; the Paris Summer Institute; visiting professors from foreign countries; international moot court teams; the International Law Journal; and student semester exchanges to promote and enhance courses of study that lead to a J.D. with Specialization in International Legal Affairs; a joint J.D./LL.M. in international and comparative law; and a J.D.—Berger International Legal Studies Specialization, which prepares its holder for international private practice, business that is international in scope, or government service.  The resources and opportunities associated with the Berger Program give Cornell Law students legal training and skills of global relevance, and the Law School a presence in France, Italy, Belgium, and Germany.

The Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies

The Jack G. Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies coordinates and supervises conferences, symposia, institutes, foreign-court clerkships, visiting-professor and student-exchange programs, and library acquisitions pertinent to international and comparative law.  Its current initiative is the Cornell Law School Post-Graduate Fellowship for International Judicial Service, which will fund a recent graduate during his or her clerkship or visiting-professional appointment to an international or foreign court.

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The Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture

Established in 2002 by a gift from Jack G. and Dorothea S. Clarke, the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture studies law in China, Japan, Taiwan, and other nations in the Pacific Region from an interdisciplinary perspective with a humanistic focus.  International conferences and colloquia bring together prominent legal scholars from East Asian countries and the United States, respectively, to think in new ways about contemporary transnational issues, and to articulate this thinking in lectures and written form.  Professorial and student exchanges, including the Mori, Hamada & Matsumoto Exchange, the Wang Distinguished Visitor Program, and the Taiwan Ministry of Justice Program, sustain the scholarly conversation across time zones, land masses, national borders, and cultures.  Additional funding is needed to expand the Program's student-exchange component; placements at Peking University Law School, The University of Hong Kong, and Waseda Graduate School, respectively, cost Cornell Law School more than having its students in residence at Myron Taylor Hall.  Visiting Assistant Professors, as well as Visiting Researchers and Post-Doctoral Fellows, would also benefit.

Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa

As the most recent program established through the generosity of Jack G. Clarke and Dorothea S. Clarke, the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa is a work-in-progress devoted to understanding the respective legal, political, economic, and social evolutions of the countries of the Levant, Arabian Peninsula, and North Africa, as well as the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and other countries with varying linguistic, religious, and/or political affinities.  By collaborating with academicians, policy-makers, and legal professionals in the United States, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, Clarke Initiative seeks to participate in the development of the rule of law and of academic study in these countries.

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