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Berger International Legal Studies Program

In 1991, International Legal Studies was endowed, expanded, and renamed the Leo and Arvilla Berger International Legal Studies Program. Thanks to a gift of endowment principal from Arvilla and Captain Leo V. Berger, B.S. `42, J.D. `56., a distinguished graduate of Cornell Law School, as well as Cornell’s College of Agricultural & Life Sciences. Leo Berger was born in Hungary and raised in an orphanage.  He graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and pursued a highly-influential and successful career in the shipping industry, eventually becoming the largest private owner of U.S.-flag ocean-going vessels in the world.  Thanks to the generosity and vision of Captain Berger and his wife, the Arvilla and Captain Leo V. Berger International Legal Studies Program brings international students and scholars to Cornell Law School, supports faculty research and student projects dealing with matters of international law, and engages practicing lawyers and business leaders in this area as guest speakers whose collective expertise enriches our understanding of how international legal agreements help to govern the world.

The Berger endowment allows the Law School to sponsor:

  • International conferences and colloquia
  • The annual Summer Institute of International & Comparative Law in Paris
  • Dual-degree programs in Pretoria, Paris, Heidelberg, and Berlin
  • Specialized degrees on the Cornell campus, including a J.D/LL.M. in International and Comparative Legal Studies
  • Student participation in international moot court competitions
  • Semester exchanges with 25 partners schools in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South Africa, Australia, South America, and Asia
  • The Turin Inter-University Centre for the Comparative Analysis of Law, Economics, and Institutions
  • A scholarship and faculty exchange arrangement with the Thai Bar and Thailand Institute of Justice.
  • Visiting scholars from around the world
  • An international speaker series on campus
  • Fellowship support for international internships and graduate students

Today, the ongoing activities of the Berger International Legal Studies Program are administered through the Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies, established in 2002 by a gift from Jack G. Clarke ‘52 and Dorothea Clarke.

In addition to the ongoing activities of the Berger program, Clarke Center staff work to develop new programs, administer projects, and coordinate activities with other Law School programs that have an international focus, including the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa, Clarke Program in East Asian Law & Culture, the Graduate Legal Studies Program, and internationally focused clinics.