Get Involved on Campus
Global engagement is part of Cornell Law’s history, and is evident even on campus in Ithaca. The Peace Tower at the Law School’s Myron Taylor Hall was erected to be a symbol of the post-World War I aspirations of Cornell's faculty—“world peace through international law.”
That spirit continues to this day. Cornell Law School is a rich environment for students interested in international and comparative law. Generous endowments from alumni and friends of Cornell help make this possible. And visiting speakers and engaged students keep the community thriving.
Learn about international law activities happening on campus.
Student Organizations and Publications
In addition to the many other student organizations at Cornell Law School, law students participate in the following organizations with an international focus:
Cornell International Law Journal
Founded in 1967, the Cornell International Law Journal is one of the oldest and best-known professional journals devoted to international and comparative law.
Each year approximately 70 J.D. and graduate law students publish three issues with articles by leading scholars, practitioners, and government officials, and shorter pieces written by student editors on current issues of international or comparative law.
The journal also hosts and publishes the proceedings of an annual symposium on current international or comparative law topics co-sponsored by the Berger International Legal Studies Program. Contact the journal to learn more.
International Moot Court Competitions
Cornell regularly sends teams of students to participate in international moot court competitions, including the Phillip C. Jessup International Moot Court Competition, the Niagara Competition (for U.S. and Canadian schools), the ICC Mediation Competition in Paris, and the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court Competition in Vienna.
Herbert W. Briggs Society of International Law
This student-run organization was named in honor of one of Cornell's best-known public international law teachers and scholars. In cooperation with the Berger Program, the Briggs Society:
- Sponsors field trips and events designed to unite J.D. and LL.M. students
- Promotes student interest in international and comparative law
- Co-sponsors events in the international and comparative law speaker series
- Works with the career services office and the alumni office in planning special events to introduce students to career opportunities in international law
- Coordinates with the Moot Court Board on international moot court competitions
Cornell Advocates for Human Rights
Cornell Advocates for Human Rights (CAHR) works to promote human rights issues around the world. The group:
- Sponsors guest speakers and other events
- Builds relationships with nongovernmental organizations to provide students with pro bono research and advocacy opportunities
- Lobbies the CLS administration to provide more educational opportunities in the field of human rights, including the establishment of a human rights clinic
- Works with the careers services office to provide students with information on summer and permanent work opportunities in domestic and international human rights
- Publishes a newsletter containing articles written by CAHR members on human rights topics
Cornell LL.M. Students Association
In 1998, Cornell Law LL.M. candidates formed the Cornell LL.M. Students Association. The Association, in conjunction with the Berger Program, sponsors special events open to LL.M. students, such as a field trip to the United Nations in conjunction with the Briggs Society of International Law, and other social and academic events. The association also coordinates activities and events with the Cornell Law Students Association, the Law School's principal student-run organization.
Programs and Endowments
The Berger International Legal Studies Program
In 1992, Cornell's international law program was renamed the Berger International Legal Studies Program, in honor of Leo Berger '56 and Arvilla Berger. This endowment enables the Law School to support:
- An extensive speaker program Faculty research and scholarly conferences
- International moot court teams
- The International Law Journal
- Cornell Advocates for Human Rights and other student organizations
- International joint and dual degrees
- Visiting scholars
- Semester exchanges
- The Paris Summer Institute
Avon Global Center for Women and Justice
In 2008, with a generous grant from the Avon Foundation, Cornell Law School established the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice. The Center works with judges, legal professionals, and governmental and non-governmental organizations to improve access to justice in an effort to eliminate violence against women and girls.
The Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies
In 2001, the Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies was created with the generous support and vision of Jack G. Clarke '52 and Dorothea Clarke, who also have endowed three professorial chairs, as well as East Asia and Middle East programs. The Clarke Center provides an administrative infrastructure for faculty and student initiatives. Funds support international alumni activities and enhancement of the law library's international and comparative collections.
The Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture
The Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture, founded in 2002, brings a broad interdisciplinary and humanistic focus to the study of law in East Asia. Through research, teaching and scholarly dialogue, it seeks to expand the purview of legal scholarship and to develop new ways of thinking about transnational law, politics, and culture.
Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa
The Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa program supports conferences, professional travel, visiting and adjunct faculty members who teach courses related to the Middle East, scholarships for exceptional students, library materials, and a speaker series, with speakers who address current legal and policy issues facing the region.
Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.)
The law school's J.S.D. degree program is for scholars who intend to pursue original research in the field of law.
- In general, J.S.D. students will be considered for the program only after initial candidacy for the LL.M. degree at Cornell Law School, and only a very small number of highly qualified students are admitted for doctoral study.
- A J.S.D. student is accepted only when, in the judgment of the law school faculty, the student is exceptional and the law school faculty is in a position to provide proper supervision of the student's proposed course of study.
Residency: The minimum residency for the J.S.D. degree is two semesters, although the program usually requires four to six semesters to complete.
Countries represented by J.S.D. candidates:
- The United States
See also J.S.D. Description in Admissions.
Juris Doctor/Master of Laws in International and Comparative Law (J.D./LL.M.)
Cornell Law School offers a J.D./LL.M. program in international and comparative law that can be earned in three years of study (including one summer at Cornell's Summer Institute of International and Comparative Law in Paris.
The program is intended for students who seek an even greater grounding in international and comparative law than that provided by the specialization degree in international legal affairs.
The J.D./LL.M. requires 20 credits of upper-class study in addition to the 84 credits required for the Cornell J.D. degree. As part of the additional 20 credits, students must take courses in international law, comparative law, and conflicts of law.
See also J.D./LL.M. Description in Admissions.
Juris Doctor with Specialization in International Legal Affairs
Since 1948, Cornell Law School has offered the J.D. with Specialization in International Legal Affairs to J.D. students who complete the degree requirements, including course work in international law, comparative law, conflict of laws, and additional courses on international or comparative law topics.
The program is designed for J.D. students who desire to be better qualified in the international aspects of private practice, government service, or multi-national business.
See also J.D./Specialization in International Legal Affairs Description in Admissions.
Master of Science (Legal Studies) (M.S.L.S.)
Beginning in the fall of 2009, Cornell Law School will offer a Master of Science (Legal Studies) (M.S.L.S.) degree. The M.S.L.S. is a one-year nonprofessional degree intended for Cornell University graduate Ph.D. students and post-doctoral fellows who have no prior legal training and seek an introduction to the foundations of legal systems, legal reasoning, argumentation and analysis, legal procedure, and substantive law in selected areas.
Admission and Requirements: Admission information and requirements for the program can be found at the law school's M.S.L.S. admissions website.
The M.S.L.S. is not a professional law degree and it does not qualify a student to sit for the bar examination in New York or any other state.