Centers and Programs
The China Center
The Law School’s China Center, established in 1999, is a unique institution dedicated to helping promote China’s legal reforms and increasing understanding of China in the United States. In interaction with research and teaching, the core of the Center’s work is designing and carrying out sustained, in-depth cooperative projects between U.S. and Chinese experts on key issues in China’s ongoing legal reform process, especially in the fields of judicial reform, criminal justice reform, administrative and regulatory reform, constitutional law, legal education, and public interest law.
The China Center has offices at both Yale University and at Peking University’s Law School in Beijing, and a small staff of lawyers and scholars with decades of collective experience working on law and policy reform issues in China. The Center’s Director is Professor Paul Gewirtz, the Potter Stewart Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale Law School. While on leave from Yale as Special Representative for the Presidential Rule of Law Initiative during the Clinton Administration, he conceived and led the U.S.-China rule of law initiative agreed to by Presidents Bill Clinton and Jiang Zemin at their 1997-98 Summit meetings. Students are involved in all aspects of the Center’s work, including active participation in projects, attending the Center’s weekly Workshop on Chinese Legal Reform, and undertaking individual research.
The Center’s projects involve a range of activities, including workshops and roundtable discussions in the United States and China, research visits to Yale and to China, and publications. The Center provides expertise to assist in the drafting of laws and regulations, and in their implementation; promotes innovative policy experiments and research in China to advance legal and policy reforms; runs innovative and in-depth training programs on legal reform for senior Chinese government officials; and undertakes research, teaching, and publications to help shape understanding of the law and policy reform process in both China and the U.S. The Center works extensively with research centers and professors at China’s leading law schools at Peking University, Renmin University, Tsinghua University, China University of Politics and Law, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and other Chinese universities. The Center also works with the most influential and reform-oriented government officials in China, including the key law-drafting bodies in the central government, influential local governments, and scholars at government think tanks. At the same time, the Center also works closely with the most innovative of China's scholars, lawyers, and other advocates who are pushing for reforms from outside of the government, often based in academic centers or pioneering the practice of public interest law in China. The extraordinary range of these relationships, and the trust that the Center has developed with Chinese partners over time, have enabled the Center to achieve levels of cooperation and influence unprecedented in Sino-foreign legal exchanges.
The Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights
The Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women's Rights is a Yale University Program administered by Yale Law School consisting of three core components: 1) the Global Constitutionalism Seminar, which brings together leading Supreme Court and Constitutional Court justices from around the world to discuss in strict confidentiality important legal issues of the day; 2) the Gruber Distinguished Global Justice and Women's Rights Lectures featuring speakers whose exceptional achievements have served the causes of global justice and women's rights; and 3) the Gruber Global Justice and Women’s Rights Fellowships to help foster international understanding and dialogue in the fields of global justice and women's rights.
Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges
The Yale Law School Center for Global Legal Challenges is an independent center that promotes the understanding of international law, national security law, and foreign affairs law. The Center aims to bridge the divide between the legal academy and legal practice by connecting the legal academy to public and private sector actors responsible for addressing international legal challenges.
Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights
The Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights provides students with the skills needed to advance the cause of human rights. The Center sponsors a weekly Human Rights Workshop, supervises the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, organizes special events on human rights issues, and teaches other classes relating to human rights law. The Center also provides up to forty summer fellowships and several postgraduate fellowships for students wishing to engage in human-rights work.
The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy
The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy draws upon resources throughout the University to introduce students to environmental law challenges, policy tools, and research methodologies. The Center runs the Environmental Protection Clinic, where law students address environmental law problems on behalf of client organizations. The Center also sponsors an Environmental Law and Policy Lecture Series, which provides a forum for visiting scholars, politicians, and environmental professionals.
The Law School sponsors a student exchange with five universities in Buenos Aires, Santiago, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro. Students involved in the Linkage Program focus on a wide range of areas, including human rights, constitutional law, international law, and criminal law. Latin American students spend three weeks at YLS in February, and YLS students spend four weeks of their summer in either Argentina, Brazil, or Chile meeting legal scholars, practitioners, and government officials, visiting NGOs and law firms, and attending classes. Participating students often work with hosting law students and professors on course design and are encouraged to present seminars on topics of mutual interest at the universities they visit.
Seminario en Latinoamérica de Teoría Constitucional y Política – the Seminar in Latin America on Constitutional and Political Theory (SELA)
SELA is an annual academic gathering that brings together scholars and public intellectuals from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, and the United States. Inaugurated in 1995, SELA has sought to deepen understanding of complex theoretical issues, model a more discussion-oriented form of intellectual discourse than is the norm in Latin America, and create a venue for the formation of a professional community. A specific theme is determined for each seminar. Topics have ranged from democracy and the market (1997), to equality (1998), violence (2003), and executive power (2006). Each SELA has also come to include a session called “Democracy in the Americas,” a roundtable discussion focusing on a current issue of pressing public importance (the conduct of the Fujimori regime in Peru, for example, or General Pinochet’s extradition proceedings). In just a few years, SELA has become an intellectual center of gravity in Latin America.
Latin American Series at Yale Law School
The Latin American Series at Yale Law School brings distinguished speakers to discuss major legal, economic, and social issues concerning Latin America today. Recently the series featured a two-day visit by former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela to discuss U.S. policy in the region and included other events on drug policy and the challenges of implementing human rights policy in Mexico, the student protests in Chile, change and continuity in Cuba, the controversial implications of the forestry code reform passed in Brazil, the progress of the recent land restitution program in Colombia, and developments in the ongoing prosecutions of crimes committed by military officials during Argentina’s Dirty War.
Middle East Legal Studies Seminar
The Middle East Legal Studies Seminar (MELSS), directed by Professors Anthony Kronman and Owen Fiss, was established in 1998 as a forum in which influential judges, lawyers, and scholars from the region could exchange ideas and forge ties with one another, and with students and members of the Yale Law School faculty. The latest meeting took place in Jordan in January 2011. Past topics have included the concept of legal authority, fundamental rights, and religious pluralism. The Seminar has successfully brought together established and emerging leaders who are open to reform and committed to democracy in their own countries.
Comparative Administrative Law Initiative
This initiative studies the way administrative law principles and practices interact with other governmental institutions. Its comparative focus is broad, encompassing established and emerging democracies and non-democratic regimes.
Comparative Law Works in Progress Workshop
The Comparative Law Works in Progress Workshop is a joint project of YLS, the University of Illinois College of Law, Princeton University, and the American Society of Comparative Law. It provides comparative law scholars in the United States an opportunity to meet and discuss their work. The two-day meeting aims both to strengthen scholarship in the field and to create synergy and foster more dialogue, cooperation, and increased coherence among scholars of comparative law. The 2011 meeting took place at Yale Law School, and was jointly sponsored by the American Society of Comparative Law.