2015-2016 YLS Courses involving International, Transnational, Comparative, and Foreign Law
Traditional Classroom Courses
Other Academic Opportunities at Yale University
The academic curriculum in the area of globalization is extremely varied. Many courses address international law and the global consequences of domestic law even when they are not a central focus of the class. Even the introductory Federal Income Taxation course, for example, covers the tax consequences of cross-border transactions and implications for U.S. tax policy.
Aside from those courses, many other offerings at the Law School have international law, foreign law, or “transnational law as their central focus. They include four types of courses: traditional classroom courses; workshops; student-generated courses; and clinical courses or courses that involve experiential learning.
Traditional Classroom Courses
The academic curriculum in international law is varied and offers students exposure to a wide range of topics. They include larger courses, such as Comparative Law (taught by Jim Whitman), Introduction to Transnational Law (Oona Hathaway), International Business Transactions (Amy Chua), International Trade Law (David Grewal), European Union Law (Alec Stone Sweet), International Commercial Arbitration (Michael Reisman), International Human Rights Law (Jim Silk), The European Court of Human Rights (Alec Stone Sweet), Public Order of the World Community (Michael Reisman and Lea Brilmayer), International Criminal Law (Mirjan Damaska), International Courts and Tribunals (Lea Brilmayer), International Investment Law (Michael Reisman), and Comparative Constitutional Law (Alec Stone Sweet). The curriculum also includes a variety of smaller more specialized seminars, such as Rights in a Comparative Perspective; Contemporary Legal Issues in Africa; Climate Change Law, Theory, and Practice; Laws of War; The Role of a Judge in a Democracy; Islamic Law and Policy; Peacemaking; Political Economy of Migration; the International Financial Crisis; Immigration and Citizenship Policies; Global Health Ethics, Politics and Economics; Human Rights and Difference; Comparative Immigration and Citizenship Laws and Policies; the Judicial Role in Constitutional Interpretation; Law and Social Movements; Military Justice; and The Role of a Judge in a Democracy, to name just a few.
True to the spirit of Yale Law School, which aims to include students in academic debates and discussions, there are several courses in the international area that expose students to cutting-edge academic and legal debates—frequently allowing them to engage outside academics or practitioners as active participants in a conversation over cutting-edge legal issues. These include the Chinese Legal Reform Workshop, Human Rights Workshop, and the Law and Globalization Workshop. Some of these specialized courses allow students to focus on particular regions of the world. For example, an innovative research seminar offered students an opportunity to compile and edit materials from truth commissions in South Africa and other countries.
Students are also active participants in the creation of courses at Yale Law School. Many students recruit faculty sponsors, and design their own reading groups and independent study on international topics. Reading groups in just the last few years include Contemporary Legal Issues: Canada; Global Political Economy; International Criminal Law: Cambodia; Middle East Law; Insurgency, Counterinsurgency and Law; Transnational Justice in Cambodia; Latin American Reading Group; Criminal Justice in China; Reproductive Rights and International Law; Peace, Order, and Good Government; Sanctions, Economic Warfare, and Law; Transitional Justice; Genocide and Mass Atrocities; Foundational Texts in International Law; Health Law and Policy; Law and the Postcolony; Women, Law and Economic Development; Argentina and Chile Civics; Brazil Civics; and Immigration Theory and Practice. Students sometimes even propose ideas for seminars that professors embrace. For example, Professor Paul Gewirtz taught a seminar, Issues in American Foreign Policy, which grew out of the interests of many Yale Law School students in international law and foreign policy.
Clinical Courses/Experiential Learning
Yale also offers extensive hands-on courses that address international law or transnational law and policy. These and other special curricular offerings help prepare students for a global legal practice. Some examples include:
The Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic offers students an opportunity to work on a wide range of human rights projects on behalf of human rights organizations and individual victims of human rights abuse. The practical experience provided by these and other clinical courses is supplemented by legal research classes that train students how to find and use international legal materials.
The Immigration Legal Services Clinic represents immigrants seeking asylum in the United States. The clinic assists clients with the preparation of their applications for asylum and presents their cases before Immigration Court. In addition, students represent clients before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the United States Court of Appeals. Finally, students assist clients in dealing with other matters that arise in relation to the immigration proceedings and following a grant of political asylum.
The International Law and Foreign Affairs Seminar gives students an opportunity to work with the Department of State and Congress on current legal and policy challenges.
The Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic represents immigrants, low-wage workers, and their organizations in labor, immigration, criminal justice, civil rights, and other matters. The clinic docket includes cases at all stages of legal proceedings in Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, U.S. District Court, the Second Circuit, and before Connecticut state agencies and courts. Its non-litigation work includes the representation of grassroots organizations, labor unions, and other groups in regulatory and legislative reform efforts, media advocacy, strategic planning, and other matters. All students handle at least one litigation and one non-litigation matter, and have the opportunity to explore multiple practice areas.
The Environmental Protection Clinic addresses environmental law and policy problems on behalf of client organizations such as environmental groups, government agencies, and international bodies. The Clinic has a special focus on advocacy to promote solutions to global warming, but also engages in advocacy on other complex and significant environmental issues. Among its recent projects, the clinic represented a new organization dedicated to assisting Pacific Island nation states with international global warming negotiations. Clinic students participated in the Copenhagen climate negotiations in December 2009, and the technical follow-up sessions in Bonn in June 2010, engaging in research to support the Island nations in advocating for effective international global warming policies.
The Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project affords students an opportunity to examine the Middle East's gravest humanitarian crisis in generations as well as broader issues in refugee law and policy. Class sessions combine project rounds with a consideration of the development and content of the international refugee legal regime, United States policy toward refugees, and the particulars of the Iraqi refugee crisis.
In the Transnational Development Clinic, students work on a range of litigation and non-litigation projects designed to promote community-centered international development, with an emphasis on global poverty. Rather than focus on international development institutions, such as the World Bank or UN bodies, the year-long clinic works with community-based clients and client groups, and provides them with legal advice, counseling, and representation in order to promote specific development projects. The clinic also focuses on development projects that have a meaningful nexus to the U.S., in terms of client populations, litigation or advocacy forum, or applicable legal or regulatory framework.
Henry R. Luce Hall houses the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.
Yale University offers exceptional resources for developing and deepening intellectual interests spanning geographic regions and academic disciplines. Home of one of the oldest interdisciplinary programs in International Relations, the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale has numerous interdisciplinary faculty councils, centers, committees, and programs. These provide opportunities for scholarly research and intellectual innovation, and encourage faculty and student interchange for undergraduates as well as graduate and professional students.
After the first term, YLS students may opt to take a limited number of courses in other parts of Yale University for Law School credit. Such courses must be relevant to the student’s program of study in the Law School or planned legal career. Students should consult the YLS Bulletin for permission requirements and further information. Bulletins from other schools within the University are available online.
Among various joint degree options, Yale Law students interested in international affairs may wish to consider a four-year J.D-M.A. with Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Students may choose a regional specialization such as Africa, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, or Russia and Eastern Europe. To complete the joint degree, students must complete the requirements for the Global Affairs degree, though only a total of 12, not 16, courses are required. None of these courses may be Law courses though two of the Global Affairs concentration requirements may be obtained through courses at Yale Law School. Students must also petition the Law School's Special Course of Study committee and complete the requirements for the J.D. degree.