James J. Silk

Clinical Professor of Law, Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic and Director, Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights

(on leave, spring 2017)


James J. Silk is a Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School, where he directs the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. He is also director of the Law School’s Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights.

FULL BIOGRAPHY

Contact Information


Yale Law School

P.O. Box 208215

New Haven, CT 06520

Education & Curriculum Vitae


J.D., Yale Law School, 1989

M.A., University of Chicago, 1981

A.B., University of Michigan, 1969

Courses Taught


  • Human Rights Workshop
  • Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic

James J. Silk is a Clinical Professor of Law at Yale Law School, where he directs the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic. He is also director of the Law School’s Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights. He was formerly the director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights in Washington, D.C. After completing law school, he was an attorney at the Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter, where his pro bono work included representing a Virginia death-row inmate in his appeals. Before attending law school, Professor Silk was editor, policy analyst, and senior writer for the U.S. Committee for Refugees. He has taught English in Shanghai, China. Professor Silk has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, and a J.D. from Yale.

Monday, April 4, 2016


Bernstein Symposium, April 7–8, to Focus on Art and Human Rights

The Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Symposium will be held April 7–8, 2016. This year’s event is part of JUNCTURE: Explorations in Art and Human Rights.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Lowenstein Clinic Assists Brothers Stranded in Afghan Prison

On January 23, 2016, students in the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic gathered around the phone to speak with their clients, Sa’id Jamaluddin and Abdul Fatah, held at the Afghan National Detention Facility. The call was the first contact the two brothers have had with anyone outside of Afghanistan since they were captured by U.S. forces in 2009.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Artist Alfredo Jaar Gives JUNCTURE Initiative Talk on Feb. 3

Alfredo Jaar, a Chilean-born artist, architect, and filmmaker based in New York, will give a lecture titled “It Is Difficult” on February 3, 2016.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


YLS Team Makes Final Round in Human Rights Competition

In December 2015, a team of Yale Law School students advanced to the final round of the 2015 Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Clinic Study Finds Evidence of Genocide in Myanmar

In a legal analysis of the human rights situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School has found strong evidence of genocide against the Rohingya population.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


Human Rights Center Announces JUNCTURE, Yearlong Initiative on Art and Human Rights

Seeking to foster new and creative cross-disciplinary approaches to the study and practice of human rights and the arts, the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School has launched a new initiative called JUNCTURE.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Lowenstein Clinic and European Human Rights Advocacy Clinic Collaborating on Research

The Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic and the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre at Middlesex University in London are collaborating in research on human rights abuses in the Ukraine.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Lowenstein Clinic Releases Report on Child Marriage in Sierra Leone

The Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School and Plan UK, a global charity working with children and communities to ensure children’s rights, recently published a report, “Before Their Time: Challenges to Implementing the Prohibition Against Child Marriage in Sierra Leone.” 

Monday, April 8, 2013


Bernstein Symposium April 11-12 to Examine Human Rights and Corporate Liability

The Bernstein Symposium will cover corporate liability in the 21st century and take place on Thursday, April 11, 2013, and Friday, April 12, 2013, at Yale Law School.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Enough Project Co-founder and Human Rights Activist John Prendergast to Share His Experiences With Yale Community

Enough Project co-founder and human rights activist John Prendergast will be at Yale in October and November speaking about his efforts to end genocide and promote peace.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Report from Yale Human Rights Team Finds Cambodian Garment Factories Use Short-Term Employment Contracts to Exploit Workers

The Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School has released a report finding that Cambodian garment factories use short-term employment contracts to exploit workers.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic to Work with Legal Team Supporting Victims of Khmer Rouge Atrocities

Members of the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic have joined the legal team for the survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide seeking justice at the trial next year of four former senior Khmer Rouge leaders.

Monday, October 12, 2009


SELA Participants Gather in Paraguay to Examine Law and Sexuality

Nearly 100 lawyers and legal scholars from North and South America gathered in Asunción, Paraguay, this past June for the 2009 SELA meeting.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Schell Human Rights Center to Hold Panel on Sudan Crisis

The Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School is holding a panel discussion on the ongoing genocide in Sudan on Tuesday, November 30, from 6-7:30 p.m. in Room 127 at the Sterling Law Building, 127 Wall Street.

Friday, November 23, 2001


Schell Center Human Rights Workshop: A Forum for Practitioners, Activists, Scholars--and Students

The formula is as pure as any educational enterprise can be: a location, students, and teachers. Laptops aren't necessary, nor is an Ethernet connection or audio-visual equipment--because the Human Rights Workshop at YLS centers on discussion. The presence of a table heaped with snacks and drinks may help boost attendance a little, but everyone is most interested in the consumption of ideas and information.