International Legal Studies Program

Choose your own path

From Vanderbilt in Venice—Vanderbilt’s summer international law immersive experience in Venice, Italy—to extracurricular activities like the Jessup Moot Court team or Vanderbilt Transnational Journal [ranked 4th among International Law journals], the International Legal Studies program gives students room to design their own education in international law. Vanderbilt will help you tailor your professional horizons to align with your experiences, goals, and intellectual interests.

Student Involvement Opportunities

Vanderbilt’s four-week international law summer intensive in Venice, Italy. Vanderbilt in Venice offers students six credits, including two of the six experiential credits required for graduation by the ABA.

Internships & Externships

The Vanderbilt International Legal Studies program's internship and externship programs allow Vanderbilt students to gain substantial experience working alongside legal professionals on a range of important international law projects in organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Coordinated by Professor Michael Newton, the program places students in international courts, international institutions, offices of the U.S. government, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

As part of the International Legal Studies Program, Vanderbilt students frequently participate in opportunities directly related to client support that lead directly to externship opportunities or create contacts that later lead to employment opportunities. 

Recent ILSP Summer Internships

  • U.S. Government Agencies
    • Center for Law and Military Operations, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Center and School
    • Central Intelligence Agency, Office of the Special Advisor for Law of War and Related Matters
    • Federal Communications Commission, International Bureau, Strategic Analysis and Negotiations Division
    • U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General's Corps
    • U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps
    • U.S. Consulate, Political/Economic Section, Milan, Italy
    • U.S. Court of International Trade
    • U.S. Department of Defense, Office of General Counsel, International Affairs Division
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Human Rights Violator Law Division
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Human Rights Division
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Compliance Branch
    • U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of International Affairs
    • U.S. Department of Justice, Access to Justice Initiative
    • U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Tort Claims Act Litigation Section/Civil Division
    • U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Marshals Service, Office of General Counsel
    • U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs
    • U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
    • U.S. Department of State, Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
    • U.S. Department of State, International Organizations Bureau, Office of Peacekeeping, Sanctions, and Counter-Terrorism
    • U.S. Department of State, Office of Global Affairs
    • U.S. Department of State, Office of Global Women's Issues
    • U.S. Department of State, Office of Population, Refugees, & Migration
    • U.S. Department of State. Office of Development and Finance
    • U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, Office of Regional Counsel
    • U.S. Embassy, Economic/General Policy Unit, London, England
    • U.S. Embassy, Office of Legal Counsel, The Hague, Netherlands
    • U.S. Marine Corps, Judge Advocate General's Corps
    • U.S. Military Commissions, Office of the Prosecutor
    • U.S. Mission to the European Union, Brussels, Belgium
    • U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Political and Specialized Agencies Section
    • U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps
    • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Investor Education and Advocacy
    • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement
  • International Organizations
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution practice group, Tilleke & Gibbins, Bangkok, Thailand
    • American Bar Association Rule of Law Project, Baku, Azerbaijan
    • European Union Intellectual Property Office (formerly Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market), Trademarks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union, Alicante, Spain
    • European Union Intellectual Property Office, Trademarks and Designs Registration Office of the European Union, Alicante, Spain
    • Global Constitutional Justice Project, Utrecht, Netherlands
    • Global Rights Compliance, The Hague, Netherlands [STRATEGIC PARTNER] (providing trial support to a team in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia)
    • Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law, the Hague, Netherlands
    • Instituto de Defensa Legal, Lima, Peru
    • International Bar Association, IBA/ICC Monitoring and Outreach Programme, Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands
    • International Chamber of Commerce, Paris, France
    • International Civilian Office, International Civilian Office/European Union Special Representative, Pristina, Kosovo
    • International Civilian Office, Pristina, Kosovo
    • International Criminal Court trial team, The Hague, Netherlands
    • International Justice Mission, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
    • International Law Institute, African Center for Excellence, Kampala, Uganda 
    • Irish Centre for Human Rights, Galway, Ireland 
    • Justice Studies Center of the Americas, Santiago, Chile
    • Kitahama Law Offices, Osaka, Japan
    • Kurdish Regional Government Mission to the U.S., Washington, D.C.
    • Ministry of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Lagos
    • Ministry of Justice, Lima Peru
    • Section Crimes Contre l'Humanite et Crimes de Guerre/Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section Justice, Ottawa Canada
    • Singapore International Arbitration Center
    • Starvation as a Method of War Project, Global Rights Compliance, The Hague, Netherlands [STRATEGIC PARTNER]
    • Supreme Court of Israel, law clerk, Tel Aviv
    • M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague, Netherlands
    • Uganda Law Society, Kampala, Uganda
    • United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Legal Development Office, Rome, Italy
    • United Nations Headquarters, Office of Field Operations, New York
    • United Nations Platform for Space-based Information for Disaster Management & Emergency Response, Vienna, Austria
    • United States Agency for International Development Justice for All Activity, J4A, Kyiv, Ukraine
    • World Intellectual Property Organization, Copyright and Related Rights Sector, Geneva, Switzerland
    • World Intellectual Property Organization, IP Enforcement Division & Legislation/Legal Advice Division, Geneva, Switzerland
    • World Intellectual Property Organization, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Division & Copyright Law Division, Geneva, Switzerland
  • International Courts & Tribunals
    • International Criminal Court, defense team, Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto & Joshua Arap Sang, The Hague, Netherlands
    • International Criminal Court, Office of the Prosecutor, The Hague, Netherlands
    • International Criminal Court, trial team, Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain & Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus, The Hague, Netherlands
    • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Arusha, Tanzania
    • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, judicial chambers, Arusha, Tanzania
    • International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, defense team, The Hague, Netherlands
    • International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Milosevic trial team, The Hague, Netherlands
    • International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, trial team, Radovan Karadzic
    • Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor's Office, The Hague, Netherlands
    • Special Tribunal for Lebanon, The Hague, Netherlands
  • Non-Government Organizations
    • American Bar Association, Center for Human Rights
    • American Non-Governmental Coalition for the International Criminal Court; Participating on the delegation to the June 2008 session of the Assembly of States Parties
    • Americans for Immigrant Justice
    • Childreach Africa, Gulu & Kampala, Uganda
    • European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Berlin, Germany
    • European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Berlin, Germany
    • Henry L. Stimson Center
    • Holland & Knight, Community Services team, immigration law practice
    • Human Rights Law Centre, Nottingham, United Kingdom
    • Human Rights Watch
    • Human Rights Watch, Terrorism and Human Rights Bureau
    • International Association of Genocide Scholars
    • International Criminal Law Network, The Hague, Netherlands
    • International Criminal Law Network, The Hague, Netherlands
    • L3 Corporation, Office of General Counsel
    • Lily of the Valley HIV Clinic, South Africa
    • Mayer & Brown, the LIST Project to assist Iraqi Refugees, immigration law practice 
    • No Peace Without Justice
    • No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, Belgium 
    • Oxford University Press, Legal Editors
    • PricewaterhouseCoopers, Global Human Resources Department (transnational tax work)
    • Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, Tel Aviv, Israel
    • Southern Migrant Legal Services
    • Southern Migrant Legal Services, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, Inc.
    • M.C. Asser Institute, The Hague, Netherlands 
    • The Heritage Foundation
    • The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
    • World Legal Forum and the International Criminal Law Network, The Hague, Netherlands
    • World Legal Forum Foundation at the International Criminal Law Network, The Hague, Netherlands
    • World Organization for Human Rights USA

Recent ILSP Summer Externships

  • U.S. Government Agencies
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate
    • U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of the Chief Counsel for International Commerce
    • U.S. Department of Defense, Office of General Counsel, International Affairs
    • U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Law Division, Office of Law and Policy
    • U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
    • U.S. Department of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Office of Policy and Global Issues
    • U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research
    • U.S. Department of State, Bureau of U.N. Political Affairs
    • U.S. Department of State, Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs Bureau
    • U.S. Department of State, European Bureau, Regional Political/Military Affairs
    • U.S. Department of State, Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement
    • U.S. Department of State, Office of Population, Refugees, & Migration
    • U.S. Department of State, Office of the Assistant Legal Advisor for Private International Law 
    • U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Advisor, Political/Military Affairs
    • U.S. Embassy, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    • U.S. Embassy, Office of Legal Counsel, The Hague, Netherlands
    • U.S. Embassy, Vientiane, Laos
    • U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Regulatory Affairs Legal Division, Office of Chief Counsel
    • U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Political and Specialized Agencies, Switzerland
    • U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
    • U.S. Mission to the United Nations, Office of the Legal Advisor, New York
  • International Organizations
    • British Institute of International and Comparative Law, London, England 
    • Global Rights Compliance, The Hague, Netherlands (providing trial support to a team in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia)
    • International Bar Association, London, England
    • Legal Assistance Center, Windhoek, Namibia
    • Nigerian Copyright Commission, Lagos, Nigeria
    • Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Pristina, Kosovo
    • Uganda Lawyers for Human Rights, Kampala, Uganda
    • United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Office of the Prosecutor, The Hague, Netherlands
    • United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, United Nations Secretariat, New York
  • International Courts & Tribunals
    • International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Office of the Prosecutor, The Hague, Netherlands
    • Special Court for Sierra Leone, Office of the Prosecutor, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Funding Opportunities

  • Raymonde I. Paul Scholarship

    Vanderbilt Law School awards this scholarship to an entering student who shows a demonstrated interest in participating actively in Vanderbilt's International Legal Studies Program. The Raymonde I. Paul Scholar is selected during the admission process from among admitted applicants who apply. The scholarship was established in memory of the late Raymonde I. Paul, who developed a diverse practice in international law and participated extensively in the International Federation of Women Lawyers.

    Current Scholars

    • Stacy Jo, Class of '25
    • Anna Coplon, Class of '24
    • Melissa Gerdts, Class of '23
  • Helen Strong Curry International Legal Studies Scholars

    Vanderbilt Law School selects one Helen Strong Curry International Law Scholar each year from among current first-year J.D. students who express a strong interest in studying and practicing international law and apply for this scholarship. Helen Strong Curry International Law Scholars receive supplemental scholarship funds for their second and third years of study at VLS.

    Current Scholars

  • Ones W. Polk II International Studies Stipend

    This fund provides a stipend of up to $1,500 each year to enable a student in financial need to pursue a summer externship in international law. The fund commemorates Ones W. Polk II, a member of the Vanderbilt Law Class of 1998, and was established through gifts from Mr. Polk's family and the Class of 1998.

  • Nichols Humanitarian Fund

    The Nichols Humanitarian Fund is provided to both undergraduates and a select few law students at Vanderbilt University every year. Students submit proposals and receive monetary support as they undertake a humanitarian project anywhere in the world that the university will sponsor travel. A competitive fund, our office works to award thirty students per year. Students apply during the academic year and conduct their service in the summer. This past year, thirty-two students completed projects in a variety of locations both locally and globally.

  • International Legal Studies Program Stipend

    Vanderbilt Law School International Legal Studies Program accepts requests from current students for funding based on their interest in Vanderbilt's International Legal Studies Program. For more information, please contact the director of the International Legal Studies Program, Professor Mike Newton.

  • Public Interest Summer Stipends

    Vanderbilt's Public Interest Summer Stipends provides students pursuing public interest work with international organizations financial support.

Jonathan I. Charney Distinguished Lectures in International Law

The Jonathan I. Charney Distinguished Lecture in International Law honors Professor Charney, one of the world's preeminent experts on international law, who held the Lee S. & Charles A. Speir Chair at Vanderbilt Law School until his death in 2002. The series funds academic lectures and other presentations on international law by distinguished figures in the field.

Previous Lectures

  • 2022-23: Pramila Patten

    Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, the United Nations Office of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, "Evolution and Impact of the Mandate on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence" - November 10, 2022

  • 2019-20: Paul C. Ney, Jr. '84

    Paul C. Ney, Jr. '84 (MBA'84), General Counsel at the Department of Defense, "The Rule of Law in International Security Affairs: A U.S. Defense Department Perspective"

  • 2018-19: Judge Howard Morrison

    Judge Howard Morrison, International Criminal Court based in The Hague, Netherlands, "International Criminal Justice - The Road Less Traveled"

  • 2016-17: Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein

    Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, "Global Challenges to Human Rights"

  • 2014-15: Sir Michael Wood

    Sir Michael Wood, a senior fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Lauterpacht Centre for International Law and a member of the International Law Commission, London, “International Organizations and Customary Law”

  • 2012-13: Fatou B. Bensouda

    Fatou B. Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, The Hague, "Reflections from the International Criminal Court Prosecutor"