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International Legal Studies

Meg Fowler '18 at The Hague

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The Vanderbilt International Legal Studies program provides a strong intellectual and practical foundation for students looking to practice law in a global environment. Students engage with cutting-edge international law topics in the classroom, and then apply their knowledge with hands-on experience through the International Law Practice Lab, our two State Department grants, independent studies, and annual externships. While pathways into international legal practice can be complex and variable, our program equips students with the substantive understanding of complex issues, pragmatic skills, personalized mentorship, and professional experiences needed to launch a career that meshes with their individual needs and interests.

Read Student Provided Guidance on Choosing your own Path Through the Program

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. Further, our faculty brings deep expertise and experience at the highest levels of international legal practice accompanied by an authentic commitment to working alongside Vanderbilt students to help them achieve lasting personal and professional success.

Learn more about our faculty and staff.

The International Legal Studies Program provides Vanderbilt students with a strong foundation for post-graduate success. Vanderbilt alumni have been employed in a wide range of international organizations, including the United Nations, World Trade Organization, and World Intellectual Property Organization; a range of U.S. governmental agencies such as the State Department, Department of Defense and Homeland Security; and international tribunals, such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. We have a very strong placement record in leading law firms. Vanderbilt Law students have also found success in federal Honors Programs and the Presidential Management Fellowship Program—the Federal Government’s flagship leadership development program—with eight students from the class of 2010 alone selected for the program. Other graduates have accepted offers from top law firms in areas related to projects undertaken as part of the International Law Practice Lab. Most recently, a Vanderbilt alumni served as a member of Covington & Burling’s Ukraine v. Russian Federation litigation team. Others have taken the Foreign Service Exam and are serving overseas in the Department of State, have served as judicial clerks at the District and Circuit level before making a transition into an international law field. Many students use their international law foundation as a springboard for successful careers in international arbitration practice, environmental law, corporate practice, sanctions work, litigation, and more . Your professional horizons will stretch from Nashville throughout the world based on your preparation, interests, and perseverance.

See recent externship opportunities.

Scholarships and stipends are available to students with interest in international law. The International Legal Studies Program awards a scholarship to an entering student 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. Each year a rising 2L is selected to receive the Helen Strong Curry International Legal Studies Scholarship, which provides supplemental funding for each of the second and third years of law school to support study in international law. Funds including the Ones W. Polk II International Studies Stipend, Nichols Humanitarian Fund, and International Legal Studies Program Stipend are available to support international legal studies or externships. More information is available on the  Program Scholarships  page.

Read the FAST FACTS.

Upcoming Events

October 5th, 2023 Phillip Riblett, Serving in the State Department Office of the Legal Advisor
October 12th, 2023 2023-2024 Jonathan I. Charney Distinguished Lecture in International Law
October 15th-21st, 2023 United Nations Short Course with Steven Hill
November 3rd, 2023 Gen Rich Clarke, USA (RET.), A Four-Star Perspective on Military Lawyering
November 7th, 2023 Philippe Sands, KC, After East West Street: Words, Crimes, Stories
January 25th-26th, 2024 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law Symposium