International & Comparative Law Program


For Students – International and Comparative Law Program

Specialization and Courses

J.D. and LL.M. students can pursue a specialized certificate designed for those seeking advanced study in international and comparative law, including international human rights law, and those who intend to practice law in those fields. International and comparative law is unique as a field of study because it is particularly diverse. Students in the International and Comparative Law Specialization can choose to structure their curriculum to focus on any number of priorities, such as public international law, comparative and foreign law, international human rights law, international criminal law, international trade law and international intellectual property law, among others.

Visit the UCLA School of Law Curriculum Guide for a list of current international and comparative law and international human rights law courses.


International Human Rights Clinic

The International Human Rights Clinic gives students the opportunity to navigate international human rights law theory and practice in the service of real clients.  It has two components: clinical projects and a seminar. Clinic students partner with human rights organizations to achieve the latter’s legal and advocacy goals. By doing so students gain firsthand experience with the practice of international human rights lawyers, thus developing important skills required for this practice. Each year the clinic works on an international and a domestic human rights issue to provide students with important comparative perspective. In one semester, for example, clinic students have worked to vindicate the rights of Mozambican migrant mineworkers based in South Africa, and at the same time used the Inter-American Human Rights system to vindicate the rights of Los Angeles residents abused in immigration detention in the United States. Providing the theoretical counterpart to students’ practical work, the weekly clinic seminar: introduces students to some of the most contentious debates surrounding the theory and practice of international human rights law; provides students with the tools they will need to identify and address ethical concerns in the practice of international human rights law; and sharpens lawyering skills relevant to their clinic projects.


Career Support

The International and Comparative Law Program hosts a Pathways to Careers in International Law Event Series every academic year. This series provides informational and networking opportunities for students interested in practicing law in these fields.

The UCLA Law Career Services has a wealth of resources for admitted students hoping to establish a career in international human rights law.  Interested students should meet with their career counselor or Jessica Peake to discuss their interests and potential internship, externship and job opportunities in this field of law.

The International and Comparative Law Program and the Office of Public Interest Programs have a helpful guide to assist students in their job search.

Careers in Public International Law and Human Rights

Internships and Externships

In addition to a vibrant curriculum, students also enjoy opportunities to spend a semester or summer doing an externship or internship in international law, comparative law, or human right law with a non-governmental organization, an international organization or with government. UCLA students have held summer or semester long placements in places as varied as:

  • The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the Hague, The Netherlands;
  • The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania;
  • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) in Geneva;
  • The International Organization on Migration (IMO) in Geneva;
  • The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome;
  • The State Departments Office of the Legal Adviser in Washington, D.C.;
  • The Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJ) in New York City
  • The Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in The Hague, The Netherlands, and Freetown, Sierra Leone;
  • The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia;
  • The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague, The Netherlands;
  • The Department of Defense, Washington, D.C.;
  • The Agency for International Development, Washington, D.C.;
  • Human Rights Watch, in Los Angeles, New York;
  • International Bridges to Justice, in Geneva;
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM), in Geneva;
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (OHCHR), in Malaysia, Washington, D.C.;
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in Indonesia;
  • The Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mexico.

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Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs (JILFA)

The UCLA Journal of International Law & Foreign Affairs (JILFA) is an interdisciplinary publication promoting scholarship in international law and foreign relations. JILFA publishes articles by leading scholars, practitioners, and other professionals from around the world, as well as student comments. Some of JILFA's issues are topical, focusing on immigration or international gender and race discrimination, and others offer more variety, ranging from conflicting approaches to technological developments, to the international criminal court, to sovereign debt crises.

JILFA hosts an annual symposium each spring semester. These symposia bring together leading academics and practitioners from around the world to discuss pressing issues in international law. JILFA's next symposium, to be held on March 14, 2014, will explore the future of international human rights litigation in American domestic courts in the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. (133 S.Ct. 1659 (2013)). The 2013 symposium focused on human rights issues in the emerging economic powers of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.  The 2012 symposium examined the Arab Spring and its consequences across the Middle East.

JILFA staff membership is open to JD students who have completed at least one semester of law school and all LLM students. JILFA staff assist with selecting, reading, editing, and formatting articles for publication. Through their participation, JILFA members gain valuable skills in critical analysis, collaboration, and legal editing.


Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law

The UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law (JINEL) is published once a year. As the first law school journal in the West dealing with this topic, JINEL’s goal is to emphasize and critically analyze all legal issues--social, political, civil, historical, economic, and commercial--that are of particular relevance to Muslims and Near Easterners in both Muslim and non-Muslim societies. Thus we will: present issues relating to the laws of the Near East and their effects on the people and countries of the region and worldwide; present issues relating to the theoretical aspects of Islamic law and jurisprudence, and its application; discuss laws as they have affected the people of the Near East outside the region.


Pacific Basin Law Journal

UCLA’s Pacific Basin Law Journal publishes twice a year, covering a diverse range of legal issues with a focus on the rapidly developing economic nations of the Pacific Rim. Throughout its history, the journal has featured articles written by leading scholars and practitioners on international legal topics including human rights law, constitutional law, comparative law, criminal law, international trade law, business/corporate law, and intellectual property law. The breadth and diversity of the subject matter of the journal's articles contributes to its reputation as among the most innovative, informative, and authoritative publications at the UCLA School of Law.


Student Organizations

International Justice Project

The UCLA International Justice Project (IJP) is a student-run extracurricular clinical program at the UCLA School of Law. IJP partners law students with human rights organizations from around the world to provide firsthand experience with the practice of international human rights law. IJP helps students develop the basic skills and substantive knowledge necessary for international human rights and international justice advocacy. Students collaborate with partner organizations to draft legal memoranda and briefs, and to provide valuable international and comparative legal research. 

IJP is currently working on a range of projects with organizations addressing domestic human rights issues as well as issues abroad in South Africa, Mexico, Zimbabwe, and Iraq. JD students may begin IJP work in the second semester of their first year, and LLM students may join as soon as they arrive at UCLA.


International Human Rights Law Association

The International Human Rights Law Association's (IHRLA) purpose is to provide a student-led forum for developing knowledge, sharing experiences, and promoting career opportunities within the field of international human rights law at the UCLA School of Law. IHRLA endeavors to work closely with the International Human Rights Program and other organizations, both on and off campus, to provide meaningful opportunities for learning, project-based research, and career assistance to students within the Law School.


Immigration Law Society

The Immigration Law Society (IMLS) at UCLA seeks to educate students on issues impacting the immigrant community, as well as bridge a connection with immigration law academic scholars and practitioners. A primary focus of the organization is to help law students volunteer with agencies that provide free or low-cost legal services for low-income immigrants. Students who volunteer with the VAWA Clinic work with attorneys at the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) to prepare declarations for victims of serious crimes, including domestic violence, in order to apply for U-Visas and VAWA. Students also volunteer with the Youth Deportation Defense Clinic, in conjunction with the Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project, by conducting legal screenings for minors to help the family identify potential defenses to deportation and connect the child with free or low-cost representation.

Other volunteer opportunities include assisting local non-profit organizations with processing applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and other forms of relief. IMLS also organizes educational speaker series on hot topics, the Spanish for Lawyers training and an annual mixer with immigration law practitioners


Moot Court

Participation in moot court is a fantastic part of the law school experience, and UCLA Law Students have participated in some of the most prestigious international law related competitions worldwide.  These experiences allow students to develop crucial lawyering skills and to make connections with a broad network of professionals and other students.

Clara Barton International Humanitarian Law Competition

The Clara Barton International Humanitarian Law Competition is a simulation-based, experiential legal competition designed to expose rising professionals to the practice of IHL and to real world challenges facing IHL practitioners during armed conflict.

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Jean Pictet International Humanitarian Law Pleading Competition

The Jean-Pictet Competition is a training event in international humanitarian law (IHL) for students taking part in the competition in teams of three students. The teams compete in the context of simulations and role plays built around a fictitious armed conflict.

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The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot

The goal of the Vis Arbitral moot is to foster the study of international commercial law and arbitration for resolution of international business disputes through its application to a concrete problem of a client and to train law leaders of tomorrow in methods of alternative dispute resolution.

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In an increasingly interconnected world, experience and familiarity with international law and other nations' legal systems and cultures is increasingly indispensable for lawyers, legal scholars and law students alike.

Recognizing this powerful trend, UCLA School of Law offers various opportunities for its students, and for law students in other countries, to gain exposure to international law and the legal systems and cultures of other nations. 

UCLA School of Law has partnered with many leading academic institutions in Europe, Asia, Israel, Australia and South America to establish the Foreign Legal Study and Exchange Program (FLSEP). Under exchange agreements with these partner schools, UCLA School of Law will host the most highly qualified students from its partner schools, while similarly talented and committed UCLA law students may sample the intellectual and cultural riches that partner schools offer.

The program is highly selective - each semester, each partner school may normally nominate only up to two students to attend UCLA School of Law for a semester, and UCLA School of Law may normally nominate only up to two students to attend each partner school for a similar academic term. Well-qualified candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

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Interdisciplinary Study Opportunities

UCLA School of Law has long been a leader in the interdisciplinary study of law, and unlike many other schools, UCLA law students can take courses in the professional schools and departments elsewhere on the UCLA campus, offering yet another way for students to connect to the world outside of the law school.

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