A virtual classroom brings law students in China and at Harvard together








It’s Wednesday night in Cambridge and Thursday morning in Beijing, and their seminar rooms are some 6,700 miles apart, but for 30 students from Harvard Law School and the Renmin University of China School of Law, common interests and videoconferencing equipment easily bridge these distances.

During this spring semester, students in a reading group taught by HLS Professor William P. Alford and an advanced negotiation skills class taught by Renmin Assistant Professor Alonzo Emery ’10 have come together electronically to consider the roles of China and the U.S. in a world order in flux.

Please visit the Harvard Law School website to read more.


Winter Term Opportunities: Writing and Clinical Projects and International Travel Grants

All Harvard Law School students enroll in Winter Term for three weeks in January.  While all first-year students take a Problem-Solving Workshop at HLS, second- and third-year and LL.M. students may choose among a number of options for winter term.  Some of our students enroll in HLS courses offered in the winter term and receive law school classroom credits.  Other students devote the winter term to doing the research for or to writing a substantial paper under the supervision of an HLS faculty member through the Winter Writing Program. Students with prior approval may travel—domestically or abroad—to conduct research that they have shown cannot be done in Cambridge and is necessary to the success of the project. Students interested in a legal practice experience may participate in a clinical program during the winter term, which allows them to spend the three week term doing direct client services or research and writing for a non-profit, government, or public interest organization.  Recent Winter Term projects have enabled students to work for the South African Judicial Inspectorate of Prisons, examine antiquities trafficking in Guatemala, and study security regulations in Korea. Other projects have taken HLS students to China, Guyana, Haiti, India, Kenya, and Switzerland, to name just a few.  The Winter Term International Travel Grant Program provides funding to students for overseas travel during Winter Term.

Please join us on Tuesday, October 2 at 12 p.m. for an information session on Winter Term Opportunities:  Writing and Clinical Projects and International Travel. The session will be held in Wasserstein 2004; lunch will be served.

{Photo:  In January 2011, Randall Gonzalez-Villalobos (LLM ’11) and Maggie Morgan (JD ’11) conducted research on behalf of the Ghana Legal Resources Centre as part of Professor Lucie White’s course “Making Rights Real: The Ghana Project.”}


A spotlight on reading groups

“Last summer, Professor Robert Mnookin ’68, an expert in the field of conflict resolution and negotiation, found himself wanting to know more about U.S.-Cuba relations. “I had an idea that there was a very interesting set of questions related to when, how and whether the two countries would ever negotiate a reconciliation,” he says. He decided to investigate by teaching a reading group—a small, 1-credit class with no exams or graded papers, where 2Ls and 3Ls are able to dig deeply into a given topic in a way that provokes extended discussion among the group. “I am not an expert on Cuba; I’m an expert on negotiation, and what a reading group allowed me to do is learn with the students about an area I didn’t know much about,” he says.”

To read more, please visit the Harvard Law School web site at http://www.law.harvard.edu/news/spotlight/classroom/04-page-turners.html. For a list of the more than 90 courses, seminars and reading groups on international, comparative, or foreign law that will be taught at HLS this year, check out “Courses and Reading Groups” on the International Legal Studies pages on the site.

James Cavallaro, Clinical Professor and Executive Director of the Human Rights Program, on his winter term class in Costa Rica

“Over January term, I was in San José, Costa Rica, teaching a course on the doctrine and practice of the Inter-American Human Rights System with my colleague Stephanie Brewer (JD ’07).  The course is designed to expose students to the legal and practical elements of the inter-American system.  We chose San José, Costa Rica because it is the seat of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  This location allows us to bring stakeholders—including judges, attorneys for parties, for the Court, the Commission—into the classroom.  It allows for a much deeper understanding of the dynamics of the Commission and the Court, as well as their impact in Latin America.   It’s total immersion.  I think the students really enjoyed it.  Plus, I don’t think they were too upset about missing the wave of storms that hit the Northeast.”

Jan Kuntze, an exchange student from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, spending a semester at HLS

“I have really enjoyed the many international activities at HLS. Courses, such as the International Law Workshop with Prof. Bill Alford and Israel/Palestine Legal Issues with Prof. Duncan Kennedy, have allowed me to deepen my knowledge on international legal fields that I had studied before. Furthermore, they gave me the opportunity to discuss recent developments in international law with widely recognized scholars that came to class and gave presentations or led discussions. Apart from these benefits, it has been highly valuable to interact and debate with my fellow students at HLS who come from all over the world. We have created discussion groups to discuss our individual work on international environmental law and to explore common interests.”