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The Center for International Law and Policy conducts research, collaborates with domestic and international legal partners, and supports efforts to promote policies with international ramifications. These projects provide students with practical applications of their international law studies, often as early as the first semester.

Bogota, Colombia
Bogota, Colombia, the subject of CILP work related to transitional justice, reconciliation, and reparations in the wake of the country's 50-year civil war

What Do Projects Entail?

Center for International Law and Policy (CILP) projects are open to all law students. They may be of particular interest to those pursuing an International Law Concentration. Projects may also count as pro bono work recognized on law school transcripts and public service honor rolls.

Starting as early as their first semester of law school, interested students can apply to join these projects by contacting CILP Director Lisa Laplante. Their project work might include such responsibilities as:

  • Researching legal issues and helping draft reports
  • Collaborating on legal training materials
  • Providing advice to domestic and international organizations
  • Developing legal research databases
  • Analyzing research for external organizations

You can learn more about specific ongoing CILP projects below.

Business and Human Rights Projects

The Center for International Law and Policy enables students to join the effort to hold corporations accountable for actions that negatively impact human rights. The center participates in the global dialogue fostered by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “Ruggie Principles”) and partners with NGOs and institutes working on these issues. 

The center’s work is closely connected to ongoing policy discussions in the United States and abroad. A group of students and faculty recently provided testimony at the Massachusetts Statehouse in support of legislation to ensure that victims of human rights abuses get their day in court. The center’s director also published commentary to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development related to its guidelines on responsible business conduct.  

Examples of Project Work

  • Human Rights Monitoring: Developing a database of operational grievance mechanisms from corporations around the world to analyze if and how they handle human rights claims by workers and communities.
  • Corporate Accountability Strategy: Surveying state tort law to identify avenues for holding corporations accountable for human rights violations.
  • Comparative Law: Conducting research of country laws that impose corporate responsibility regulations on multinational businesses.

Project Resources and Recent Publications

Access to Justice, Rule of Law, and Transitional Justice Projects

Countries transitioning from violent conflict, repression, and other situations that cause massive human rights violations commonly adopt a transitional justice agenda that includes truth commissions, domestic and international criminal trials, reparations for victims, and institutional reform. The center supports this work through assistance with litigation, reports and scholarship, course instruction, externships, and student-led research projects.

The center is currently advising on litigation before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a group of victims falsely accused of terrorism in Peru who are seeking reparations. 

Examples of Project Work

  • Transitional Justice Advising: Helping local partners advise a Minister of Justice on methodologies for community-business reconciliation as part of its post-conflict transitional justice process.
  • Business and Transitional Justice: Surveying post-conflict strategies that include a focus on business accountability.
  • Access to Remedy: Developing a briefing report to assist advocates involved in drafting a treaty on business and human rights.
  • Legal Support: Provide ongoing litigation support in the Inter-American Human Rights System

Project Resources and Recent Publications