Professor Sarah Cleveland Earns High State Department Post

Winter 2010

Professor Sarah H. Cleveland, co-director of the Law School’s Human Rights Institute, has been appointed to serve as counselor on international law with the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser. In this role, she will advise both the State Department and the executive branch on issues related to international law.

“Needless to say, we will miss Professor Cleveland during her two-year term of service,” wrote David M. Schizer, Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, in an email to alumni. “But we are extremely proud of the important work that she will do at the State Department.”

Cleveland, the Louis Henkin Professor in Human and Constitutional Rights, is a renowned expert in the constitutional law of U.S. foreign relations, international human and labor rights, and the interface between human rights and international trade. During her two years at the State Department, her responsibilities will include serving as the liaison between the Legal Adviser’s office, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Justice Department, and the White House counsel.

Although this will be Cleveland’s first formal government post, she has long been involved in policy work. As an expert on the Afghanistan Transitional Commercial Law Project Working Group in 2003, she helped draft a labor code for the country’s post-Taliban regime. After helping to form the Detention without Trial Working Group, Cleveland and the new coalition met with President Obama to push for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Several weeks after that meeting, the president called for the controversial facility to be shut down.

In addition to her work with the Law School, Cleveland serves on the legal advisory board of several human rights organizations and on the board of editors for the Journal of International Economic Law. She will return to the Law School in 2011.