Outline and Boxes on a Blue Blackground

International and Comparative Law

To work as a lawyer in a multinational arena—whether in trade, technology, finance, or the protection of human rights—requires an in-depth understanding of distinct legal systems and cultures, including their individual characteristics and how they work in concert with, or opposition to, each other. 

How do nations define and influence international relations, global commerce, and fundamental human rights? 

Columbia Law pioneered the study of international legal systems and offers unrivaled breadth and depth in the field. Today, the Law School remains at the forefront of scholarship and policy on issues of global human rights advocacy, international corporate and antitrust law, economic migration, and global governance. Regionally focused centers and programs host leading thinkers, scholars, and activists; take on pressing policy issues; and enable students to collaborate with faculty on groundbreaking research. Three centers focused on law in Asia offer extraordinary expertise and resources. Further, Columbia faculty helped develop international institutions—including the United Nations after World War II—and create the modern legal framework for global human rights law.

Why Columbia?

Take advantage of distinguished centers and institutes: The Law School is the only institution of its kind with three centers focused on Asian law: the Hong Yen Chang Center for Chinese Legal Studies, the Center for Japanese Legal Studies, and the Center for Korean Legal Studies. The European Legal Studies Center hosts visiting scholars and offers internships at international legal institutions. The Human Rights Institute is one of the oldest and largest law school human rights centers in the world, and with the Smith Family Human Rights Clinic, provides training in international advocacy and matches students with mentors experienced in global human rights work. 

Gain experience through externships at the United Nations and simulations in international law and in dispute resolution and diplomacy. 

Enroll in double-degree programs with universities in Europe, 15 study abroad programs in 11 countries, and cross-disciplinary course offerings through Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs

Participate in the Comparative & International Law Workshop and international moot court competitions for first-year students.

Apply for post-graduate fellowship opportunities at the European Court of Justice and the International Court of Justice. 

Related Faculty

Professor George Bermann

George A. Bermann

  • Walter Gellhorn Professor of Law and Jean Monnet Professor of European Union Law

Anu Bradford

  • Henry L. Moses Professor of Law and International Organization
Sarah Knuckey

Sarah Maree Knuckey

  • Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann and Bernstein Clinical Professor of Human Rights

Related Centers and Programs

Hong Yen Chang Center for Chinese Legal Studies

The Center for Chinese Legal Studies was the first organization of its kind at an American law school and has cultivated a tradition of rich scholarly exchange with the Chinese legal community for decades. It provides students with a wide range of curricular and extracurricular activities and guest speakers and equips them with the knowledge they will need to succeed in practicing within China’s rapidly changing legal environment. 


Center for International Commercial & Investment Arbitration

The Center for International Commercial & Investment Arbitration furthers the teaching and study of international arbitration. Through research and collaborations with other like-minded institutions worldwide, the center develops effective methods of resolving international disputes and encouraging international commerce and exchange. The center also prepares students and young professionals interested in arbitration and dispute resolution for careers in the field.

Center for Japanese Legal Studies

The Center for Japanese Legal Studies is the first and only center in the United States devoted exclusively to Japanese law. Bolstered by a premier private collection of Japanese law materials, the center facilitates understanding of the Japanese legal system through teaching and research. Through robust programs and events, course and speaker series, and faculty and student exchanges, the center promotes intellectual exchange between American and Japanese students and scholars.

Center for Korean Legal Studies

The Center for Korean Legal Studies supports research, education, and debate on a broad range of law and policy issues impacting the Korean Peninsula. The first of its kind in the United States, the center hosts programs, events, visiting scholars opportunities, and initiatives that engage leading practitioners and scholars. 


Center on Global Legal Transformation

The Center on Global Legal Transformation sheds light on the ways in which law shapes global relations and how they in turn transform law. The center develops major research projects, organizes workshops and conferences,  sponsors doctoral students, and engages researchers and policymakers from different disciplines, backgrounds, and locations.


European Legal Studies Center

The European Legal Studies Center trains students to assume leadership roles in international and European law, public affairs, and the global economy. The center’s New York home provides students with rich research and professional opportunities, including externships at the U.N. or U.N. missions, clinical opportunities in human rights, prestigious international internships and clerkships, and international dual degree and study abroad programs. Students can also take advantage of Columbia Law School’s curriculum, which offers one of the broadest arrays of international, comparative, and foreign law courses of any law school in the United States.