Best All-Around Chapter: Boston University School of Law

Boston University School of Law is ther winner of the Best All-Around Chapter for 2013.Throughout the 2012-2013 school year, the International Law Society at Boston University has maintained a constant presence on campus through a series of events ranging from Professors’ presentations, student panels, career discussion panels, and coffee chats with professors. Furthermore the chapter has fostered relationships with several other groups, establishing the values of international law as they relate to other fields and thus inspiring students, that may otherwise remain unaware, to learn more about the group and the practice at large.

Boston University International Law Society joined forces with several inter-disciplinary groups throughout the year. One of the most successful events of this type was “Doctors of the Dark Side,” a collaboration with Boston University Medical School focusing on the role of doctors in torture and the legal obligation of lawyers to respond to this on an international level. The discussion also developed inter-disciplinary discussions about the ethical and legal problems with doctors going abroad to test certain theories that would not have been permitted in the United States.

This year we had extensive involvement of the Boston University faculty as well. The “Legal Status of Puerto Rico” discussion was incorporated into the Dean’s legacy series spotlighting the academic interests of the professors. The Career Development Office joined the ILS in presenting a career panel. They were eager to be involved with our group because they recognized the opportunity to expand the opportunities of Boston University School of Law graduates by extending our borders beyond the United States.

Since the skills and understanding of international law are crucial to the community at Boston University School of Law. In order to make it attainable for all interested parties, the ILS has offered a vast number of events. Different people learn and socialize differently, thus it was important to the ILS to offer events that catered to different styles. Events such as the “Legal Status of Puerto Rico” and “Doctors of the Dark Side” featured presenters or information in a more formal setting, followed by question and answer or discussion periods. Panels, such as the “Global Perspectives” panel in which foreign students gave their view of international issues and the career panel were slightly less structured and the majority of the event was open to discussion. Furthermore they offered the chance to learn from students and acting professionals as opposed to merely faculty. Throughout the year the Boston University ILS held several “Coffee Chats” with professors. These were more intimate settings with fewer people that gave interested students the opportunity to discuss international law interests with professors currently researching or working in the area. For instance, Prof. Robert Sloane, who has worked extensively on human rights and international law issues arising in Tibetan-Chinese relations as well as current work on the law of war. Lastly, the ILS provided a more social and relaxed atmosphere open to all students at the “International Cultural Exchange,” featuring international dishes and discussion.



Most Improved Chapter: University of Georgia Law

The University of Georgia's Society for International and Comparative Law (GSICL) is the winner of the Most Improved Chapter for 2013. GSICL has greatly increased membership (almost two-fold) within the last year, most notably active 1L membership.  At the beginning of the year, GSICL hosted a student-faculty reception in which GSICL introduced students--primarily 1Ls-- to UGA Law international faculty and program. 

Whereas in the last academic year GSICL only had two speaker events, this year GSICL has endeavored to hold monthly "brown bags."  In these brown bags we invite University of Georgia Law faculty in addition to faculty from other UGA schools, such as international studies or political science. These brown bags tend to be informal in nature, and allow members of the faculty to engage students in conversations about a variety of issues, including current international events or research. 

In addition to GSICL's monthly brown bags, GSICL has had the privilege of being involved with the American Society of International Law's midyear meeting, held at UGA Law in October. GSICL not only provided the student volunteers for this event, but additionally help organize a special student-only event with Patricia O'Brien, current Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and United Nations Legal Counsel. 

Further, this year GSICL has had the privilege of hosting speakers such as Vik Kanwar, Assistant Director of the Centre on Public Law and Jurisprudence(CPLJ) at Jindal Global Law School and Ashby Pate, newly appointed Supreme Court Justice of the Republic of Palau.  Professor Kanwar gave a lecture entitled "The Globalization of Legal Education: Institutional Development in India," and Mr. Pate gave a lecture entitled "This is Water: Navigating the International Legal Market."  Both of these lectures have helped GSICL's members engage in the most cutting-edge developments in the international legal field, from education to the job market. 

GSICL looks forward to co-sponsoring a conference in March on the Cuban Embargo, and is pleased to host a diverse number of panelists, including the Chief of the Cuban Interests Section.  This conference aims to address the controversy surrounding the Cuban Embargo, and will give our membership a rare glimpse into the Cuban perspective on international dealings surrounding the embargo.  Moreover, GSICL will be hosting Professor Chen Huiping, a visiting fellow at the University of Illinois from Xiamen University Law School in China.  Professor Chen will be giving a lecture on US-China BIT negotiations. 



Best Academic International Event: Lewis & Clark Law School

Lewis & Clark Law School is the winner of the Best Academic International Event for 2013. At Lewis & Clark Law School, we understand the inextricable link between International Law and nearly every other area of legal practice. As an integral part of our efforts to grow Lewis & Clark Law School’s ILS Chapter membership and create a stronger presence on- and off-campus, our ILS Executive Board established the 2012-13 Student Initiated Lecture Series. Through this series, ILS has partnered with numerous student groups and organizations to attract some of the best international law speakers to Lewis & Clark Law School to share their experience and expertise with our students and faculty. With the restructuring of our Executive Board to reflect areas of focus within International Law, each board member was responsible for planning and executing an ILS-hosted event that represented the intersection of International Law and their specific focus area. Over 350 students and faculty members have attended our ILS Chapter 2012-13 Student Initiated Lecture Series this school year, which included the following events:

August 23, 2012 Professor Jacinta Ruru
Professor Ruru, accomplished researcher, author, and co-director of the University of Otago Research Cluster for Natural Resources Law, spoke with incoming 1L students and faculty about Indigenous peoples' legal rights to own, manage and govern water, focusing specifically on Maori water rights, water law, and the Treaty of Waitangi. A third of the total incoming 1L class attended this event! In collaboration with the Global Law Program

September 19-20, Professor Leila N. Sadat
In two separate events, Professor Sadat, Director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute and the Alexis de Tocqueville Distinguished Fulbright Chair, University of Cergy-Pontoise, spoke with students and faculty about U.S. foreign policy and the presidential election, including a Q&A session, and spoke with students and faculty about international human rights, the International Criminal Court, and forging a convention for crimes against humanity. In collaboration with the Global Law Program

September 26, Jeffrey Wilson of Jun He
2012 Mr. Wilson discussed his experience working for one of the largest Chinese law firms and discussed labor and employment issues facing multinational companies in China, including worker safety, hourly wages, intellectual property, labor relations, and collective bargaining. In collaboration with Employment Law Society

February 18, 2013 Professor Elizabeth Burleson
Professor Burleson, Fulbright Senior Specialist and Environmental Law professor at Pace, spoke with students about technology transfers and climate change and how new developments at this intersection of international, intellectual property, and environmental law can fast-track developing nations in efforts to respond effectively to climate change. In collaboration with Intellectual Property Students Organization and Students for International Environmental Law

February 21, 2013 Judge David Avraham Voluck
Judge Voluck, Magistrate/Judge for the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska and Presiding Judge Pro Tem for the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government, spoke with students and faculty about the international roots of aboriginal rights, including the seeds of international human rights, the doctrine of discovery, the paramountcy doctrine, international treaties, and contemporary developments in international indigenous law.
In collaboration with Native American Law Students Association and made possible through a generous grant from ILSA

February 28, 2013 Douglas Stringer of Int’l Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia
Mr. Stringer discussed his experience as a Senior Trial Attorney and Appeals Counsel with the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, including his work on numerous trials and appeals at the Tribunal. Mr. Stringer shared information about his career path and his work as a litigator, and he shared advice on navigating the current job market.

March 11, 2013 Professor William Dodge
Professor Dodge, renowned expert in international law and UC Hastings Professor, spoke with students about the pending Supreme Court case Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, and discussed the proper interpretation of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which provides that foreign citizens may bring civil suits in U.S. district courts for actions committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States. In collaboration with the Global Law Program

As you can see, not only has our ILS Chapter hosted world-class events in collaboration with several student groups focusing on the intersection of International law with environmental law, business and employment law, intellectual property, human rights, indigenous law, and criminal law, but we have attracted nearly half of our law school student body to these events. Students are talking about our Lecture Series events and our regular attendance for individual events ranges anywhere from 30 to 70 students. In a law school with just over 700 students, this is a significant turnout!5 Additionally, through this successful series and other efforts (including networking events, practitioner panels, etc.), we have grown the number of ILS members (those getting involved and regularly attending events) to over 250! Through this event series, we have enhanced the image of ILS and our partner department, the Global Law Program. As a result, we have helped place an unprecedented number of 1Ls in our summer externship programs in India and China.



Best International Social Event: Florida State University College of Law

The Florida State University College of Law is the winner of the Best International Social Event for 2013. The Florida State University College of Law has always prided itself on the diverse student body it attracts, but in recent years our ILSA members have taken it a step further. Although our chapter has always tried to present our fellow students with a peek outside of the United States, lately we have begun to look at the diversity in our own backyard. Enter Diversity Week, an annual event hosted not only by our ILSA chapter, but by every student group at the law school that wants to participate. Every year, FSU-ILSA takes the lead in inviting the wide variety of student groups to host joint events that demonstrate our commitment to international law, diversity, and working together to improve a globalizing future.

This year, our Board has really outdone itself. Vice President Maggie Spicer gathered together one of the largest collections of student organizations in the history of the program to put together a series of events that reflect both the serious issues in international law and the impressive variety of backgrounds our students share.

On the social side of things, students organized a Bake Sale and Potluck of ethnic dishes, all prepared by law students. There was an assortment of family recipes from baklava to flan to meringue, all sold for an excellent cause - the Save a Child’s Heart Foundation, which provides heart surgery to children in regions where medical care is scarce. Our International Potluck went to the same cause, feeding students a variety of dishes in exchange for a donation. It wouldn’t be a Florida State event without a bit of dancing and our Cuban American Bar Association provided Salsa lessons during a happy hour at a local bar. The week closed out with a faculty talent show, which is always surprising. Our student lounge echoed with poetry readings, Argentinian love songs, jazz piano, and stand-up comedy. It’s a fitting way to end a very busy week and a strong reminder that there is diversity and culture hiding in the most unexpected places.



Best Philanthropic Event/Activity: University of Kanas School of Law



The University of Kansas School of Law is the winner of the Best Philanthropic Event/Activitiy for 2013.  Every year the KU School of Law International Law Society plans and hosts a wine tasting fundraiser for Optimus Youth, a charitable organization that provides essential, sustainable resources to communities in need throughout the world.  KU International Law Society became involved with Optimus Youth through the organization’s Co-Vice Chairman of the Board, Sean Foley.  Mr. Foley is a founding member of Optimus Youth and a recent KU Law grad.


In preparation for the event, KU law students solicit wine and silent auction donations from local venders, organize a room in the KU Student Union’s Malotte Room, hire a pianist, and order hors d’oeuvres.  We strive to bring wines from around the world for students, alumni, faculty, and staff.


Typically thirty to fifty individuals attend and contribute to the fundraiser, both through ticket sales and the silent auction.  Proceeds are sent directly to Optimus Youth.  Last year, we donated nearly $600.  Last year’s attendance and donations were significant considering our beloved Jayhawks played their NCAA tournament game on the night of the event.






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