Programming drives school’s highest international law ranking

Earlier this year, the School of Law was counted among the top 15 international law programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This is a high mark previously achieved in 2019.

The school’s influence in international law can be traced to the center’s 2022-23 leadership team of Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee – associate dean for international programs, Post Professor and director of the center; Diane Marie Amann – Regents’ Professor of International Law, holder of the Woodruff Chair and faculty co-director of the Rusk Center; and Harlan Grant Cohen – Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor and faculty co-director of the center.

Chief among the Rusk Center’s activities this past academic year was The Law of Global Economic Statecraft conference held during October. Organized by Cohen, with the assistance of the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law and the International Law Society, this full-day symposium brought together subject matter experts to discuss the weaponization of economic sanctions and to explore this practice in historical, political and legal contexts.

The center also hosted a series of space law speakers who shared their insights on space law fundamentals, contemporary space governance, space law’s past and future, and the regulation of space junk. As a follow on to the series, the school held a Space Junk Hackathon, in which five teams of J.D., LL.M., M.S.L. and Graduate Certificate in International Law students spent a Saturday seeking solutions for the debris that litters outer space.

The school furthered its partnerships with the American Society of International, the International Law Association and the Atlanta International Arbitration Society. Durkee, Amann and Cohen were active participants in the 117th ASIL Annual Meeting, which was also attended by four law students thanks to the school’s Louis B. Sohn professional development grants. International Law Weekend, celebrating ILA’s centennial last fall, was chaired by Durkee. And, in the spring, UGA hosted AtlAS’ annual lecture titled “The Psychology of Persuasion in International Arbitration,” which was delivered by King & Spalding Partner R. Doak Bishop.

Representing the largest class in more than one decade, 23 foreign-trained lawyers came to Athens for the 2022-23 academic year to earn a Master of Laws. These legal professionals hailed from 15 countries, including Ukraine. More than half of the group possessed two-plus years of practice experience, eight already held advanced law degrees and two were Fulbright Scholars.

UGA Law students remain excited about international experiences. A hallmark offering is the law school’s ongoing partnership with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In the fall of 2022, third-year student Collin Douglas worked in the Supreme Allied Command Transformation Office of the Legal Advisor located in Virginia. Presently, the school is scheduled to send another student to NATO during the spring 2024 semester.

This past summer, 15 students secured Global Externships in public and private law placements in Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bermuda, Estonia, Germany, India, New Zealand, Romania and Tunisia. And, 13 law students and four Graduate Certificate in International Law students traveled to Belgium and The Netherlands to participate in the Global Governance Summer School, which will provide them with three academic credit hours toward their degrees. This program is done in partnership with KU Leuven’s Centre for Global Governance Studies.

In January, the School of Law proudly announced a new exchange program with O.P. Jindal Global University’s law school, a top-ranked school in India and South Asia. UGA will host its first two Jindal students this fall, and the school intends to send one to two students to Sonipat for the 2024 spring semester.