LW.10289 / LW.12641
Professor Katrina Wyman
Professor Bryce Rudyk
Open to 2L, 3L, and LLM students*
Maximum of 8 students
Fall semester
6 credits**


The United Nations headquarters in New York is a center of international law and international diplomacy. It is the one location in the world in which all states have diplomatic representation and makes decisions that have both global and domestic implications. For many small states, the engagement at the United Nations is central to their foreign affairs, but they do not always have sufficient capacity to engage in all issues that affect them.

This new clinic for 2018 will place students in the Permanent Missions of member states at the United Nations to act as legal advisors. In this role, students will assist the Permanent Missions in their engagement in international diplomacy, with a specific focus on international and environmental law.

Course Description


Two students will be placed in each mission where they will each work 15 hours per week, proving legal advice, drafting and negotiation support on resolutions at the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council and its main Committees. For 2018, there are new international negotiations on high seas biodiversity that are occurring at UN headquarters. Students will likely be able to participate in these negotiations. It is highly likely that students placed in the missions of the small island governments would be working on international environmental law related tasks, such as climate change, sustainable development and fisheries, given the importance of these issues for small island governments.


The UN Diplomacy seminar will focus on negotiation theory and methods as well as substantive knowledge of issues necessary to successfully engage in negotiations at the United Nations and provide legal and policy assistance to Permanent Missions at the UN. The seminar will be taught by Professors Wyman and Rudyk, with special guests from the United Nations, Permanent Missions and private practice. The seminar will be divided into three parts: overview of the United Nations and procedures of the bodies (5 classes), negotiations skills and mock negotiations (4 classes), and substantive preparation for general assembly and treaty negotiations (International Law Commission, SIDS Resolution, Right to Development Resolution, Sustainable Fisheries Resolution, Renewable Energy Resolution, Climate Change Resolution).


As many of the small developing country missions do not have dedicated legal advisors, the legal work of the student legal advisors will be supervised by Professor Rudyk, with weekly meetings. The purpose of these weekly meetings will be to discuss particular issues of law relevant to the Mission that could not be discussed in the larger class, discuss progress on the legal research and feedback from the Mission, review any written material, discuss interactions with the Mission and other clinical skills, and plan recommendations for the Mission on next steps.


Students will be evaluated in multiple ways. For the field work, evaluation will be based on writing assignments (briefing memos on resolutions), journals, self-evaluation, and evaluation by Permanent Mission staff. For the seminar, evaluation will be based on a legal memorandum and participation in the seminar and the mock negotiations.

Application Procedure

All J.D. students interested in applying for the Clinic should submit via CAMS the standard application, resume and unofficial transcript, as well as a writing sample. 3L applicants will receive a preference over 2Ls. To arrange an interview, please contact Liz Queen at (212) 992-8165, Vanderbilt 500.

The UN Diplomacy Clinic welcomes LLM enrollments. Please note that the application period for LL.M.s will take place from June 14-20, 2018. There is a separate application form for LLM students. Please use that form and submit it to CAMS along with the supporting materials listed above. For questions regarding the clinic, please contact Professor Rudyk via email.

Student Contacts

As this clinic will first be offered in Fall 2018, there are no student contacts. Applicants with questions are encouraged to contact Professors Rudyk or Wyman.

* 3L applicants will receive a preference over 2Ls. The UN Diplomacy Clinic welcomes LLM enrollments. See information in text about LLM applications.

** 6 credits comprised of 3 clinical credits and 3 seminar credits. There is also a possibility of developing some Clinic projects into written work as a directed research project for 2 credits that can satisfy the J.D. written work requirement.

*** Students enrolled in the Clinic are strongly encouraged to take courses in international environmental law, public international law and/or international organizations or have  relevant practical experience. Please address any questions about these requirements to Professor Rudyk.