International Organizations Clinic

LW.12165 / LW.12166
Professor Angelina Fisher
Professor Gráinne de Búrca
Open to 2L, 3L, and LLM students
Maximum of 10 students (JDs and LLMs)

Fall semester
6 credits*
Prerequisites: International Law**
(International Organizations is recommended but not required)



The aim of this clinic is to assist students in developing a fuller set of skills required to address increasingly complex global (i.e. both international and transnational) problems. The seminar portion of the Clinic will introduce students to a range of the different legal, political, and regulatory theories informing the legal norms, practice, and policy of international organizations. It is designed to help students understand the relevance of inter-disciplinary perspectives to the practice of law in global settings, and to learn the ways in which core cognitive lawyering skills (i.e. mastering legal research tools, developing an ability to integrate factual and legal knowledge, strengthening analytical and reasoning skills, and exercising judgment based on the understanding gained) matter in the practice of international law.

"Thinking like a lawyer” may be more demanding today than it has been in the past, given how complex law and lawyering has become, but it is particularly demanding for lawyers who want to work in an international context. Given the increasing interdependence of legal and economic regimes across countries, lawyers (including domestic lawyers) need a broad set of tools to solve increasingly complex, and sometimes novel, legal problems. There is increasing demand for lawyers with a sound understanding of the institutional, socio-political and economic contexts within which domestic and international legal issues arise and are addressed: how do markets function? How do bureaucracies behave? How do technologies shape change? How do domestic laws interact with international regimes? How do international legal and regulatory regimes and institutions interact with each other?

Course Description



Drawing on existing scholarship and ongoing research conducted by faculty and others at NYU School of Law, the seminar will focus on themes that intersect with projects in the areas of global governance, such as inter-institutional cooperation; the role of lawyers and private actors in the creation, the evolution, and interpretation of international legal norms; the relationship between branches/offices of international organizations; the diffusion of ideas and legal norms; the North-South relationship in international law, amongst others.

Students will be encouraged to think about the implications of their clinical project for the people affected by it or by broader actions or policies that relate to the project, and to consider the perspectives of under-represented or non-represented constituencies. They will also be asked to consider the role of an international lawyer in the development of international law, to discuss the professional legal responsibility of lawyers working with international or foreign laws, and to examine the ethics of international law. To this end, the seminar might also feature the occasional participation of members of the UN community and lawyers working in the international organizations.

The seminar will also be a forum for discussing the ongoing fieldwork, team dynamics, time management and client relationships, and will allow for peer review and feedback on interim work products.


The students will work with the clinic professors on projects with international organizations on a broad range of topics related to global governance. Often, the work is inter-disciplinary. For example, in 2018/19, the clinic worked with two large-scale international organizations on issues relating to the organizations’ handling of personal and non-personal data, and the students produced a report on data governance for international organizations. In prior years, the clinic examined the emerging engagement of the IMF with social protection and its impact on national policies, worked with a UN agency on promoting a global accountability mechanism for the post-2015 sustainable development process, advised a major development bank on the need to adapt its accountability institution/complaints mechanism to the changing international development environment, and assisted an international organization to think about ways to promote and regulate the global sharing of information related to viruses with pandemic potential. For the Fall 2019, the project may focus on legal, governance, social and ethical issues associated with the handling of data, the use of emerging technologies by international organizations, and the impact of private-public tech partnerships on operations of UN agencies. Although the fieldwork is not an internship, students will have the opportunity to engage first-hand in the work of a number of international organizations. If the organization is geographically proximate, students will have regular visits to the IO’s offices; if the location of the IO makes frequent visits not possible, students will communicate with the IO officials by phone or Skype and will visit the organization at least once.

The combination of fieldwork and seminar will enable students to see the relevance of the theory learned to practice.

Application Procedure

Students interested in applying for the clinic should submit the standard application, resume, and transcript online through CAMS. To arrange an interview, please use the CAMS system as well.

The application period for LL.M. students will take place from May 28 - June 5, 2019. (Please note there is a separate application form for LLM students.)

If you have questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Angelina Fisher via email.

Student Contacts

Students who took the Clinic Fall 2018 are as follows:


Monica Finke
Jackson Gandour
Caroline Diaz
Andy Pigott

Lauren Bourke
Hong Sim
Felix Boos
Anasuya Syam
Bronach Rafferty
David Hernandez

* 6 credits include 3 clinical (fieldwork) credits and 3 academic seminar credits.

** Preference will be given to those who have taken (or are taking concurrently with the clinic) a course on international organizations.