Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

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thedragon5678

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Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by thedragon5678 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 5:18 pm

It seems like Columbia and NYU get a lot of hype, but what other schools have strong programs for human rights? I am looking for schools with strong faculty, clinical, and/or law reviews in the area of human rights, civil rights, or public sector law. Its a bonus if they have strong international law programs as well.

crazywafflez

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Re: Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by crazywafflez » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:51 pm

Yale would be my choice if I had the chance...

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cavalier1138

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Re: Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by cavalier1138 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:22 am

The problem is that "human rights law" is both a very narrow and a very overbroad category, so it really depends.

If you're talking about international human rights law in the sense of being a lawyer for Amnesty/a similar NGO, flying around the world, helping oppressed populations, then Yale/NYU/Berkeley would be the top of my list because of the clinic and internship opportunities (faculty and journal reputation is meaningless outside of a few clinical programs; don't get suckered in by any of that). Even then, most of the burden is going to be on you to make the right connections and luck into the right jobs.

humanrights

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Re: Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by humanrights » Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:14 am

hahaha, this is something i've also been looking into (my username gives it away). as you mentioned, nyu and columbia are always at the top of people's lists; however, i think others in the T14 (such as uva, georgetown, and berkeley) are sometimes overlooked. i'd also add wustl, vanderbilt (pretty sure they have a social justice law school track), and ucla.

obviously, those are all within the T20, but i've found myself being more attracted to schools like ucla, wustl, and vanderbilt than quite a majority of the ones in the T14.

nixy

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Re: Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by nixy » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:40 am

The T14 are going to be better than UCLA, WUSTL, and Vandy for civil/human rights law, though, just because they offer better employment opportunities overall. If you’re looking at the very top schools anyway then I suppose it’s fine to worry about curricular/cultural differences; but basically the school with the best employment opportunities is going to be the best for whatever kind of law you want to do.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by cavalier1138 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:09 am

humanrights wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:14 am
obviously, those are all within the T20, but i've found myself being more attracted to schools like ucla, wustl, and vanderbilt than quite a majority of the ones in the T14.
I echo what nixy said, and I urge you (again, based on your prior posts) to not get taken in by your gut feel about these schools. WUSTL, UCLA, and Vanderbilt are all schools that will make much more effort to sell you on their programs than T13 schools because they have a much greater need to sell you on their programs.

humanrights

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Re: Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by humanrights » Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:49 am

cavalier1138 wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:09 am
humanrights wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:14 am
obviously, those are all within the T20, but i've found myself being more attracted to schools like ucla, wustl, and vanderbilt than quite a majority of the ones in the T14.
I echo what nixy said, and I urge you (again, based on your prior posts) to not get taken in by your gut feel about these schools. WUSTL, UCLA, and Vanderbilt are all schools that will make much more effort to sell you on their programs than T13 schools because they have a much greater need to sell you on their programs.
yeah, i've heard this. i hope I'm not hijacking the original post, but the reason i was so attracted to schools like ucla, wustl and vanderbilt is because of ucla's williams institute, wustl family, gender, and sexuality law path, and vandy's social justice law program. it just seems like those schools place more of an emphasis on what I'm wanting to do. maybe I'm just not doing the correct research, though!

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Re: Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by nixy » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:05 am

You can do what you want to do from any of the top schools. You don’t need special programs to do so. It seems counterintuitive, but law isn’t a very specialist degree - pretty much all schools offer the resources to go into almost any legal fields.

For instance, if you look at what you call WUSTL’s family, gender, and sexuality path - that’s not actually a separate program. There’s no certificate or anything. They’ve just identified resources at the school you can use in that area. The classes listed (Domestic Violence & the Law, Employment Discrimination, Family Law, Feminist Theory/Feminist Judgments, Health Law, Regulating Sex: Historical & Cultural Encounters,Sexuality & the Law, Trusts & Estates) are going to be offered at any top law school (some of the more seminar-y titles will vary but you can study law and sexuality at any top school). There are going to be pertinent faculty at any top school because these are cool hip areas to study. WUSTL has a clinic it calls “Children’s Rights,” but juvenile law clinics are really common at lots of law schools (my definitely not top law school has one). Moreover, you can also pretty easily get internships with non-school institutions/organizations while a student to do juvenile law stuff if you want - you don’t need a focused clinic. The student organizations that WUSTL identifies exist at basically every law school over a certain size. The only thing that seems at all specific to WUSTL is teaching the Law, Gender, and Justice class to undergrads, which is kind of cool, but also absolutely not a strong enough reason to go to WUSTL over higher ranked schools (teaching an undergrad class in a subject isn’t super important experience for getting you a job, unless maybe if you want to go into academia, and if you want to go into academia publishing is way more important and you want to go to a tip top school anyway).

Just because the T14 schools haven’t broken out those resources into a separate page doesn’t mean they don’t offer exactly the same opportunities, if not more.

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Re: Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by nixy » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:16 am

(UCLA’s Williams Institute is a think tank that does research. It’s not an academic program at the law school that would make your actual legal education any different from at any other school. You can be a summer fellow there, which doesn’t appear to be limited to UCLA students, or you can be an extern during the year. But you would essentially be working as a research assistant. You could get functionally the same experience being a research assistant for a professor working on related topics at any law school. They probably offer a lot of lectures on related topics, but 1) all top law schools have lots of speakers, and 2) that’s not actually going to be especially helpful for getting you a job in the field.

Vandy’s Social Justice program does appear to be the closest thing to what I think you’re looking for in researching this stuff, but again, if you drill down, it’s not unique, expect perhaps for the reading group. Again, you can access equivalents to those courses, intern/externships, and clinics at every top school. They have a link to a guide for entering public interest; all top schools will have that kind of assistance through their career offices. They also have more information about fellowships for after law school, but again, all top schools will have this information as well.

The fact that these schools may be presenting these things more prominently in their marketing doesn’t mean that that these schools are actually better options for those career paths than generic T14 schools with better employment options over all.)

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Re: Best Schools for Civil/Human Rights Law?

Post by nealric » Tue Jan 19, 2021 11:06 am

nixy wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:16 am


The fact that these schools may be presenting these things more prominently in their marketing doesn’t mean that that these schools are actually better options for those career paths than generic T14 schools with better employment options over all.)
That's fundamentally what rubs me the wrong way about these sorts of programs. They are marketing exercises that hope to attract starry eyed 0Ls who dream of "making a difference" but are far more likely to end up at some midlaw firm doing insurance defense while slogging through the $200k in loans they incurred than jet setting around the world while standing up for human rights.

I suppose most specialty programs have that sort of vibe to them, but the "human rights" stuff tends to be particularly bad because it preys on people's sense of altruism.

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