Campus & Community

Alford to direct Graduate Legal Studies at HLS

2 min read

Law School Dean Robert C. Clark has announced that William Alford, the Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, has been named director of Graduate and International Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. Alford’s appointment will be effective July 1.

“Bill Alford is an international legal scholar of the highest order,” said Clark. “I am confident that under Bill’s leadership the graduate program will expand its role as the greatest center of international legal education in the world.”

Currently the head of the Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies program, Alford has expertise in many areas across the globe. He is regarded as a leading scholar of Chinese law and legal history, and he has traveled extensively throughout China, most recently as part of a Harvard delegation meeting with China’s President Jiang Zemin. Additionally, Alford is one of a handful of scholars and lawyers selected to help resolve international trade disputes under NAFTA.

“One of the many remarkable things about international legal studies at Harvard is the extent to which faculty known for their pre-eminence in our own legal system or in legal theory generally are, in fact, deeply immersed in international and comparative legal questions,” said Alford. “Taken together with the excellence of our specialists in international and comparative law, a student body that is the best and most internationally diverse of any law school, and the world’s strongest law library, it is an unbeatable combination.”

Alford cites three specific goals for Graduate and International Legal Studies: to further enhance the School’s already strong graduate and international programs; to better integrate them into the Law School more generally; and to generate the resources needed to enable the world’s very best students to attend Harvard Law School, irrespective of financial need.

A 1977 graduate of Harvard Law School, Alford also holds degrees from the University of Cambridge, Yale, and Amherst College. His current research interests include the changing nature of the legal profession in East and Southeast Asia, environmental law in China, and the WTO dispute resolution mechanism.

Graduate and International Legal Studies administers the master of laws (LL.M.) and the doctor of juridical science (S.J.D.) degrees. Each year, the LL.M. program enrolls roughly 150 students representing more than 60 countries and a broad variety of backgrounds, legal interests, and career plans. The S.J.D. program hosts 50 students planning careers in teaching and scholarship.