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About The Field

The field of law and development examines the role of law, legal institutions and legal systems, both domestic and international, in the processes of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries, emerging markets, and nations in transition. It seeks to understand how law may both inhibit and foster desired change and the ways in which legal institutions may be organized to achieve national and international policy goals. This field includes a basic course on law and development, as well as more specialized courses in comparative law, international financial institutions and law, foreign investment, and intellectual property law, as well as courses from other disciplines, such as economic development.

Students should refer to the Registrar's Field of Study Guide for definitive field requirements in a given academic year.

Current Students and Alumni

Graduates of The Fletcher School's field of law and development pursue a variety of careers. These are a sample of Fletcher current students and alums:

Brionne Dawson

Senior Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Washington, D.C.
Master of Arts (MA)
Class Year: 2015

Heesu Chung

Program Associate, Evaluation and Learning Unit, The Asia Foundation
Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD)
Class Year: 2019

Austin Shiner

Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD)
Class Year: 2020

Outside the Classroom

  • Drafting Kosovo's New Constitution
  • Local Approaches to Transitional Justice
  • Azerbaijan: Challenges and Opportunities - Roundtable Discussion
  • The Future of Kosovo: Challenges and Opportunities - Panel Discussion
  • International Law Society Lecture: Prof. Gian-Luca Burci on International Health Regulations and Global Governance in Questions of Public Health
  • International Law Society Lecture: BRICs as a Global Legal Actor - From Regulatory Innovation to BRICs Law?
  • Should the Government Act Now to Limit C02 Emissions? The Annual Moomaw-Everett Debate
  • Instituto Brasil Solidario - Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • The Trinational Commission for the Trifinio Plan - El Salvador, Honduras, & Guatemala
  • UNDP - Amman, Jordan
  • Ghana Center for Democratic Development - Accra, Ghana
  • The Akanksha Foundation - Pune, India
  • Development Innovations - Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Resonate - Kigali, Rwanda
  • University of Namibia Law School - Windhoek, Namibia
  • International Justice Mission - Washington, DC
  • Greater Boston Legal Services - Boston, MA
  • Chatham LLC - Minneapolis, MN
  • ILO Cairo Decent Work Team - Cairo, Egypt
  • "Beyond the Constitution: Enhancing the Role of Legislatures in Conflict-Affected Societies"
  • "When Do We Get to Peace? Patterns of Gender-Based Violence in Post-Conflict Liberia"
  • "If We Could Hear & Read Their Stories: A Comparative Analysis of Perpetrator Patterns & Community Responses to Sexual Violence in Liberia & Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo"
  • "The Social and Economic Impacts of the Oyu Tolgoi Mining Project on the Livelihoods of Local Residents - An Analysis of the Mongolian Legal Framework for Development"
  • Women and Truth Commissions: The Three Vital Truths that Women Search For
  • Calling an International Law Bluff: Developing and Analyzing Legal Arguments For and Against the International Criminal Court's Jurisdiction over Non-Party Nationals"
  • The Legislation Dealing with Freedom of Expression in Post-Conflict Societies: Challenges of Implementation
Student Groups
  • International Development Club
  • International Law Society (Jessup)
  • Fletcher United Nations Club
Annotated Curriculum

A Fletcher education is highly customizable, and each student may decide on a different academic trajectory to suit his or her own professional and academic goals. To get a better sense of how these individual curricular decisions can play out, we asked recent students in their final semester to talk about their goals, their classes, and the decisions made during their Fletcher career. Meet Patrick:

Pre-Fletcher Experience
School Organist and Instructor Music, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA
Assisting Organist, Trinity Wall Street, New York, NY

Fields of Study
Law and Development
International Organizations

Capstone Topic
International Trade in Services: The Case of Music in Uganda

Post Fletcher-Career Goals
I’m interested in starting a Cultural Advisory Group to work with developing countries to leverage their cultural diplomacy and to diversify their economies by investing in creative industries and developing arts institutions.

Read about Patrick's curricular path.

Faculty with expertise in the field: