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Rule of Law Program

Rule of Law Fellowship Program

"Law school is the place where you learn how to bring changes in society — not with force, but at the policy level. My dream is to work for democracy, women’s rights, gender equality and rule of law in Afghanistan — to one day see it free of violence, where men and women can live together without the fear of execution and interrogations."

For nearly 30 years, CILE has been founded on the concept that lawyer education is the foundation of the global rule of law, and while it is important in both developed and developing countries alike, it has an immediate and measurable impact in countries in conflict and transition. The innovation of CILE’s Rule of Law program is harnessing human capital for maximum long-term impact. Across Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, CILE has trained the next generation of foreign law faculty, private counsel, government officials, and even one sitting Head of State (Dr. Vjosa Osmani, President of the Republic of Kosovo (LLM, ‘05 and SJD, ’15).

In 2022, after witnessing the junta in Myanmar, the fall of Kabul and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, CILE created its “Rule of Law Scholars” program. Through a shared commitment from the law school and donations from the local business and legal community in Pittsburgh, we matriculated eleven fully-funded LLM students from Ukraine and Afghanistan into the program. We did the same in 2023; through generous support from PNC Bank and the Open Societies Foundation, we matriculated the following six LLM and SJD students from Ukraine and Afghanistan.

This sort of collaboration distinguishes this Program from simple tuition support and expands its impact. The education feeds the work and the work feeds the education—and both leverage community and institutional buy-in to foster meaningful change.

Pro Bono Legal Work

Through partnerships with NGOs such as the Brookings Institute, the German Marshall Fund, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Commercial Law Development Program and USAID, the students in the Program provide critical (and inherently “local”) expertise for important legal work. 

Public Advocacy

During their year of studies, the students work together to host public events, travel to academic symposia, and publish advocacy pieces highlighting the issues facing their home countries

Law Firm and Corporate Collaboration:

We have structured our LLM program to give select students CPT work authorization during their studies.  By doing so, we couple our students’ advocacy and pro bono projects with leading international law firms and corporate in-house departments, thereby leveraging their resources for our students’ projects