On behalf of the Harvard Law and International Development Society (LIDS), we’d like to welcome you to Harvard Law and to the greater Boston community!

LIDS is a diverse group of students from Harvard Law School, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Fletcher School at Tufts, and other graduate programs in Boston who are passionate about the challenges and opportunities that lie at the intersection of law, policy, and international development.

In pursuit of those passions, LIDS affords its Members opportunities to pursue international development work both during and after their time as a student.  Some of our main activities revolve around organizing teams of graduate students to staff multidisciplinary, long-term pro bono projects for outside clients (overseen by our attorney supervisors). Those clients range from social enterprises, to civil society organizations to legal advocacy groups, to the US Commerce Department to the World Bank. (You can see past projects here: https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/lids/projects/current-and-past-projects/).

In addition to projects, LIDS carries out its mission in the following ways:

  • offering substantive, development-focused programming, such as the LIDS Symposium and other events that bring renowned speakers to campus;
  • developing students’ concrete skills by partnering with organizations engaged on the ground to conduct trainings and simulations for students;
  • facilitating professional connections and deepening knowledge of opportunities in international development, such as by advertising externship opportunities and course offerings and leading an annual career development trip to either NYC or Washington, D.C.;
  • fostering the experiences needed for members to pursue careers in international development, such as by, and bringing together like-minded LIDS students, alumni, and affiliates; and
  • building a vibrant community of people who share an interest in international and/or development-related work, as well as a useful network for those who want to work in international development and related fields after graduation.

Whether you have experience in international development or are simply interested in learning more about it, LIDS invites you to get to know us and learn more about the work we do!

There are several ways to become involved with LIDS as a new student.

  • Work on a LIDS Project: Join a team of 5-10 graduate students and work directly with a senior client at one of our development-minded, partner organizations. Projects allow Members to become an expert on an exciting and current development issue, while simultaneously honing their research and writing skills and building their professional network. Projects are also notoriously fun and typically count towards pro bono graduation requirements. Projects are supervised and guided by attorneys at one of LIDS’ partnering law firms.
  • Join a LIDS Committee: Join a small committee of LIDS Members that help plan a particular LIDS event. These include committees to help plan the annual spring trip, social events, or the LIDS Symposium.
  • Serve as a LIDS Section Representative: For 1Ls and LLMs interested in LIDS, one of the easiest (read: low time commitment!) ways to become involved is to serve as your section’s LIDS representative. This involves publicizing LIDS events to your section-mates via Facebook and chalking in classrooms. It also provides the opportunity to attend LIDS leadership meetings. Applications will be circulated to the listserv at the start of the fall semester.
  • Attend LIDS events: LIDS has a wide array of great programming planned for the coming year. Events will run the gamut of professional development-focused careers panels and skills trainings to substantive events, such as this fall’s LIDS Symposium and International Women’s Day in the spring.

Be sure to stop by our table at the fall Student Activities Fair at HLS (Thursday, September 13, 6-8 PM, Milstein)! You can also follow us on Facebook or sign up for our mailing list.

We look forward to meeting you!



Lindsay Bailey and Meghan Liu

LIDS Co-Presidents, 2018-2019



Who We Are

The Harvard Law & International Development Society (“LIDS”) is the premier student-run organization at Harvard University focused on issues at the intersection of law, policy and international development. LIDS members are graduate students at Harvard Law School, the Kennedy School of Government, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and other graduate schools in the Boston area.

LIDS was founded in light of the growing recognition that many pressing challenges in international development are legal in nature. For instance, rule of law development, regulatory reform, contract design, litigation of economic and social rights and land titling programs all require a deep understanding of both development practice and the law. We actively promote dialogue on these issues among our members, leading academics, and development practitioners.


Unlocking solutions to international development challenges by empowering a global community engaged in law, policy, and entrepreneurship.

What We Do

Student Training. LIDS gives students the opportunity to develop practical professional skills through participation in hands-on, real-world, non-litigation research and consulting projects for leading development organizations.

Client Services. Through its projects, and under the supervision of attorneys from Orrick LLP, LIDS gives leading development organizations concrete, customized solutions to challenges they face in achieving their own missions around the world.

Education, Dialogue & Networking. Through its multidisciplinary speaking events, symposia, white paper series, annual networking field trip, and other programs and events, LIDS fosters learning and dialogue between students, professors, and practitioners on a wide range of subjects in the field of international development.

Cross-Campus Networks. LIDS creates a cross-campus, multidisciplinary academic community that expands social networks and encourages out-of-the-box thinking.

Our Values

  • Impact: We strive to have a tangible effect in the international development sphere by facilitating projects for real-world clients who are doing important work at the intersection of law and development.
  • Innovation: We are a community of graduate students with the ability to contextualize and think critically and creatively about the latest challenges in international development.
  • Collaboration: We believe in cross-disciplinary teamwork, we pride ourselves on implementing solutions from across the academic spectrum and working with organizations in all types of practice areas from around the world.
  • Justice: Our conception of development includes the spread of justice, human rights and the rule of law for all people in the world, regardless of demographics or socio-economic status.
  • Integrity: LIDS is committed to acting with the highest degree of integrity, in particular while dealing with client priorities and potentially sensitive and/or privileged information.

Getting Involved

We offer our members four ways to get involved with LIDS.

International Development Projects
. Submit an application to participate in one of our semester and year-long, small-team projects. Work directly with NGOs, governments, and entrepreneurs from around the world—under the supervision of lawyers at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliff, LLP—to provide analytical support on a range of fascinating and challenging issues in the field of international development.

Core Committees
. Join one of our committees that support LIDS and our community of students. We currently operate two active committees: Events & Symposium (responsible for inviting speakers, planning career activities, and promoting our events) and Career Committee (responsible for planning the annual career trip to New York City or Washington, D.C. and inviting speakers from high-profile development organizations). These committees are great ways to get involved in the organization, gain experience, and work up to a leadership position with LIDS.

Speakers & Events
. Attend a lecture through our lunch-time lecture series, come to our annual symposium or International Women’s Day event, or participate in our annual career-networking field trip. Our events seek to both provoke conversations about development issues and education our members about opportunities for jobs in law and development.

Social Activities.
 Come get to know other students interested in international development at one of our happy hours or other community activities, such as potlucks or movie nights.

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