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 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. LIDS actively welcomes graduate students from the Boston area and currently has members from Harvard Law School, the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Business School, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Fletcher School. We believe that bringing together students with diverse perspectives and backgrounds makes our community stronger and improves our ability to support our NGO partner organizations.
If you are a student interested in these topics, we hope that you will consider joining our organization. For our members, we offer five main ways to get involved.
1. Speakers & Events: we organize informative speaker events about topics in law & development. These will include talks by academics and development-field practitioners. Topics will range from law and microfinance, to anti-corruption regimes, justice-sector reform.
2. Career Support: we educate our members about opportunities for jobs in law and development, including: a summer internship workshop and a spring workshop focused on full-time recruiting.
3. Social Activities: we have an active social calendar. The goal of these events is to bring together students from all different schools; we have several happy hours and community activities planned for the year. In addition, we organize informal ‘affinity groups,’ based on geographic area of interest (Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe/CIS, Middle East/North Africa). These provide opportunities for students to interact with people who share their region of focus.
4. International Development Projects: our organization also offers exciting, hands-on opportunities to get involved in law & international development; each semester we offer a number of team projects which allow some of our members to work directly with leading NGOs on challenging issues. These projects provide an ongoing opportunity for LIDS members to provide analytical support to the partner NGOs, while building relationships and learning more about the field. These projects include semester-long assignment for 2-5 students to work with our NGO and IGO partners in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
5. Core Committees: LIDS members are encouraged to join the numerous committees that support LIDS and make the organization even stronger. We currently operate four active committees: Events (responsible for inviting speakers and planning career activities), Projects (which helps screen, design and monitor International Projects), Social (responsible for setting up our numerous activities), and Collaborations (which looks for creative ways to work with alumni and others). These committees are great ways to get involved in the organization, gain experience, and work up to a leadership position with LIDS.