Middle East Legal Studies Seminar

The Middle East Legal Studies Seminar (MELSS) brings together leading practitioners, judges, and legal academics from across the Middle East to meet with YLS faculty and students. The Law School became involved in the Middle East to create a forum in which influential judges, lawyers, and scholars from the region could exchange ideas and forge ties with one another at an annual meeting held since 1998 in which papers related to a chosen theme are discussed. Past topics have included the concept of legal authority, fundamental rights, and religious pluralism. The seminar has successfully brought together established and emerging leaders who are committed to democratic principles and the rule of law.

The application window is now open for students enrolled at the Yale Law School who would like to attend the next annual gathering, which will be held from January 5-7, 2024, in Istanbul. Topics for discussion include Iran's strategic partnerships with China and Russia, the collapse of democracy in Tunisia, the reactions to the terrible earthquakes in Turkey and judicial reforms in Israel, and the calls for elections in Gaza.

Student participation primarily involves reading the papers and other background material before the conference and sharing note-taking responsibilities during the conference. Sometimes students help non-native speakers of English by proofreading drafts of their papers over Thanksgiving break. All participants are expected to attend the conference in its entirety, including all of the sessions, lunches, and dinners. The seminar will cover the cost of transportation to and from Istanbul, as well as meals and lodging during the conference dates.

To apply, students must send a current résumé, law school transcript (1Ls are exempted from this requirement), and statement of interest to the program coordinator (bradley.hayes@yale.edu) by October 16, 2023. The statement of interest should not exceed 850 words, yet somehow summarize the applicant's experience and interest in the region, whether the applicant foresees working on related issues in the future, and the applicant's proficiency in any languages spoken in the region largely write (Arabic, Hebrew, Kurdish, Persian, Turkish, etc). 

Contact Brad Hayes for more details.