Lea Brilmayer

Howard M. Holtzmann Professor Emeritus of Law

LL.M., Columbia Law School, 1978

J.D., University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, 1976

B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1970

Courses Taught
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Contemporary Legal Issues in Africa
  • Contracts
  • International Courts and Tribunals
  • Public Order of the World Community
Lea Brilmayer

Lea Brilmayer is the Howard M. Holtzmann Professor of International Law at Yale Law School. In addition to teaching Contracts to first-year students, she also teaches Conflict of Laws and International Courts and Tribunals, as well as seminars on the laws of war and on African current affairs. Her degrees include a B.A. in mathematics and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as an LL.M. from Columbia Law School. Brilmayer has taught at a number of different law schools as either a professor or visiting professor, including the University of Texas, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, Columbia Law School, Harvard Law School, and the New York University School of Law (where she led a weekly seminar on International Jurisprudence.) She is a member of the Texas and Supreme Court bars. She has given numerous endowed lectures at other American law schools and has also taught twice at the summer session of the Hague Academy of International Law.

During her first decade of teaching, her writing interests mainly concerned conflict of laws (in particular, personal jurisdiction and choice of law); federal jurisdiction; and jurisprudence. Her conflict of laws writings have included one theoretical book on the subject and a leading casebook (in the more recent editions, co-authored with Jack Goldsmith). Together with a group of Yale student contributors, she published An Introduction to Jurisdiction in the American Federal System. Her writings on the conflict of laws have resulted in her being asked on a number of occasions to testify before Congressional committees, most recently on the Full Faith and Credit implications of same sex marriage. More recently, her interests have gradually turned to international law and international relations, and she is frequently cited for her academic writings about nationalism and the international legal status of secessionist movements. Her research in international jurisprudence has also led to two books, Justifying International Acts and American Hegemony: Political Morality in a One-Superpower World.

In addition to her academic interests, Brilmayer carries on an active life in interstate and international adjudication.  In addition to contributing to amicus briefs, she has served as counsel of record before the United States Supreme Court and has been an expert consultant on many lower and intermediate appellate court cases. For the last decade she has served as lead counsel in several international public (state-to-state) arbitrations dealing with island sovereignty, maritime delimitation, land boundaries, and mass claims for violations of the laws of war.


Conflict of Laws: Foundation and Future Directions, 1995

American Hegemony: Political Morality in a One Superpower World, 1994

Justifying International Acts, 1989