About TradeLab

Who we Are

TradeLab is an independent, Geneva-based NGO bringing together students, academics and legal practitioners. It aims to empower countries and smaller stakeholders to reap the full development benefits of global trade and investment rules. Through pro bono legal clinics and practica, TradeLab connects students and experienced legal professionals to public officials especially in developing countries, small and medium-sized enterprises and civil society to build lasting legal capacity. Through ‘learning by doing’ we want to train and promote the next generation of trade and investment lawyers. By providing information and support on negotiations, compliance and litigation, we strive to make WTO, preferential trade and bilateral investment treaties work for everyone.

The TradeLab team

The TradeLab idea originates with Joost Pauwelyn and Sergio Puig when both were teaching at Stanford Law School in 2013.  Pieter Gunst has been on their side from the beginning to provide legal informatics and technology support.  

From 2014 to 2016, Mattia Salamanca was the initial TradeLab coordinator, based at the Graduate Institute in Geneva.

TradeLab runs on the pro bono input of students and legal professionals.  Students obtain credits from their respective universities as a result of their clinic work.

Academic supervisors, in turn, receive teaching credits for leading a clinic. Teaching assistants  are provided by the University where the clinic takes place.

TradeLab has received support under the “International Law for a Global Economy” project, funded by the Swiss National Research Foundation (SNF) as well as the “Legal Innovation to Empower Development” project, funded by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). Core participants in the QNRF project are: Joost Pauwelyn, Fadi Makki, Marc Busch, Jon Truby, Talal Al-Emadi and Sergio Puig. Theresa Carpenter and Valbona Zenku provide project management and administrative support.

TradeLab Coordinator & Clinical Instructor

Mengyi Wang

TradeLab Fellows

Inu Manak

Mattia Salamanca Orrego


How we Can Help

  • Research and analysis for treaty negotiations
  • Compliance assessment of domestic or foreign laws
  • Assessment of legal claims or defence strategies
  • Writing of party and third party submissions
  • Preparation of amicus curiae briefs
  • Legal and economic research on cutting edge trade or investment questions


What are Legal Clinics

Legal clinics are composed of small groups of highly qualified and carefully selected students. Faculty and other professionals with longstanding experience in the field act as Academic Supervisors and Mentors for the Clinics and closely supervise the work. Clinics are win-win for all involved: beneficiaries get expert work done for free and build capacity; students learn by doing, obtain academic credits and expand their network; faculty and expert mentors share their knowledge on cutting-edge issues and are able to attract or hire top students with proven skills.

Clinic projects are selected on the basis of need, available resources and practical relevance. Two to four students are assigned to each project. Students are teamed up with expert mentors from law firms or other organizations and carefully prepped and supervised by Academic Supervisors and Teaching Assistants. Students benefit from skills and expert sessions, do detailed legal research and work on several drafts shared with supervisors, mentors and the beneficiary for comments and feedback. The Clinic culminates in a polished legal memorandum, brief, draft law or treaty text or other output tailored to the project’s needs. Clinics deliver in three to four months. Work and output can be public or fully confidential, for example, when preparing legislative or treaty proposals or briefs in actual disputes.


TradeLab Clinic Network

The Graduate Institute, Geneva

The Centre for Trade and Economic Inetgration (CTEI) is the Graduate Institute’s Centre of Excellence for research on international trade. The Centre brings together the Institute’s research activities in the area of trade, investment, economic integration and globalization. The Centre provides a forum for discussion and dialogue, supporting the Clinic in kind and through competitively-obtained third-party funding. The Graduate Institute is a leading institution of research and higher education dedicated to the study of world affairs located in Geneva. The Graduate Institute Clinic is part of the TradeLab network of clinics and resource centres. The aim of TradeLab is to make international economic law accessible to everyone

Academic Supervisors

Joost Pauwelyn

Anne Saab

Fuad Zarbiyev


Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.

Tradition. Innovation. A superb faculty, hundreds of course offerings — and all of this just steps away from the Capitol and Supreme Court. Georgetown Law is an exceptional institution in an enviable location. 

Students come here from all over the world to study international or tax law, environmental or health care law (just a few of our specialties). They come here for our top-ranked clinics. Most of all, they come because this is the place where theory and practice meet. At Georgetown, students learn the law in the place where laws are made.

Academic Supervisors

Jennifer Hillman

Katrin Kuhlmann

Joost Pauwelyn


Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, Washington, D.C.

The Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS), founded in 1919, is a premier school of international affairs. At Georgetown’s Washington, D.C., and Qatar campuses, SFS provides a rigorous education grounded in both theory and practice while instilling the Jesuit values of service.

Academic Supervisors

Marc Busch


Georgetown University, School of Foreign Service, Doha.

Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) is dedicated to fulfilling Georgetown University’s mission of promoting intellectual, ethical and spiritual understanding through serious and sustained discourse among people of different faiths, cultures and beliefs. Embodying this spirit of the University, Georgetown’s Qatar campus undertakes education, research and service in order to advance knowledge and provide students and the community with a holistic educational experience that produces global citizens committed to the service of humankind. We demonstrate the values of Georgetown University; seek to build upon the world-class reputation of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; and work with our partner, Qatar Foundation, in its endeavors to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Academic Supervisors

Fadi Makki


University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Ottawa 

As a global and national leader in a variety of fields, Common Law offers specializations in Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, International Trade, Business and Human Rights Law, Social Justice and Technology Law, Public Law and Aboriginal Law.  The Centre for Law, Technology and Society has helped to solidify the law school’s position as the leading Law and Technology Faculty in the country.  uOttawa also provides one of the richest sets of course offerings in the world in International Law.  We are also home to the internationally renowned Human Rights Research and Education Centre.  Furthermore, we are the national leader in Environmental Law and home to the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law. 

Academic Supervisors

Debra Steger


International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO), Barcelona

The University of Barcelona's new Master of Laws in International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO LL.M.) features 9 months of learning from many of the most renowned experts drawn from leading law and economics faculties, international organizations, and research centres around the world. The IELPO LL.M. Programme revolves around 7 teaching modules, having as the main pillars International Trade, Competition and Investment Law and Policy. 

 Academic Supervisors

Altagracia Cuevas

Xavier Fernandez Pons

Sergio Puig


Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (TRAPCA), Tanzania

The Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (trapca) was inaugurated in December 2006, with the mandate of providing training and technical expertise on trade issues to professionals in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and low income Sub-Saharan African countries. Situated in Arusha, Tanzania, the Centre operates under the auspices of ESAMI and Lund University in Sweden. 

Academic Supervisors

Tsotetsi Makong

James Thokozani Ngwira


Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, India

Located in the vibrant National Capital Region, Jindal Global Law School (JGLS), part of O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), imparts a rigorous and multi-disciplinary legal education with a view to producing world-class legal professionals, scholars, and public servants. JGLS empowers its students with knowledge, skills, and vision to meet the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing world.

 Academic Supervisors

Pallavi Kishore

James Nedumpara


Qatar Univeristy, Doha

Qatar University is the national institution of higher education in Qatar. It provides high quality undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare competent graduates, destined to shape the future of Qatar. The university community has diverse and committed faculty who teach and conduct research, which addresses relevant local and regional challenges, advances knowledge, and contributes actively to the needs and aspirations of society.

 Academic Supervisors

Talal Abdulla Al-Emadi

Francis Botchway

Jon Truby


Past Beneficiaries

African Union

Agricultural SME in Canada

Black Market Watch

Canadian Provincial Government Office

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Citizen Climate Lobby

Embassy of the Philippines in Washington DC

European Commission

European Parliament

Friends of DSU Reform

General Attorney’s Office of Argentina

Getúlio Vargas Foundation

Government Office in Canada

Government Office in Nigeria

Government Office in the Caribbean

Higher Education Institution in Japan

IDEAS Centre

International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD)

International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

International Trade Centre (ITC)

Japanese Mission to the WTO

Mexican Ministry of Economy

NGO in South Africa

Non-Profit Organization in Taiwan

Office of the Chief Trade Advisor (OCTA), Vanuatu

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

Oxfam International

People’s Pledge

Permanent Mission of Canada to the WTO

Permanent Mission of Mexico to the WTO

Permanent Mission of Russia to the WTO

Private Wine Producer

SME in Israel

SME in the United Kingdom

SME in Washington DC

U.S. Interest Group/Think Tank

U.S. Senator's Office

U.S. State Government Office

UN Agency

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

World Economic Forum (WEF)


Contact TradeLab

Contact TradeLab confidentially, online or via email at info@tradelab.org.

Get in touch