Who We Are
TradeLab is based in Geneva and is an Association under Swiss Law. TradeLab brings together students, academics, and legal practitioners with the aim of empowering countries and smaller stakeholders to reap the full development benefits of institutions and rules that govern our global economy. 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, TradeLab strives to make global economic regulation work for everyone.
Executive Director, International Trade Center, Geneva
Advisory Board Member, TradeLab
TradeLab History and Support
TradeLab is the brainchild of Professors Joost Pauwelyn and Sergio Puig when they were both teaching at Stanford Law School in 2013. While the first clinic started out at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, it is now a global network of legal clinics and practica across many countries.
On the technology front, Pieter Gunst, President and Co-Founder of Legal.io, has provided legal informatics and support to TradeLab right from the beginning.
TradeLab has received support under the “International Law for a Global Economy” project funded by the Swiss National Research Foundation, as well as the “Legal Innovation to Empower Development” project funded by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). The core participants in the QNRF project are Joost Pauwelyn, Fadi Makki, Marc Busch, Talal Al-Emadi, Francis Botchway, Rafael Brown and Sergio Puig. Theresa Carpenter and Valbona Zenku provide project management and administrative support.
TradeLab Coordinators Over the Years
TradeLab is grateful to all the work undertaken by the role of the TradeLab Coordinator, which has been filled in by different people over the past few years.
October 2019 to Present
June 2017 to
September 2016 to June 2017
What are Legal Clinics and Practica
The legal clinics and practica are composed of small groups of highly qualified and carefully selected students who work on specific legal questions posed by beneficiaries. The students work in groups under the close supervision of one or more Professors (Academic Supervisors) and are also teamed up with experts (Mentors) from law firms, national or international organizations or academia, who lend their knowledge, time and feedback to the students, pro bono. The students are carefully prepped and supervised by the Academic Supervisors and Teaching Assistants.
Over the course of the semester, usually three to four months, the students benefit from skills and expert sessions, conduct detailed legal research and work on several drafts shared with Academic Supervisors, Mentors and beneficiaries for comments and feedback. The output can range from a legal memorandum to a brief, draft law, treaty text or other output tailored to the beneficiary’s needs. At the end of the semester, the groups submit a written output and orally present their project in class in the presence of the beneficiaries and other invited guests. The work and output can be made public or kept confidential depending on the need and requirement of the beneficiaries.
TradeLab clinics and practica are win-win for all involved: beneficiaries get expert work done for free helping them build capacity; students learn by doing, obtain academic credit, expand their network and get an opportunity to work on real-life legal questions presented by beneficiaries; faculty and expert mentors share their knowledge on cutting-edge issues and are able to attract or hire top students with proven skills.
Watch Jennifer Hillman explain how TradeLab is a win-win for all involved
How TradeLab can Help
By using our network, we can assist you with a variety of international economic law projects, including the following:
Research and analysis for treaty negotiations
Compliance assessment of domestic or foreign laws
Compliance assessment of proposed or existing legislation
Drafting model legislation
Drafting advocacy positions in the context of existing agreements on trade and investment
Assessment of legal claims or defense strategies
Writing of party, third party submissions and legal memoranda
Preparation of amicus curiae briefs
Legal and economic research on cutting-edge trade or investment law questions
All projects prepared and published by TradeLab law clinics and practica are done on a pro bono basis by students for research purposes only. The projects are pedagogical exercises to train students in the practice of international economic law, and they do not reflect the opinions of TradeLab and/or the academic institutions affiliated to TradeLab. The projects do not in any way constitute legal advice and do not, in any manner, create an attorney-client relationship. The project cannot, in any way, and at any time, bind, or lead to any form of liability or responsibility for the clinic participants, participating academic institutions, or TradeLab.