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TradeLab Brochure 2021

Subject matter: international economic law, in particular, World Trade Organization, regional trade agreements, investment treaties, negotiation, implementation, compliance, arbitration & dispute settlement.

Open to: all students of the Graduate Institute with the required background (including, on occasion, non-law students) except for LLM students

Requests for pro bono help may be sent to: or

TradeLab is a global network of legal clinics, initiated at the Graduate Institute by Professor Joost Pauwelyn in 2009, and currently with seven sites located across the globe (besides Geneva, now also in Canada, India, Qatar, Spain, Tanzania, and the USA).  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’ TradeLab trains and promotes the next generation of trade and investment lawyers. By providing information and support on negotiations, compliance and litigation, TradeLab strives to make WTO, preferential trade and bilateral investment treaties work for everyone.

The TradeLab Clinic at the Graduate Institute offers a unique opportunity to thoroughly analyze international trade and investment law, as well as broader issues of international economic law, and jurisprudence through a combination of practice and theory.  Students work in small groups under the close supervision of one or more Professors, invited experts (“mentors”) and the teaching assistant on specific legal questions related to international economic law coming from real beneficiaries such as international organizations, governments, SMEs or NGOs.  In addition, introductory sessions by “mentors” will be held to provide substantive background to the respective topics, as well as skills sessions to improve legal writing and oral presentation skills.  

At the end of the semester, the groups submit written legal memos and orally present their projects in class in the presence of the beneficiary and other invited guests.  To get an idea of the types of projects done in previous years, see here. Spaces are limited to around 10-15 students and allocated based on CV, acquired knowledge of international economic law and the nature of the projects.  Students should have taken a basic trade/WTO or investment law course before applying.

Important Disclaimer:

All documents and communications issued by Graduate Institute Clinics are for research purposes only and on a pro-bono basis engaged in by students. The Clinics are a pedagogical exercise to train students in the practice of international law; they do not, and cannot, provide professional legal advice. No client-attorney relation is, at any time, established. No Clinic document or other communication can in any way bind, or lead to any form of liability or responsibility for, its authors, the supervisors of the Clinic or the Graduate Institute.