Duke Law launches clinic headed by prominent international human rights advocate Jayne Huckerby

March 5, 2013Duke Law News

Jayne Huckerby

Duke Law School will launch an international human rights law clinic in the next academic year, Dean David F. Levi has announced.  Jayne Huckerby, a prominent human rights lawyer, advocate, and teacher, will join the faculty July 1 as an associate clinical professor of law and director of the new clinic, the Law School’s ninth.

“With our summer institutes in Hong Kong and Geneva, our strong international and comparative law faculty, and our many international students and alumni, Duke Law has had a strong program in public and private international law for many years.  Many of our students are interested in pursuing careers in international human rights advocacy,” said Levi.  “For several years, our faculty has supported this interest by crafting issue-specific seminars that combine classroom study with overseas field research.  We are now taking this programming to a new level with the establishment of the International Human Rights Law Clinic.  Jayne Huckerby is the perfect person to develop this new clinic.  She is highly regarded both as a practitioner and as a teacher.  She is dedicated to her work and to her students, and I am confident that in short order Duke Law School will be known for the excellence and impact of this new clinic.”

A native of Sydney, Australia, Huckerby received her LLB from the University of Sydney in 2002, with first class honors.  She attended NYU as a Vanderbilt Scholar, focusing her LLM studies on human rights and international law.  Huckerby was awarded the David H. Moses Memorial prize on graduating first in her LLM class of nearly 400 students.  She was also graduate editor on the Journal of International Law and Politics, and an International Law and Human Rights Fellow at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland.

After serving as a human rights officer with the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva, Huckerby joined the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU Law in 2005, serving as its research director from 2006 to 2011 and also teaching in NYU’s International Human Rights Clinic and Global Justice Clinic for two and a half years.  She currently serves as a human rights adviser to UN Women – the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – on women and conflict prevention, conflict, and post-conflict; gender equality and constitutional reform in post-Arab Spring countries; and the use of gender and human rights indicators in national security policy frameworks.

Over the past decade, Huckerby has undertaken cutting-edge human rights research and advocacy in the areas of gender and human rights, constitution-making, national security, human trafficking, transitional justice, and human rights in U.S. foreign policy.  Huckerby has led multiple fieldwork investigations, provided capacity-building to civil society and governments in five regions, and frequently served as a human rights law expert to international governmental organizations and NGOs, including the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women.  She also has extensive domestic, regional (Africa, Americas, Europe) and international litigation and advocacy experience.  She has written and co-authored numerous articles, book chapters, and human rights reports, and is most recently the editor, with Margaret L. Satterthwaite, of Gender, National Security, and Counter-Terrorism: Human Rights Perspectives (Routledge 2012).

“I am thrilled that Jayne Huckerby will be joining the Duke Law faculty,” said Laurence R. Helfer, the Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law and a scholar of international law and human rights.  “Jayne is an experienced and dedicated human rights lawyer and a talented and passionate teacher.  She has partnered with a broad range of international organizations, legal experts, governments, and NGOs.  She has drafted or helped prepare research and fact-finding reports based on more than a dozen country missions and investigations with law students and lawyers.  She has done path-breaking scholarship on human rights and gender in the context of counter-terrorism.  Jayne will be a tremendous addition to our community and an invaluable resource for our students.”

“Expanding our Clinical Program through the addition of an International Human Rights Law Clinic has been an important strategic priority for Duke Law,” said Clinical Professor Andrew Foster, director of clinics.  “We couldn’t be more excited about Jayne’s appointment and are confident that she is the right person to lead our newest clinic.  She has a deep understanding of, and commitment to, both pedagogy and service.  And she is well-positioned to ensure that the clinic will have important real-world impact, while also providing exciting educational and professional development opportunities for our students.”

Huckerby will teach International Human Rights Advocacy in the fall 2013 semester before officially launching the clinic in the spring 2014 term.  She expressed delight at the level of institutional support and student interest at Duke, as well as the collaborative spirit she found within the Law School and across the university.

“This is a pivotal moment to enhance experiential learning in human rights at Duke Law,” she said.  “The Law School has a rich tradition of international and comparative law scholarship and I look forward to complementing those strengths by developing a range of curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for human rights practice that draw upon Duke’s distinctive focus on interdisciplinary learning.” 

“The institutional excitement and genuine commitment to this work and to the new clinic at all levels is very striking. The students I have met at Duke Law have both experience and genuine passion for human rights and the clinic will further develop both areas.”

Huckerby anticipates engaging students in four types of human rights projects in the clinic:  projects that apply a human rights framework to domestic issues; projects that focus on human rights advocacy abroad where human rights standards are nascent or absent, such as in countries in transition; projects that engage with international institutions to advance human rights protections; and projects that analyze and shape the human rights implications of U.S. foreign policy, such as counter-terrorism initiatives that cause collateral gender-based harm. 

“The new clinic at Duke will be unique in its focus on shaping the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy,” she said.  “By leveraging Duke’s presence in D.C., students will be pivotal in bridging local realities with their broader legal and policy environments to bring about concrete social and legal change.”

As they do in all Duke Law clinics, students in the International Human Rights Law Clinic will hone their skills in legal analysis and writing, work collaboratively, and make strategic decisions that call upon a range of skills, including those relating to fact-finding, documentation, standard-setting, reporting, advocacy, and use of social media, as well as litigation. 

“Students in the clinic will also develop particularly strong competences around cross-cultural communication and transnational lawyering,” Huckerby said.  “These skills are essential for positioning Duke Law students as global lawyers in a legal world where borders are much less relevant and any form of legal practice has an international component.”  

 “I am committed to enabling Duke Law students to make human rights work in a globalized world.  This means developing clinic projects and practice opportunities that are both innovative as well as reflective of and grounded in sound and rigorous lawyering and legal analysis.  By addressing the role of law and lawyers in engendering social change, the clinic and its students will advance the frontiers of human rights law and advocacy in ways that are smart, strategic, and impactful.”