Professors Curtis Bradley and Laurence Helfer began their four-year tenures as co-Editors-in-Chief of the prestigious American Journal of International Law (AJIL) on April 5. Their election was approved by the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) on October 27, 2017 after an earlier unanimous vote of the AJIL Board of Editors.
AJIL, which has been in continuous publication since 1907, is the world’s preeminent peer-reviewed international law journal. It is known for its presentation of cutting-edge scholarship, “agoras” involving multiple perspectives on current issues, book reviews, analyses of important international and foreign law decisions, and a record of official U.S. positions and actions known as the “Contemporary Practice of the United States Relating to International Law.” AJIL Unbound, the quarterly journal’s online supplement, publishes short, original essays discussing new ideas and developments in the field.
Bradley, the William Van Alstyne Professor of Law and Professor of Public Policy Studies, and Helfer, the Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law, have both published extensively in AJIL and are longtime members of the Board of Editors – in their 10th and eighth years of service, respectively – as well as frequent collaborators and active members of ASIL. They are two of three co-directors of the Duke Center for International and Comparative Law (CICL).
“We are both honored and excited to take on this challenge,” said Bradley. “Many of the most prominent writings in international law have appeared in the pages of AJIL, as have some of the most famous debates in international law scholarship.” Past editors have included eminent scholars and public figures in the fields of international law and international affairs, he added.
“Because AJIL is widely read both in the United States and around the world, as well as by government officials, practicing attorneys, and academics, the evolution of the field can be shaped by what’s in the pages of the Journal,” said Helfer. “As editors-in-chief, we will have a hand in shaping that future.”
Bradley, whose expertise spans the areas of international law in the U.S. legal system, the constitutional law of foreign affairs, and federal jurisdiction, has served during the past year as Supervising Editor for AJIL Unbound. The co-author of a leading casebook on foreign relations law that is now in its sixth edition, he is also the author of a monograph on international law in the U.S. legal system and the editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Comparative Foreign Relations Law, among other books, as well as more than 75 scholarly articles and essays. Bradley is a Reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement project on the Foreign Relations Law of the United States, and in 2016, received a Carnegie Fellowship to support a multi-year project on comparative foreign relations law and democratic accountability (to which Helfer is a contributor). Bradley, who is the co-founder of ASIL’s interest group on international law in domestic courts, also directs the Duke-Leiden Summer Institute in Global and Transnational Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Helfer is an expert in the areas of international law and institutions, international adjudication and dispute settlement, human rights (including LGBT rights), and international intellectual property law and policy. A senior fellow with Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics, Helfer also serves as a permanent visiting professor at the iCourts Center of Excellence for International Courts at the University of Copenhagen, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in law in 2014. He has authored more than 70 publications and has lectured widely on his diverse research interests. He is the coauthor of four books: Transplanting International Courts: The Law and Politics of the Andean Tribunal of Justice (Oxford University Press, 2017); The World Blind Union Guide to the Marrakesh Treaty: Facilitating Access to Books for Print-Disabled Individuals (Oxford University Press, 2017); Human Rights and Intellectual Property: Mapping the Global Interface (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and Human Rights (2d ed., Foundation Press, 2009), as well as two edited volumes: International Court Authority (Oxford University Press, 2018), and Intellectual Property and Human Rights (Edward Elgar, 2013).
“The American Journal of International Law will be in extremely good hands with Curt Bradley and Larry Helfer as co-editors-in-chief,” said Dean David F. Levi. “They are both superb, energetic, and creative scholars who are leaders in their respective fields. At Duke, with their colleagues, they have built a terrific program in international and comparative law and human rights. This co-editorship will contribute to the further excellence of our programs at Duke while at the same time AJIL will benefit from the strength of the programs that Curt and Larry lead here.”
In addition to CICL and the Summer Institute in Leiden, key components of Duke's international law program include the International Human Rights Clinic, the student-run Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, the Global Financial Markets Center, the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security, partnerships with top international law schools, a robust LLM program for foreign law graduates, an SJD program, and a distinctive dual-degree program that allows students to pursue both a JD and LLM in international and comparative law in three years. Faculty expertise includes such fields as international trade, global finance, international intellectual property law, international environmental law, comparative law, the law of armed conflict, international criminal law, and human rights advocacy.
“It is gratifying to see Duke Law School’s strength in international law reflected in its close connection to such an influential and exceptional publication as AJIL,” said Levi, who has committed to funding new student research positions and administrative support for Bradley and Helfer’s editorial obligations. They also will draw on resources of the J. Michael Goodson Law Library, which has a dedicated foreign, comparative, and international law reference librarian on staff.
Bradley and Helfer noted that AJIL has undergone an evolution in both substance and form during the time that they have been engaged with it, while staying true to its rich historical legacy. According to Helfer, “the journal has become much more contemporary, in that it publishes interdisciplinary and empirical scholarship as well as research on the doctrines and institutions of international law. We’re interested in continuing that trajectory.”
AJIL Unbound, launched about four years ago, has been extremely well received, said Bradley. “It publishes more frequently than the print version of the journal and is easier to read with shorter, very topical essays,” he said, noting that articles are now formatted like the print articles and are citable as well as searchable on Westlaw. “A wider diversity of authors from all over the world are writing essays for Unbound, including many younger scholars.” Essays published in the online supplement can serve as entry points for junior scholars to submit subsequent manuscripts to the print journal, both of which are published through Cambridge University Press.
Bradley and Helfer, who occupy neighboring offices, have collaborated extensively during their time at Duke – as CICL co-directors, on Law School committees, on scholarly initiatives, and in teaching intensive courses on international law in U.S. courts to federal and state judges on behalf of the Federal Judicial Center and in Duke Law School’s Master of Judicial Studies Program.
“Larry and I work together well and complement each other in a number of useful ways,” said Bradley, who noted both the overlap in and distinctiveness of his and Helfer’s areas of expertise. “Together we cover a broader array of methodologies and topics than we do individually.” Their perspectives have similar convergences and divergences, he added. “When we interact, we learn from each other, and we have found that when we write together, it is a genuine dialogue: Our individual positions are modified as we work together, forming something closer to a unified position that, I think, is better than the sum of its parts.”
Added Helfer: “Our approach fits within Duke’s broader culture of deep and open inquiry, where it’s perfectly fine to push back hard on ideas if you do so respectfully and in a constructive way.”
Watch video interviews with Bradley and Helfer: