During his tenure at Cornell Law School, Ian Kysel has been active in developing community-engaged learning, leadership and research activities. And he finds ways to bring colleagues, students, partners and clients into his engaged advocacy work, scholarship and teaching.
Through the Migrant Rights Initiative, Kysel conducts cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research on the human rights of migrants and fosters opportunities for innovative action that reshapes the way governments treat people who cross international borders. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kysel collaborated with NGO partners around the world to create a new Global Strategic Litigation Council for Refugee Rights (GSLC). The GSLC serves as a hub for activists seeking to use strategic litigation and related legal advocacy to advance the protection of refugee rights and the consistent and progressive development of international law worldwide.
In fall 2022, Kysel launched a new Transnational Disputes Clinic, where students learn to use strategic litigation to influence the progressive development of the law. Structured, critical reflection is a key focus of clinical pedagogy, and Kysel and his students formally reflect on their work with clients at the end of each weekly case team meeting. The syllabus includes units on public interest and transnational lawyering as well as lawyering across difference, all of which give students further scaffolding for reflection on their own positionality as they develop key skills – and a professional identity – in a context of close client contact.