Professor of Law at the George Washington University School of Law
Ralph Steinhardt is the Arthur Selwyn Miller Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University School of Law. Professor Steinhardt specializes in international law, human rights, conflicts of laws, international civil litigation, and international business transactions. He is co-director of the Oxford-GW Program in International Human Rights Law at New College, Oxford. His current research and advocacy concern the human rights obligations of multi-national corporations. He now serves as the only U.S. citizen on the Expert Legal Panel on that subject under the auspices of the International Commission of Jurists and has served as an expert witness in several federal cases testing the liability of corporations for aiding and abetting human rights violations by governments.
Steinhardt has dedicated nearly 25 years to litigating international human rights cases pro bono in U.S. courts, including before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has represented the survivors of torture and other abuses, most notably taking on cases against former President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. In 1997, Steinhardt was the founding chair of the Center for Justice and Accountability, a nongovernmental organization based in San Francisco that specializes in assuring that the United States does not become a safe haven for human rights abusers. Deeply interested in the relationship between international and domestic law, he wrote one of the first casebooks on international civil litigation.
Currently, Professor Steinhardt serves on the Board of Editors of the Oxford University press project on international law in domestic courts. He has written books and articles on the application of international law in U.S. courts, statutory construction, international trade law, jurisprudence, and human rights. He has served as legal counsel to several foreign governments in both commercial and intergovernmental matters, including border disputes and economic relations, and pioneered the application of international human rights law in U.S. courts. Futher, he served as counsel to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Human Rights Law Group.