About the Program
The Law School’s National Security Law Center allows students to study the most pressing issues in national security law and to explore the wide range of career opportunities available in the field. Our course offerings provide the constitutional and statutory foundations of national security law, but also address contemporary challenges flowing from new technologies, terrorism and geopolitical changes. The center is the hub for national security law activities at the Law School, and cooperates with student groups, faculty members, the Public Service Center and Career Development, and outside organizations to coordinate speakers, events, summer and postgraduate employment, and pro bono opportunities. A leader in national security law since 1981, we take advantage of our proximity to the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School and the wide range of national security practitioners in Washington, D.C., to enrich the Law School’s course offerings with expert speakers from government and policy groups.
The Politics of Free Exercise After Employment Division v. Smith: Same Sex Marriage, the “War on Terror,” and Religious Freedom
Administrative law, civil procedure, computer crime, federal courts, national security law
- Served as an attorney-adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice
- Practice appellate litigation privately and for DOJ's National Security Division
- Clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court
Cybersecurity, foreign relations, international law and national security law
- Clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Sonia Sotomayor and for Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
- Served as a special assistant to the State Department legal adviser and practiced appellate and national security law, including advising on cybersecurity issues, at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.
- Eichensehr’s recent scholarship focuses on the constitutional powers of the president and Congress in foreign relations law, the role of private actors in cybersecurity, and the development of international law to govern state behavior in cyberspace
International law and litigation, national security, law of war
- Served as White House associate counsel and deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council, 2021-22
- Served as the assistant legal adviser for political-military affairs in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser
- Embassy legal adviser at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in 2005, during Iraq’s constitutional negotiations
- Since joining the Law School in 2012, has been frequently quoted in the national media on topics such as legal justifications for war, the Edward Snowden affair and the use of cyber and drone warfare.
Administrative law, constitutional law and history
- Clerked for Judge Robert Bork on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- Served as counselor on international law in the Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State (2008)
- Worked with the Department of Justice in numerous capacities, including deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel (1990-93)
- A text-based interpreter of the Constitution, in 2009 Harrison testified before Congress about the legality and powers of the White House policy advisers referred to as "czars."
Constitutional law, antitrust and communications regulation, national security
- Clerked for Judge Frank H. Easterbrook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- Practiced with what is now Mayer Brown in Chicago
- Is a U.S. Army Reserve judge advocate, and was a principal editor and contributor for the first three editions of "The Rule of Law Handbook: A Practitioners’ Guide" (2007-09)
- Before he went to law school, Nachbar spent five years as a systems analyst, working for both Andersen Consulting and Hughes Space and Communications.
Separation of powers, presidential powers, constitutional law
- Clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
- A frequent commentator in the media on presidential power, Prakash is the author of "Imperial from the Beginning: The Constitution of the Original Executive."
- Among Prakash's articles are "How to Remove a Federal Judge," and "The Executive Power Over Foreign Affairs." (Scholarship Profile)
Employment discrimination, civil rights and admiralty, civil procedure and international civil litigation
- Clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices William O. Douglas and John Paul Stevens, and forJudge J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Chaired the advisory committee on Fourth Circuit Rules
- Rutherglen's book, "Civil Rights in the Shadow of Slavery," discusses the dynamics of legislative and judicial enforcement over the entire history of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. (Story)
Legal theory, constitutional theory, procedure, philosophy of law
- His series of articles on constitutional originalism have shaped contemporary thinking about the debate between originalism and constitutional theory
- Editor of Legal Theory Blog, an influential weblog that focuses on developments in contemporary normative and positive legal theory
- Also works on problems of law and technology, including Internet governance, copyright policy and patent law
International law, business and economics
- Clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr. and for Judge Levin Campbell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- Has taught extensively abroad (Story)
- Worked on a variety of projects involving law reform in former socialist states after the collapse of the Soviet Union, including Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Albania and Slovakia on behalf of the U.S. Treasury, and in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan on behalf of the International Monetary Fund
- Helped win case against Russian government's seizure of oil company (Story)
- Is the coordinating reporter on the Fourth Restatement, providing guidance on foreign relations law (Story)
Privacy, First Amendment, feminism and the law, civil rights, administrative law
- Named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow for her work on cyberstalking and intimate privacy
- Adviser to then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris on privacy issues and a member of her Cyber Exploitation Task Force (2014-16)
- Vice president of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting civil rights and liberties in a digital age
- Gave TED talk “How Deepfakes Undermine Truth and Democracy” that has had over 1.9 million views
- Clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Mary Johnson Lowe of the Southern District of New York
Courses and Seminars
The following is a list of courses offered during the current and two previous academic years. Numbers in parentheses indicate which academic year(s) the courses were offered, i.e., 2020-21 is coded (21), 2021-22 is coded (22) and 2022-23 is coded (23). (SC) stands for short course and (YR) stands for yearlong.
Admiralty (SC) (21,22)
Advanced Topics in the Law of Armed Conflict (JAG) (SC) (21,22)
An American Half-Century (21,22,23)
Border Policy and Politics (22,23)
Building the Rule of Law (SC) (21)
Cryptocurrency Regulation (SC) (21)
Cybersecurity Law and Policy (23)
Foreign Relations Law (21,22,23)
Innovating for Defense (21,22,23)
International Human Rights Law (21,22,23)
International Law (21,22,23)
International Law and the Use of Force (21,23)
International Law of Migration and Refugees (21)
Law of Armed Conflict (21,23)
National Security Law (21,22,23)
National Security Law and Practice (SC) (21)
Personal Data Protection in Europe (SC) (23)
Presidential Powers (21,22)
Sanctions and Boycotts (SC) (21,22,23)
War by Other Means: The Law of Economic and Financial Sanctions (SC) (23)
World War I (21,22)
University of Virginia School of Law students are helping the Pentagon tackle emerging national security challenges in a new UVA multidisciplinary course.
UVA Law professor Kristen Eichensehr discusses how the conflict in Ukraine highlights broader challenges for U.S. national security and foreign relations, including sanctions policy and cybersecurity. Eichensehr spoke at the Alumni Board and Council luncheon.
Schools and Research Centers
U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School
UVA Law students can take certain courses at the neighboring Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, and JAG officers serving in Charlottesville frequently coach UVA Law students serving on trial advocacy teams and in other kinds of competitions.
Professor Thomas B. Nachbar, senior fellow with the center, is a judge advocate in the U.S. Army Reserve, where he has, among other assignments, edited an Army handbook on the development of legal systems, trained Palestinian security forces in the West Bank and deployed to Iraq.
Related UVA Schools and Centers
Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
The Batten School is committed to solving the world’s toughest policy challenges. Its multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving and emphasis on ethics reinforce the school’s focus on how leadership works, why context matters in decision-making and which actions lead to tangible results. J.D.-M.P.P. Program
School of Data Science
The School of Data Science — the first of its kind in the nation — is guided by common goals: to further discovery, share knowledge, and make a positive impact on society through collaborative, open, and responsible data science research and education. Founded in 2019 through the largest gift in UVA history, the school positions the University and the community to play a national and international leadership role in the global digital future.
The Miller Center
The Miller Center is a nonpartisan affiliate of the University of Virginia that specializes in presidential scholarship, public policy and political history, and strives to apply the lessons of history and civil discourse to the nation's most pressing contemporary governance challenges.
Much like the university where it's made its home, the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School can trace its roots back to America's Founding Fathers. At the request of George Washington in 1775, the Continental Congress appointed the Army's first lawyer, known as a judge advocate
Professor Ashley Deeks leads a conversation on national security agencies deploying tools such as artificial intelligence and how they pose challenges to those conducting oversight of U.S. national security activities. The webinar was sponsored by the UVA Law School Foundation.
John Bassett Moore Society of International Law
The J.B. Moore Society is a driving force in international law activities at the Law School. Each year the society hosts a symposium on topics such as the war on terror or corruption in foreign governments, as well as a lunch lecture series in which international law faculty and foreign graduate students present papers. The society also sponsors the Jessup International Law Moot Court team and pro bono human rights projects. Website
Law, Innovation, Security & Technology
LIST focuses on the novel legal, policy and business problems caused by the recent proliferation of emerging technologies. It educates students about issues in the area; prepares them with practical skills and experience to enter the legal workforce; connects them to a network of mentors, experts and resources; and collaborates with the policy, business and technology communities. Recent areas of focus have included cyber crime, net neutrality and autonomous vehicles, among others. Website
National Security Law Forum
National Security Law Forum connects UVA law students with national security law and broader government issues by hosting speakers, educating students about career opportunities and facilitating student work on national security problems during law school. The forum seeks to produce the next generation of national security law leaders by engaging the school’s faculty, alumni network and connections with the national security community.
Virginia Journal of International Law
Now in its fifth decade, the Virginia Journal of International Law is the oldest continuously published, student-edited law review in the United States devoted exclusively to the fields of public and private international law. It is the most frequently cited student-edited journal of international and comparative law, and the third-most-frequently cited student-edited specialty journal of any kind. Website
Virginia Journal of Law & Technology
UVA Law's only e-journal, VJoLT, provides a forum for students, professors and practitioners to discuss emerging issues at the intersection of law and technology. Recent issues of the journal have included articles on biotechnology, telecommunications, e-commerce, internet privacy and encryption. Website
Virginia Law Veterans
Virginia Law Veterans supports student members of the military community and serves as an information resource for anyone conducting research on national security or international law and policy issues. Membership is open to any interested person and does not require any past or present tie to the military. Website
A paper co-authored by Professors Kristen Eichensehr and Cathy Hwang of the University of Virginia School of Law has been accepted to the 2022 Harvard/Yale/Stanford Junior Faculty Forum.
Neil H. MacBride ’92, general counsel of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, delivers the keynote address for the conference “Regulating Conflict and Competition: The Economic Levers of National Security.” Professor Kristen Eichensehr opened the conference, and Dean Risa Goluboff introduced MacBride. The event was sponsored by the Law School’s National Security Law Center.
Students have access to a range of job opportunities relating to national security law, and in the past have worked for the following employers during the summer or immediately after graduation:
- National Security Agency
- U.S. Department of Defense Office of General Counsel
- U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Military Commissions
- U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Law Division
- U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division (various sections)
- U.S. Department of State
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
- U.S. Army
- U.S. Navy
- ACLU National Security Project
- U.S. Transportation Security Administration
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Homeland Security Investigations, Human Rights Violator and War Crimes Center)
Students and graduates also benefit from an extensive alumni network.
Monroe Leigh Fellowship in International Law
The fellowship provides a total of $10,000 for one or more students to pursue a public international law project of their own choosing during the summer following the first or second year, during the fall and/or spring of the third academic year, or for a postgraduate internship. Application Information
Summer Public Service Opportunities
The Law School, in conjunction with the student-run Public Interest Law Association, offers $3,750 to $6,500 grants to help fund a broad array of summer public interest opportunities, including with federal agencies. Where Recent Fellows Worked
Panelists discuss how the roles and responsibilities related to U.S. cybersecurity are shared by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Defense and the private sector, and how each woman has become involved in this aspect of national security law. The speakers include M
Virginia-Duke Foreign Relations Roundtable
The President’s Delegated Foreign Affairs Powers
Friday, Feb. 26, 2021
This roundtable will explore the general tradeoffs between the need for Congress to delegate authority in the foreign relations sphere and the difficulty that Congress and the courts face in ensuring that the Executive remains faithful to those delegations. More
2021 Cybersecurity Speaker Series
Sponsored by the National Security Law Center; Law, Innovation, Security & Technology; and the National Security Law Forum
A cybersecurity speaker series will explores the challenges cybersecurity poses for governments, private actors, and civil society and how U.S., foreign and international law tackle cybersecurity problems. The series will discuss what to expect on cybersecurity law and policy in the new Biden administration, and will feature current and former U.S. government officials, in-house and outside counsel, and academic and civil society experts. This series is open to the UVA community as well as invited national security law faculty and professionals.
U.S. Government Perspectives on Cybersecurity
Monday, Feb. 8
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. EST
Experts will discuss the tools the U.S. federal government has deployed to address cybersecurity threats, including indictments, sanctions and the U.S. Department of Defense “defend forward” strategy and consider how government policy may change in the near term.
- Gary Corn, Director, Tech, Law & Security Program, American University Washington College of Law; former Staff Judge Advocate to U.S. Cyber Command
- Andrew Grotto, William J. Perry International Security Fellow at Stanford University and Director of the Program on Geopolitics, Technology and Governance at the Stanford Cyber Policy Center; former Senior Director for Cyber Policy, National Security Council
- Kimberley Raleigh, Deputy Chief of the Office of Law and Policy, National Security Division, U.S. Department of Justice
The Private Sector’s Role in Cybersecurity Challenges
Monday, Feb. 15
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. EST
This panel will highlight the role that in-house and outside counsel play in addressing cybersecurity threats to the private sector, as well as considering applicable U.S. and foreign (especially EU) regulatory regimes and the relationship between the private sector and governments more broadly.
- Cristin Goodwin, Assistant General Counsel of the Digital Security Unit, Microsoft Corp.
- Sean Joyce, Principal, U.S. and Global Cybersecurity and Privacy Practice Leader, PwC; former Deputy Director, FBI
- Ronald Lee, Partner, Arnold & Porter; former General Counsel, U.S. National Security Agency
- Kimberly Peretti, Partner; Co-Chair of Privacy, Cyber and Data Stratagy Team and National Security and Digital Crimes Team, Alston & Bird; former litigator in U.S. DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section
Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies
Monday, Feb. 22
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. EST
This panel will explore the cybersecurity challenges posed by emerging technologies and how new technologies might improve cybersecurity, while also examining related issues like disinformation and artificial intelligence.
- Nathaniel Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook; former Director of Cybersecurity Policy, National Security Council
- Brenda Leong, Senior Counsel and Director of Artificial Intelligence and Ethics, Future of Privacy Forum
- Riana Pfefferkorn, Research Scholar, Stanford Internet Observatory; former Associate Director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity, Stanford Center for Internet and Society
- Moderator: Kristen Eichensehr, Martha Lubin Karsh and Bruce A. Karsh Bicentennial Professor of Law; Director, National Security Law Center; University of Virginia School of Law