American Society of International Law

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The ASIL Logo

The American Society of International Law (ASIL) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational membership organization, based in Washington, DC. It was founded in 1906 under the direction of, among others, James Brown Scott and Elihu Root, the first ASIL president.[1] The Society was chartered by the United States Congress in 1950. Its mission is to foster the study of international law, and to promote the establishment and maintenance of international relations on the basis of law and justice.

Current Operations[edit]

At American Society of International Law Women's Interest Group panel discussion on 31 August 2014, (l to r) Christine Edwards, Elizabeth Anderson, Pamela Fierst, Sandra L. Hodgkinson, and Marcia Wiss discuss international law and careers.

ASIL holds Category II Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council,[2] and is a constituent society of the American Council of Learned Societies.[3] It currently has nearly 4,000 members from more than 100 nations, including attorneys, academics, corporate counsel, judges, representatives of governments and non-governmental organizations, international civil servants, students and others interested in international law.[4]

Among the Society's publications are The American Journal of International Law, International Legal Materials, and Proceedings of the ASIL Annual Meeting, all three of which are available to members online via publishing partner JSTOR. The Society's highlight events are its Annual Meeting, begun in 1906 and held in Washington, DC, and its Midyear Meeting, begun in 2010 and held in various regional capitals of the U.S.

Past ASIL Presidents[edit]

  1. Elihu Root (1906-1924)
  2. Charles Evans Hughes (1924-1929)
  3. James Brown Scott (1929-1939)
  4. Cordell Hull (1939-1942)
  5. Frederic R. Coudert, Jr. (1942-1946)
  6. Charles Cheney Hyde (1946-1949)
  7. Manley O. Hudson (1949-1952)
  8. Edwin D. Dickinson (1952-1953)
  9. Charles G. Fenwick (1953-1954)
  10. Philip C. Jessup (1954-1955)
  11. Quincy Wright (1955-1956)
  12. Lester H. Woolsey (1956-1957)
  13. Robert R. Wilson (1957-1958)
  14. Myres S. McDougal (1958-1959)
  15. Herbert W. Briggs (1959-1960)
  16. Charles E. Martin (1960-1961)
  17. Arthur H. Dean (1961-1962)
  18. Hardy C. Dillard (1962-1963)
  19. James N. Hyde (1963-1964)
  20. Brunson MacChesney (1964-1966)
  21. John R. Stevenson (1966-1968)
  22. Oscar Schachter (1968-1970)
  23. Harold D. Lasswell (1970-1972)
  24. William D. Rogers (1972-1974)
  25. Richard R. Baxter (1974-1976)
  26. Walter Sterling Surrey (1976-1978)
  27. C. Clyde Ferguson (1978-1980)
  28. Alona E. Evans (1980)
  29. Monroe Leigh (1980-1982)
  30. Covey T. Oliver (1982-1984)
  31. David G. Gill (1984-1986)
  32. Keith Highet (1986-1988)
  33. Louis B. Sohn (1988-1990)
  34. Peter Trooboff (1990-1992)
  35. Louis Henkin (1992-1994)
  36. Edith Brown Weiss (1994-1996)
  37. Charles N. Brower (1996-1998)
  38. Thomas M. Franck (1998-2000)
  39. Arthur W. Rovine (2000-2002)
  40. Anne-Marie Slaughter (2002-2004)
  41. James H. Carter (2004-2006)
  42. José E. Alvarez (2006-2008)
  43. Lucy F. Reed (2008-2010)
  44. David Caron (2010-2012)
  45. Donald Donovan (2012-2014)
  46. Lori Fisler Damrosch (2014-present)

ASIL Publications[edit]

The American Journal of International Law[edit]

The American Journal of International Law (AJIL) has been published quarterly since 1907. It features articles, editorials, notes, and comments by pre-eminent scholars on developments in international law and international relations. The Journal contains summaries and analyses of decisions by national and international courts and arbitral or other tribunals, and of contemporary U.S. practice in international law. Each issue lists recent publications in English and other languages, many of which are reviewed in depth. The Journal is indispensable for all professionals working in international law, economics, trade, and foreign affairs.[5]

Benchbook on International Law[edit]

First published in 2014, the Society's Benchbook on International Law provides a hands-on introduction to international law as it arises in courts of the United States. Its primary audience will be U.S. District Judges, typically the first to encounter questions of international law in our system. Others too may find the Benchbook of use: Magistrate Judges who may handle discovery and similar matters in the first instance; federal appellate judges who review the work of the district courts; state court judges whose docket includes disputes for which there is concurrent federal-state jurisdiction; administrative law judges; law clerks, legal assistants, and staff attorneys who serve the judiciary; and litigants who seek clearly and accurately to present to judges pertinent issues of international law. Nearly four dozen Society members contributed to the volume. The Benchbook will be updated periodically as needed; preparation of a 2015 edition is under way.[6]

International Legal Materials[edit]

Published every other month since 1962, International Legal Materials (ILM) reproduces primary international legal documents reflecting the broad scope and evolution of international law. Materials are selected - with the advice of the ILM Editorial Advisory Committee and the ILM Corresponding Editors - for their usefulness to scholars, practitioners, and business and government officials, both in the United States and abroad. Each issue contains the full texts of important treaties and agreements, judicial and arbitral decisions, national legislation, international organizations resolutions, and other documents.[7]

Annual Meeting Proceedings[edit]

The ASIL Proceedings form a record of the Society's Annual Meetings, the first one having been held in 1907. At these events, international scholars, practitioners, and experts gather to discuss and present research papers on the latest developments in such areas as trade and investment, the environment, and human rights, and in such regions as the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe. Also included are speeches given by U.S. government and international officials, who often use the occasion of the ASIL Annual Meeting to make major policy statements.[8]

The ASIL Newsletter[edit]

Published four times a year, the ASIL Newsletter covers selected international law developments, new publications, upcoming conferences, and regional activities of the Society. The Newsletter publishes thought-provoking commentary, including columns by the Society's president and the Society's executive director; information on meetings and symposia held all over the world; announcements of opportunities to participate in Society endeavors; and news of activities cosponsored with collegial organizations. [9]

ASIL Online Resources[edit]

ASIL Insights[edit]

ASIL Insights, the "international law behind the headlines," provide brief, balanced accounts of the international law issues raised by newsworthy late-breaking events. Insights, which are written as international law events arise, are distributed to subscribers and posted on the ASIL website approximately two times a month.

ASIL Blogs[edit]

ASIL Blogs keep members, as well as the public, informed of the latest developments that international law followers care about, while also providing them with an online forum for the discussion and debate of those issues.

Electronic Information System for International Law[edit]

The Electronic Information System for International Law (EISIL) is an open database of authenticated primary and other materials that allows researchers to locate the highest quality primary materials, authoritative websites, and helpful research guides.

Electronic Resource Guide[edit]

The ASIL Electronic Resource Guide (ERG) covers all major international law topics and is an invaluable tool for those researching international law. To learn how to use the ERG, please refer to the Introduction to the Guide.

See also[edit]

  • Grotius Lectures (annual lecture series sponsored by the American Society of International Law)


  1. ^ Kirgis,Frederic. "The American Society of International Law's First Century 1906-2006" p.6-11. Martinus Nijoff Publishers, Boston. 2006
  2. ^ "Consultative Status with ECOSOC". United Nations Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs. 
  3. ^ "Learned Societies". American Council of Learned Societies. 
  4. ^ "ASIL Overview". 
  5. ^ American Journal of International Law
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ International Legal Materials
  8. ^ Annual Meeting Proceedings
  9. ^ ASIL Newsletter

External links[edit]