From 2018 to 2020, UC Law SF administered a subcontract from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). We advised on the pros and cons of establishing an LLM program at one Uzbek law school, conducted a legal clinic assessment of two law school legal clinics, prepared curricula and conducted training of trainers (TOT) on clinical education, and delivered remote TOT courses on the common law legal system and on legislative drafting. Professors Linh Spencer and Yvonne Troya carried out the curricular and assessment work in Uzbekistan, while Professor Jessica Vapnek and Helga Turku JD ’12 delivered TOT courses to law professors and prosecutors by Zoom during the pandemic.
With the formal establishment of the International Development Law Center in July 2022, UC Law SF now has a permanent home for international grant activities. The mission of the Center is to share international development expertise while providing research and learning opportunities for UC Law SF students, professors, and graduates.
The Center seeks and implements international projects in a variety of subject areas, including food and agriculture, sustainable development, and legal education. Established with the explicit objective of collaborating across disciplines and cultures, the Center pursues links with other academic and research organizations, increasing the law school’s global footprint while generating international contacts and opportunities for the UC Law SF community.
Past and ongoing projects have benefited from funding by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH), Pacific Community (SPC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the US State Department.
Recognizing that law is a key tool to tackle the world’s problems, the International Development Law Center seeks to inspire and provide concrete opportunities for the next generation of international development practitioners.
Jessica Vapnek joined the UC Law SF faculty in 2017 after a long international career. Most recently, she was a Regional Technical Director for a consulting firm in San Francisco implementing rule-of-law projects around the world. In that role she managed complex international projects, helped write winning proposals, and published articles on access to justice and dispute resolution. Previously, for almost 15 years, Professor Vapnek served as a Legal Officer with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, providing policy advice to member countries, drafting legislation on agriculture and natural resources, and writing and editing a number of articles and books. She has lived in Africa (she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the former Zaire and a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana) and has worked in or traveled to 93 countries during her career. She continues to do occasional work for the UN as an expert, for example travelling to Bhutan and Malawi to review their veterinary legislative frameworks and to Nepal to evaluate a proposed draft food safety law. She speaks French, Spanish, and Italian.