Giannini Named HLS Professor

Tyler R. Giannini, clinical director of the Law School’s Human Rights Program, has recently been appointed a clinical professor of law at HLS.

Giannini, who was formerly a lecturer on law, lectures on business, human rights law, and the intersection of human rights and the environment.

“Since he has been at Harvard, he has been an outstanding teacher, loved by his students, and [a] central force in our human rights clinic, widely viewed as the best in the country,” James L. Cavallaro ’84, the executive director of the Human Rights Program, wrote in an e-mail.

Before coming to the Law School, Giannini worked with communities in Burma that sued the oil corporation Unocal for human rights abuses. He also co-founded EarthRights International, an organization that focuses on human rights law and the environment.

He has also written several scholarly articles, including “Confronting a Rising Tide: A Proposal for a Convention on Climate Change Refugees.”

“Tyler Giannini is a creative thinker and pioneer in the development of theories of liability in the field of human rights,” said Law School Dean Martha L. Minow in a press release. “His work has guided [the International Human Rights Clinic] and our clinical students in ground-breaking and influential work in human rights advocacy.”

Giannini joined the Law School in 2004 as a clinical advocacy fellow in the Human Rights Program. In 2006, Giannini was appointed a lecturer on law. He became clinical director of the Human Rights Program in 2007.

Cavallaro said that Giannini’s appointment represents “a step forward for the Law School,” and sends a message about “the importance of teaching in decisions about tenure and status at Harvard Law School.”

With the International Human Rights Clinic, Giannini has worked on Alien Tort Statute cases. He is currently serving as co-counsel in South African apartheid litigation, and in Mamani v. Sanchez de Lozada, a case dealing with the roles of a former Bolivian president and a former defense minister in a 2003 civilian massacre.

Giannini has led teams of clinical students litigating in Bolivia, Canada, Cambodia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, South Africa, and South Korea.

Currently overseas, Giannini could not be reached for comment.

—Staff writer Zoe A. Y. Weinberg can be reached at