about ILI

The International Law Institute (ILI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to building resilience and economic empowerment through the rule of law for human development around the world. Over its nearly 70 years, ILI has worked with more than 180 governments, all of the principal multilateral and international legal standards setting bodies, and tens of thousands of legal practitioners on professional development and legal/regulatory reform.

We are a leader in providing technical assistance and capacity building on policy, legal, and regulatory matters to foster the sustainable and inclusive economic growth of both developed and emerging economies.



Core Values

Our Principles


ILI was founded in 1955 at the Georgetown University Law Center to assist in rebuilding government and economic institutions, as well as the legal and institutional frameworks for infrastructure in post-war Europe. A sister institute, the Insitut für Auslandisches und Internationales Wirtschaftsrecht, was founded at the same time in Frankfurt, Germany. Professor Heinrich Kronstein, the Institute’s first director, fled Germany in the 1930s and spent more than a decade studying and teaching at the law schools of Columbia University and Georgetown University. Professor Kronstein believed that closer ties between European and American legal systems would facilitate business and trade.

The Institute’s early years were marked by scholarly work and academic exchanges. Beginning in the early 1970s – under the leadership of a new director, Professor Don Wallace, Jr., of Georgetown University – the ILI expanded its focus to include professional training in the legal, economic, and financial problems of developing countries. An early collaborator in this work was Professor Robert Hellawell of Columbia University Law School.

The earliest courses offered were Foreign Investment Negotiation and International Procurement. Since then, the curriculum has evolved to reflect, and promote, the centrality of the private sector and an enabling role on the part of the public sector in promoting the conditions for economic growth.

ILI became an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1983.  It continues to work closely with universities, governments, corporations and international organizations.