Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center & Allen Post Professor
durkee photo
(706) 542-5556

University of Georgia School of Law
Dean Rusk International Law Center
229 Dean Rusk Hall
Athens, GA 30602
United States

Administrative Support

B.A., Westmont College
J.D., Yale University

International Environmental Law
International Business Transactions
Biographical Information

Melissa J. "MJ" Durkee currently serves as the University of Georgia School of Law's associate dean for international programs and director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, which serves as the law school's international law and policy nucleus for education, scholarship and other collaborations. She also holds the Allen Post Professorship. Her expertise and teaching straddles international and business law, and she teaches in the areas of corporate law, international business law and international environmental law. She also holds a courtesy appointment in UGA's Terry College of Business.

Durkee's research focuses on global governance, lobbying, international organizations, public-private interactions that affect the content and success of international legal norms, and theories of lawmaking and compliance. Her work addresses a diverse set of substantive areas including environmental law and climate change, outer space law, private law and economic law. Durkee's scholarship has been published in prestigious journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, the Washington University Law Review and the Virginia Law Review.

She is on the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law and serves as supervising editor of AJIL Unbound. She is a member of the American Society of International Law's Executive Council and currently serves as vice chair of the society's International Legal Theory Interest Group. She has held a number of other leadership positions in the American Society of International Law and has given invited lectures and spoken to academic and professional audiences throughout the United States and internationally.

Prior to her arrival at the UGA School of Law in 2018, Durkee was an associate professor at the University of Washington Law School, where she was presented awards two consecutive years for her scholarship, and a third year for her support of student journals. She also served as an Associate-in-Law at Columbia Law School from 2011 to 2013. Prior to entering academia, Durkee practiced law in New York for five years with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, where she specialized in international litigation and arbitration. She was a judicial clerk for Judge Sidney H. Stein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and for Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

Durkee received her law degree from Yale Law School, where she served on the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of International Law. She obtained her bachelor's degree summa cum laude in 2000 from Westmont College, where she earned Highest Departmental Honors. She studied law in Chile while in law school and at the University of Oxford while pursuing her undergraduate education. While in law school, she was a teaching fellow at Yale University in the Philosophy Department.

Publications & Activities


States, Firms, and Their Legal Fictions: Attributing Identity and Responsibility to Artificial Entities (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).



International Environmental Law at its Semicentennial: The Stockholm Legacy, 50 Ga. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 748 (2022)

The Pledging World Order, 49 Yale J. Int'l L. ___ (forthcoming 2023)

Industry Groups in International Governance: A Framework For Reform, 13 J. Hum. Rts. & Env't __ (forthcoming 2022).

Interpretive Entrepreneurs, 107 Va. L. Rev. 431 (2021).

Introduction to the Symposium on Frederic Megret, "Are there 'Inherently Sovereign Functions' in International Law", 115 AJIL Unbound 299 (2021).

Welcoming Participation, Avoiding Capture: A Five-Part Framework, 114 ASIL Proc. 39 (2021).

The Future of Space Governance, 48 Ga. J. Int'l & Comp. L. 711 (2020).

Interstitial Space Law, 97 Wash. U. L. Rev. 423 (2019).

Book Review: Global Lawmakers: International Organizations in the Crafting of World Markets, Susan Block-Lieb & Terence C. Halliday (2017), 113 Am. J. Int'l L. 422 (2019).

International Lobbying Law, 127 Yale L.J. 1742 (2018).

Astroturf Activism, 97 Stan. L. Rev. 201 (2017).

Industry Lobbying and "Interest Blind" Access Norms at International Organizations, 111 AJIL Unbound 119 (2017).

Introduction to Symposium on Industry Associations in Transnational Legal Ordering, 111 AJIL Unbound 103 (2017) (with Gregory Shaffer).

The Business of Treaties, 63 UCLA L. Rev. 264 (2016).

Persuasion Treaties, 99 Va. L. Rev. 63 (2013).

Beyond the Guantánamo Bind: Pragmatic Multilateralism in Refugee Resettlement, 42 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 697 (2011).