Claudio Grossman

Professor of Law
Dean Emeritus
Raymond I. Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law

Office: Room Y339
Phone: 202-274-4004
Email: vCard

Claudio Grossman is Professor of Law, Dean Emeritus, and the Raymond Geraldson Scholar for International and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law (WCL). Professor Grossman served as WCL dean from 1995-July 2016, at which time he decided to return to the faculty. He was appointed Dean Emeritus by American University's (AU) Board of Trustees in recognition of over two decades of commitment, dedication and distinction.

During Professor Grossman's 21-year tenure as dean, WCL further developed its intellectual creativity, pursuing numerous and exciting initiatives. More than 50 full-time faculty members were hired, dramatically improving the law school's student-faculty ratio and expanding and enhancing scholarship, teaching and service. A variety of WCL programs were developed during Professor Grossman's deanship including: dual JD Programs with universities in Canada, France, Australia, Spain and Italy, the LL.M. in Law and Government Program, the L.L.M. in Advocacy, the LLM in Intellectual Property, the Supervised Externship Program, the S.J.D. Program, a dual LL.M./MBA, LL.M. specializations in Gender and the Law and in Free Trade Agreements and Regional Integration, Online Education, and specialized summer programs in human rights and humanitarian law, international commercial arbitration, anti-corruption, health law, intellectual property, law and government, international organizations, law and diplomacy, environmental law, legal English, and legal Spanish. Also during his leadership as dean, WCL developed and expanded summer abroad programs in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, numerous semester abroad programs, the International Commercial Arbitration Center, the Intellectual Property (IP) Program, clinics in IP, Disability Rights Law, Immigrant Justice and an evening section of the General Practice Clinic, and integrated sections in the first year so as to promote interconnectedness among the different law courses.

During Professor Grossman's tenure as dean, WCL achieved recognition as among the top 10 nationally in clinical legal education, intellectual property, international law and trial advocacy, in addition to being one of the most diverse law schools in the country. With his leadership, WCL also designed and completed its magnificent new Tenley Campus, a state-of-the-art law school building just one block from the metro, connecting the law school's community to the nation's capital and its many professional opportunities. The law school's official ribbon-cutting ceremony in February 2016 featured luminaries including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, AU President Neil Kerwin, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Mr. Miguel de Serpa Soares, distinguished alumni and members of the AU Board of Trustees, and attracted over 2,000 alumni worldwide to WCL's Tenley campus.

Throughout his academic career, Professor Grossman has contributed to promoting the rule of law, human rights and legal education in both international and domestic organizations. Professor Grossman was elected to the United Nations International Law Commission in November 2016 for a five-year term, and previously served as member (2003-2015) and chairperson (4 terms, from 2008-2015) of the United Nations Committee against Torture. On May 20, 2013, Professor Grossman was elected chair of the UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies for a one-year term. In May 2009, he was named to the judging panel for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights, and in May 2010 he was appointed to the Center's board of directors. Professor Grossman served on the governing board for the International Association of Law Schools since 2008 and was reelected in 2010 for a three-year term. On January 1, 2014, Professor Grossman began serving as President of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights, following three years on its Board of Directors. He is also on the Board of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI) and a member of numerous associations including the American Law Institute.

Professor Grossman previously served as President of the College of the Americas (COLAM), an organization of approximately 400 colleges and universities in the Western Hemisphere (November 2003-November 2007). He also served as Chair of the Committee on International Cooperation of the Association of American Law Schools (November 2005-November 2009) and as a member of the Commission for the Control of Interpol's Files (February 2005-March 2011). In addition, he was a member of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) from 1993-2001. He was twice elected its President, first in 1996 and again in 2001. He was the IACHR's first Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women (1996-2000), as well as its Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Populations (2000-2001) and its Observer of the AMIA Trial (2001-2005). Representing the IACHR, Professor Grossman participated in missions to Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru, among others. On behalf of international and non-governmental organizations, he has also chaired or participated in missions to observe elections in Nepal, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Romania, Surinam, and the Middle East.

Professor Grossman has been consistently recognized as one of the top 25 most influential people in legal education. He has also received numerous awards for his work with human rights and international law, including the Harry LeRoy Jones Award from the Washington Foreign Law Society and the René Cassin Award from B'nai B'rith International in Chile. In October 2000, Professor Grossman was named Outstanding Dean of the Year by the National Association of Public Interest Law (now known as Equal Justice Works). In addition, the Inter American Press Association named Professor Grossman as the recipient of the Chapultepec Grand Prize 2002 for his achievements in the field of human rights and his work and commitment to promoting and protecting the freedom of expression and of the press for all people. In 2007, Professor Grossman received the Simón Bolívar Award from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in recognition of his lifetime achievements in promoting human rights, and the Charles Norberg International Lawyer of the Year Award from the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Inter-American Bar Association. In 2009, the government of the Netherlands awarded Professor Grossman the decoration of Orange Nassau in the grade of "Commendeur". In 2010, Professor Grossman received the Henry W. Edgerton Civil Liberties Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of the National Capital Area in recognition of exceptional lifetime achievements related to the advancement and defense of human rights and civil liberties. In 2011, he was awarded the decoration of "Orden de la Justicia" from the government of Colombia in recognition of his career. In 2012, Professor Grossman received the Deborah L. Rhode Award from the AALS Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities for his work on behalf of pro bono and public interest programs throughout the country, a Doctor Honoris Causa honorary degree from the Universidad de San Martin de Porres in Perufor his outstanding academic and professional trajectory in defending human rights, the Lifetime Leadership Award from the Hispanic National Bar Foundation, and the Leadership Award from the Maryland Hispanic Bar Association. In 2015, Professor Grossman was awarded an Honoris Causa honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Fairleigh Dickinson for his commitment to international law, human rights and education.

Professor Grossman is the author of numerous publications regarding international law, international organizations and human rights. For a complete listing, see Professor Grossman’s CV.

Degrees & Universities

  • Doctor in de Rechtsgeleerdheid (Doctor of the Science of Law), The University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands 1980
  • Licenciado en Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales, The University of Chile Law School, Santiago, Chile 1971 (summa cum laude)