Elena Baylis

Professor of Law


Professor Elena Baylis is an expert in post-conflict justice. Her scholarship focuses on the intersections between international criminal law and rule of law initiatives, the role of transnational networks, and the interactions between international, national, and sub-national institutions and communities. Her recent research has concerned the new wave of hybrid courts; she served as an expert and primary drafter for the Dakar Guidelines on the Establishment of Hybrid Courts. She has conducted field research and worked on legal education/rule of law initiatives in several post-conflict states, including Kosovo, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her research has been commissioned by the International Center for Transitional Justice and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Professor Baylis also studies U.S. law and policy issues. As in the international context, her domestic research concerns the points of engagement between international, national and local actors. She has published papers on U.S. national security, immigration, and education policy, as well as on the marriage equality litigation.

Professor Baylis has a joint appointment with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and is the Director of the Semester in DC Program, in which she teaches Law and GSPIA students. Her courses leverage our Washington, DC office by involving Washington-based practitioners to discuss law and policy-making processes and to mentor participating students. Professor Baylis’s teaching combines elements of experiential learning with on-line and distance learning technologies and in-class simulations and exercises. 

Before joining the University of Pittsburgh, Professor Baylis taught at Mekelle University Law Faculty in Ethiopia as a Visiting Assistant Professor from the University of Alabama Law School. She also practiced civil litigation and advised clients on foreign policy matters with Shea & Gardner in Washington, D.C. and clerked for Judge Mariana Pfalezer of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Professor Baylis is a graduate of Yale Law School, where she was awarded the Raphael Lemkin Prize for the best paper on international human rights. She earned her B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Oregon Honors College.

Key/Recent Publications

Other Activities

  • Vice Chair, Rule of Law, American Bar Association International Law Section
  • Secretary, International Criminal Law Interest Group, American Society of International Law
  • Advisory Trustee, Brother’s Brother Foundation
  • Advisory Council Member, Brother’s Brother of the National Capital Area
  • Consultant, International Center for Transitional Justice (2015-16)
  • Co-Investigator, competitively awarded grant to support interdisciplinary gender and violence research, Integrative Social Science Research Initiative, University of Pittsburgh (2015–16)
  • Principal Investigator, Annual Grant for research on post-conflict justice networks, U.S. Institute of Peace (2009)
  • Organizer, Socio-Legal Methods in International Law Workshop (2008)
  • Participant, Immigration and Security Initiative, University of Pittsburgh and Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (Sciences-Po) (2005-06)


Programs & Courses