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Minerva LAW Network


  • Victoria Barnes / Frankfurt 
  • Amber Rose Maggio / Frankfurt
  • Alice Margaria / Halle 
  • Lily Martinet / Luxembourg 
  • Ezgi Özlü / Luxembourg 
  • Kritika Sharma / Luxembourg 
  • Jennifer Trinks / Hamburg 
  • Zeynep Yazici Caglar / Frankfurt 
  • Sarah Zimmermann / Frankfurt 

The Minerva LAW Network intends to speak to those researchers who have legal training, are undertaking legal research, and are thinking of pursuing a career in law, broadly defined. The remit of the network includes the traditional professional model: entering the legal profession and becoming a fully qualified lawyer according to standards and training of the jurisdiction. Yet, there are other pathways too, including a career in a law faculty or school in a university setting. Employers outside of higher education also seek to recruit those with legal training. Government bodies and policy-makers rely on legal research; journalism, publishing and recruitment are also high profile alternative careers. There are also career paths in the supra- or international civil service or for a variety of non-governmental organisations. Minerva LAW Network will act as a focal point to discuss pertinent issues, such as how to gain entry level positions, strategies for career advancement and barriers to progression, as well as other matters relating to gender and the law. It will bring female legal researchers in the Max Planck Society together with leaders in order to spark innovative and engaging discussions about career development.


Anuscheh Farahat on Solidarity in Academia

Online lecture

14th December 1pm CET

Academic careers are often described as very competitive, stressful and challenging on a personal level. However, what brought us all to academia was perhaps more the fun of research, teaching and intellectual exchange rather than mere ambition. The core question therefore is: Can we have it both: fun and success? I suggest that we can, indeed. We need to build our own structures of solidarity in academia. Even in a competitive environment it is possible to make friends, to act in a spirit of solidarity and to support each other effectively. In my talk, I will share my own experience with solidarity in academia and present a few simple techniques and formats that might help to build a network of solidarity in particular among young researcher.

Anuscheh Farahat is a Professor of Public Law, Migration Law and Human Rights Law at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. She studied law in Frankfurt, Paris and Berkeley and she was a research fellow (2006 – 2009) and a senior research fellow (2014 – 2017) at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, where she now is a Senior Research Affiliate.

Professor Farahat received her PhD in law from the Goethe University Frankfurt. Her book on migrant citizenship and transnational migration in Germany (Progressive Inklusion: Zugehörigkeit und Teilhabe im Migrationsrecht, Springer Verlag, 2014) has received multiple awards, including the Herman-Mosler-Preis 2015 of the German Society of International Law. Since 2017 she leads an Emmy-Noether research group on the role of constitutional courts in transnational solidarity conflicts in Europe first at Goethe University Frankfurt a.M. and now at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. The research project is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). She publishes widely on issues of European and German constitutional law, German and international migration and citizenship law, international Human Rights Law and comparative constitutionalism.
Register here

Past Events

29 Jan 2021, Three Leading Book Publishers


Ann-Christin Maak-Scherpe is the Publisher and General Manager at Intersentia.

Sinead Moloney is the Editorial Director and General Manager.

Tom Randall is a Commissioning Editor at Cambridge University Press.

26 Feb 2021, First Women Lawyers: A Pan-European Struggle

Online Lecture

Speaker: Lena Foljanty

Professor Dr Lena Foljanty is Professor of Globalisation and Legal Pluralism at the University of Vienna and the head of the Max Planck Research Group Translations and Transitions: Legal Practice in 19th Century Japan, China, and the Ottoman Empire at the Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory.  Together with Professor Dr Ulrike Lembke, she is the editor of Feminist Law: A Study Book. This is the standard work introducing gender and legal studies in the German language. It brings together historical and theoretical foundations as well as national and international approaches to gender and the law. Her talk will focus on legal history and the first women lawyers in Europe.

26 March 2021, Mentoring, Role Models and Opening Doors

Brown Bag Lunch with Anke Hübenthaan expert in supporting and coaching female scientists. She runs Minerva-FemmeNet.

29 April 2021, Women and International Law

A talk focusing on women and international law by Professor Hélène Ruiz Fabri, Director at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law. International Law incorporates concerns relating to women, whether to combat discrimination of which they are victims or to promote them as actors. It raises the issue of the interest and validity of an approach based on specificity and the identification of this specificity. A good example is gender balance in international adjudication. It also leads to consider the existence of feminist approaches regarding international law. Indeed, Hillary Charlesworth, Christine Chinkin, and Shelley Wright’s ground-breaking “Feminist Approaches to International Law” (published in the American Journal of International Law in 1991) already acknowledged the diversity of feminist approaches, all critical, but more or less radical. Therefore this raises the issue of the interest and validity of gendered approaches.

28 May 2021, Gender Equality Monitoring, Diverse Work and Research Culture

Ulla Weber, the Central Gender Equality Officer for the Max Planck Society talks informally over lunch about her experiences and ideas, gender and diversity in the Max Planck Society, various strategies and plans as well as their effectiveness.

30 June 2021, Women and the International Law Commission

Wed 30 June 11:00–12:00 CEST

In this panel session, the current and former women of the International Law Commission will discuss their experiences in the Commission and their work on the progressive development of international law and its codification.

The speakers will be:

Dr Nilüfer Oral is a member of the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) and Co-Chair of the ILC Study Group on Sea-Level Rise in relation to International Law. She is the Director of the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore. She served as a legal advisor to the Turkish Foreign Ministry on the law of the sea and climate change, and was a member of the Turkish delegation at the International Maritime Organization and in the climate change agreements from 2009 to 2016.

Professor Patrícia Galvão Teles has been member of the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) since 2017 and Auxiliary Professor of International Law at the Autonomous University of Lisbon since 2002. She is also member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration since 2016 and is currently Vice-President of the Portuguese Society for International Law. She is also Senior Legal Adviser on International Law at the Legal Department of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Professor Concepción Escobar-Hernández has been a Member of the International Law Commission since 2017. She holds a Chair in International Public Law from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Spain, and was a director of the International Legal Department of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation from 2004 to 2012.

Dr Marja Lehto is Ambassador and Senior Expert on International Law at the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She has been a member of the International Law Commission since 2017 and is the Special Rapporteur for the topic Protection of the environment in relation to armed conflicts. She has served formerly, inter alia, as Ambassador of Finland to Luxembourg, Director of the Unit for Public International Law, MFA, and Counsellor and Legal Adviser of Finland’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York.

Ambassador Marie Jacobsson is the Principal Legal Adviser on International Law at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She was a Member of the UN International Law Commission from 2007-2016 and appointed Special Rapporteur for the topic, Protection of the Environment in Relation to Armed Conflicts in 2013. Jacobsson has served at the Legal Department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs since 1987.

30 July 2021, Cornelia Weiss on Post-WWII Occupied Germany: Examining the Effect of a Male Majority Occupation on the Political Power, Legal Rights, and Economic Opportunities of Women in a Female Majority Land

Fri 30th July 12:00pm CEST


Cornelia Weiss, a former US colonel (Judge Advocate), served in Europe, the Americas, and the Pacific. The Colombian Public Forces recognized her work in Colombia by awarding her the Medalla al Mérito Militar en Derecho Humanos y Derecho Internacional Humanitario “General José Hilario López Valdés” and the Medalla Militar “Servicios Distinguidos a la Justicia Penal Militar.” Other honors received include the US Air Force Keenan Award for making the most notable contribution to the development of international law.

A graduate of the Inter-American Defense College, she holds a GED, an AA (Colorado Mountain College), a BA (University of Utah), an MA (ANEPE), and a JD (Vanderbilt). In addition to serving as a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, her fellowships include the Ian Axford Fellowship (New Zealand and Timor-Leste) and the Rotary Peace Fellowship (Thailand and Nepal).

By illuminating barriers and excavating forgotten history, she seeks answers to end discrimination against women. Her 2020 publications include “The Nineteenth Amendment and the U.S. ‘Women’s Emancipation Policy’ in Post-World War II Occupied Japan: Going Beyond Suffrage,” Akron Law Review; “Discrimination Against Women, Rule of Law and Culture of Peace: Colombia’s ‘Peace’ Agreement,” The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs; and “The State of Civil-Military Relations Education: Falling Short?,” Hemisferio.

8 October 2021, Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi on Gender, Women and Leadership at the International Criminal Court

Dr. Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi is a career diplomat and former International Criminal Court judge and president with over thirty years of experience in international criminal law, humanitarian and human rights law. Since February 2021, she has been serving as the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. She served as a judge of the ICC between 2010 and 2018, and as President of the ICC between 2015-2018. Prior to serving as a judge at the ICC she also worked in the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC between 2003-2006 as Chef de Cabinet and later as the first Director of the Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division (2003-2006).

She was involved in the creation, set up and functioning of the ICC in various capacities for most of her career. In this regard, between 1995-1998 she served as Vice President of the Ad Hoc Committee and the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of the ICC, which led to the Rome Conference. In 1998 at the Rome Conference she served as the Vice President of the Committee of the Whole (the negotiating forum) and President of the Working Group on criminal procedures. Between 2001-2002, within the Preparatory Commission of the ICC, Dr Fernández de Gurmendi served as President of the working group on the crime of aggression and as President of the ‘interlocutor mechanism’. The latter comprised a group of experts established to prepare the practical set up of the Court in coordination with the Netherlands, the host country.

This talk will focus on gender, women and leadership at the International Criminal Court. As President of the ICC, Dr Fernández de Gurmendi focused on promoting reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the institution. With a view to facilitating the evaluation of the activities of the Court and to increase efficiency, she developed both qualitative and quantitative performance indicators, to measure the activities of the Court in key sectors such as judicial proceedings, administration, security and access of victims to justice. As President she also oversaw a collective review of judicial proceedings by the judges, the development of an ICC case law database, and efforts to enhance court-wide cooperation.

8 October 2021, 12.00 CEST

Max Planck Law Projects and Max Planck Law Initiatives are grassroots  networking and cooperation formats. You are encouraged to submit a  proposal for one of these formats by completing the relevant on-line form. Further information on these and other forms of engaging the network can be found here.