Lisa J. Laplante has been a dedicated advocate for human rights for over twenty years in a variety of roles, including as a practicing attorney, community organizer, law professor, and institutional leader. She currently serves as the Director of the Center for International Law and Policy (CILP) at New England Law | Boston, where she is also a law professor.
Lisa began her career in human rights in New York City as a Furman Fellow with Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (now Human Rights First). Soon after she relocated to Peru to spend half a decade immersed in the field of post-conflict reconstruction, beginning as a researcher with the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, having won a grant from the Notre Dame University Transitional Justice Program. She went on to co-found the Praxis Institute for Social Justice, where she served as deputy director and oversaw cutting-edge, empirical research funded by the Open Society Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Ford Foundation. Lisa also worked closely with associations of survivors as they sought reparations for harms caused by violations of their human rights. In her role as legal advisor, she helped these associations with their advocacy campaigns with the government well as with submitting claims to the Inter-American Human Rights System. These early experiences cultivated a deep commitment to ensuring the capacity building and empowerment of survivors, who often represent the most marginalized members of society.
Lisa has continued to dedicate herself to the work of developing frameworks and protocols to help survivors be fully active and engaged stakeholders when seeking a remedy through state and non-state grievance mechanisms. She has brought her focus to various roles since concluding her work in Peru, including as a passionate educator of future generations of lawyers as well as an internationally recognized expert whose scholarship enjoys a wide readership across the globe. Indeed, as a prize-winning scholar of some fifty publications, her work appears in both prestigious peer-reviewed journals as well as top law reviews including the Harvard Journal of International Law, the Yale Human Rights and Development Journal, the Virginia Journal of International Law, the Michigan Journal of International Law and the Cornell Journal of International Law, among others. Her contribution to the field led to an invitation to become a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton in 2008. As an internationally recognized expert on human rights, she is frequently invited to speak not only at academic conferences but also events hosted by governments, the United Nations, and business associations.
Her work on the theme of business and human rights began while a fellow at LCHR and became a primary focus in 2012-2013 while she served as the interim director of the University of Connecticut’s Thomas J. Dodd Research Center where she worked closely with Senator Christopher Dodd to establish business and human rights programming. She brought this vision to CILP, where she spearheaded cutting-edge projects, such as collaborating with partners in Colombia to assure a focus on businesses in its peace process. She also founded the Operational-level Grievance Mechanism Research Project in 2016 which is the only benchmark database project of its kind to track the development of OGMs, revealing significant trends and best practices. As a result, the database has been used by the United Nations, academics, NGOs, and other institutions involved in assuring effective non-judicial grievance mechanisms.
Lisa holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Public Merit Scholar. She also earned a master’s in education from the University of Massachusetts|Amherst and a B.A. from Brown University. She speaks English and Spanish.