Contact LL.M.

General Inquiries

For general inquiries about the LL.M. Program,
please email LLM@law.utexas.edu.

For general inquiries about Texas Law’s incoming exchange program for international law students,
please email IncomingExchange@law.utexas.edu.

For general inquiries about Texas Law’s outgoing exchange program for Texas Law J.D. students,
please email OutgoingExchange@law.utexas.edu.

Graduate & International Programs Team

Professor Lauren Fielder, J.D., LL.M. (’07), Ph.D.

Assistant Dean for Graduate & International Programs

Email

512.232.1217

Professor Lauren Fielder serves as Assistant Dean for Graduate & International Programs at The University of Texas School of Law. In this role, she oversees the LL.M. Program as well as exchange, international, and study abroad programs at the School of Law. Additionally, she is the Director of the Institute for Transnational Law, which coordinates the School of Law’s programs, resources, and events on international and comparative law. Professor Fielder also teaches courses on international and constitutional law and is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on African law and policy, gender and customary law, and religion as empowerment among other topics. A frequent speaker all over the world, Professor Fielder is committed to shaping the landscape of international and constitutional law. She holds a Ph.D. in Law from the University of Luzern. Her dissertation explores the internationalization of African constitutional law.

Professor Fielder has been teaching international and constitutional law across Texas, the United States, and the world since 2005. At The University of Texas School of Law, she teaches courses on African law, art and intellectual property law, comparative constitutional law, family law in comparative and international perspective, and international human rights law. Professor Fielder also serves as visiting professor of law at Kuwait International Law School and Brooklyn Law School. At KILAW, she has taught international human rights and environmental law as well as research methods for scholarly writing. At Brooklyn Law School, she has taught courses on African law, comparative constitutional law, comparative law, and international human rights, among others.

As a member of the permanent law faculty at The University of Texas School of Law, Professor Fielder is producing cutting-edge research and influencing the development of the law and of societies around the world. In spring 2018, the Texas International Law Journal published Dean Fielder’s article on the human rights implications of BREXIT. She has also published numerous articles, book chapters, and edited volumes on topics relevant to international and constitutional law, including the internationalization of constitutional law and transnational law and human rights. Dean Fielder also has two books on African Law under contract with Carolina Academic Press.

Prior to joining The University of Texas School of Law, Professor Fielder served as Assistant Director of the Transnational Legal Studies Program in the Faculty of Law at the University of Luzern. She was also an Assistant Professor of Law and taught courses international litigation, transnational litigation, United States constitutional law and the death penalty.

Professor Fielder received her J.D. with Honors from the University of Tulsa College of Law in 2001. She served as senior articles editor for the Tulsa Law Journal and was honored with the Order of the Curule Chair. In 2007, she also earned her LL.M. in Latin American and International Law from The University of Texas School of Law. Professor Fielder serves as chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on International Legal Exchange and treasurer of the Association of American Law Schools Section on North American Cooperation. She is also immediate past chair of the Association of American Law Schools Graduate Programs for Non-U.S. Lawyers.

She lives in Austin, Texas, and is the mother of five sons.

Dr. iur. Carly M. Toepke, J.D.

Assistant Director of Graduate & International Programs

Email

512.232.2042

Dr. iur. Carly Toepke, J.D., joined Texas Law in June 2015. As a lecturer, she teaches the courses Legal Research and Writing and Professional Responsibilities for the LL.M. Program.

As Assistant Director she manages the Texas Law’s LL.M. and Exchange Programs and acts as the academic advisor to the incoming students. She also directs the LL.M. bar exam success program and coaches moot court.

Prior to relocating to Austin, Toepke researched disability human rights law as a Marie Curie Research Fellow and taught Lawyering Skills at the University of Lucerne in Lucerne, Switzerland, and the Swiss Paraplegic Research in Nottwil, Switzerland, from 2011 to 2015. This research brought her in touch with lawyers and academics from all over the world working in the human rights realm.

In 2016, she completed her doctoral degree cum laude at the University of Lucerne, Faculty of Law, on the right to inclusive education for children with disabilities as established in international law. This work gave guidance to member states of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on how to meet the legal standards for learners with disabilities.

Toepke earned her J.D. from The University of Illinois Chicago School of Law. While earning her J.D., she studied abroad at the University of Lucerne. This experience is what sparked her journey into the Human Rights Law field and passion for educational exchange. She is passionate about her work with international students at Texas Law.

She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and is a member of the American Bar Association and International Law Section, the Illinois Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, ILEAC, the Global Leadership League, and NAFSA.

Toepke received her bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and German from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Professor Kevin Haynes, J.D.

Assistant Director for Community Engagement

Email

512.475-9102

Kevin Haynes currently teaches Contracts and Business Associations in the LL.M. Program at The University of Texas School of Law.

A graduate of Rice University and Stanford Law School, Kevin taught for many years at the University of North Carolina School of Law, and was a visiting professor at the law schools of Duke University, the University of Missouri, Seattle University, and American University. Before law teaching, Kevin was a transactional lawyer in Silicon Valley, California, and in the Research Triangle Park, in North Carolina, representing tech and biotech startups and corporate and financial sector clients.

Before he started teaching law school, Kevin was a Ph.D. candidate in English at Duke University, studying nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American literature (Kevin’s first-year Property and Contracts students have this to thank for being forced to read Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” with him). Kevin also sits on the boards of Vivent Health, a national nonprofit providing comprehensive healthcare to people living with HIV, and Equality Texas, a statewide political advocacy organization that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, and, in 2020, was appointed by the Dean to represent the Law School on the University’s Council for LGBTQ+ Access, Equity, and Inclusion.

Photo of Natalie Shields smiling outside

Natalie Shields, LL.B., LL.M. (’19)

Senior Admissions Coordinator

Email

512.475.9328

Natalie Shields serves as the Senior Admissions Coordinator as well as the Assistant Director of the Institute for Transnational Law for Graduate and International Programs. In her role, she plays a pivotal role in overseeing all admissions procedures for the LL.M. and exchange programs, making her the primary point of contact for prospective students and guiding them through the admissions process with utmost care and expertise.

Natalie’s academic journey began with her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from The University of Exeter in England, which she earned in 2011. Recognizing the importance of expanding her legal knowledge and gaining exposure to different legal systems, she pursued further education and completed her LL.M. degree at The University of Texas, School of Law in 2019. This additional qualification has equipped her with a deeper understanding of legal principles and further developed her expertise in the field.

Originally from London, England, Natalie made the vibrant city of Austin, Texas her home in 2014. Prior to her current role, she accumulated valuable experience by working in prestigious law firms as well as technology companies, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. This professional background has provided her with a comprehensive understanding of legal practices and the intersection of law and technology.

An additional asset that Natalie possesses is her fluency in Polish, enabling her to effectively communicate with individuals from Polish-speaking backgrounds. This language proficiency fosters inclusivity and facilitates meaningful connections with a wider range of students and professionals.

Natalie’s international background and her inherent passion for travel have shaped her perspective and enabled her to appreciate different cultures and global viewpoints. This global mindset permeates her work, allowing her to approach challenges and opportunities with a broad perspective and sensitivity to students’ needs.

With her well-rounded academic background, extensive experience, linguistic abilities, and global mindset, Natalie Shields excels in her role as the Senior Admissions Coordinator. Her dedication, professionalism, and commitment to providing exceptional support to students embarking on their educational journey make her an invaluable asset to the Graduate and International Program.

Picture of Sarah Vela, smiling with arms crossed.

Sarah Vela

Program Coordinator

Email

512.232.1175

As program coordinator, Sarah assists the Graduate and International Programs office with planning events, answering student questions, coordinating appointments for students with Assistant Dean Fielder, and handling other tasks for the office.

A Texas native, Sarah lived in Nashville, Tennessee, and West Palm Beach, Florida, before making a return to Austin. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, reading, and painting board game figures. Sarah has one daughter.