Melissa Stewart

Associate - New York

Melissa Stewart
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Melissa Stewart is an associate in the firm’s International Litigation & Arbitration Department. She is a member of the United Nations Practice Group as well as the Corporate Social Responsibility Practice.

Melissa has represented States, private and State-owned entities, international corporate clients, and individuals in federal court as well as international courts and arbitral tribunals. She advises States on matters before the United Nations and its bodies. She has particular experience on law of the sea, international environmental law, treaty interpretation, international human rights, corporate social responsibility, international environmental law, and refugee law.

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  • Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, Master 2, LL.M., International Law, Global Governance Studies
  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., Global Law Scholar, Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies
  • Butler University, B.S., magna cum laude



Representative Experience

International Litigation and Arbitration 

  • Philippines v. China. Represented the Philippines in an arbitration pursuant to Annex VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea regarding maritime jurisdiction in the South China Sea. The Tribunal rejected China’s claim to “historic rights” in the maritime areas encompassed by its so-called “nine-dashed line” as inconsistent with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and found that China violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights under the Convention.
  • Case Concerning Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua). Conducted research on behalf of Nicaragua in its dispute with Costa Rica before the ICJ regarding Costa Rica’s construction of a road along the southern bank of the San Juan River without an environmental impact assessment. 

Commercial Litigation

  • Represents a French corporation in proceedings pending in U.S. federal court in connection with an action pending in Paris.

Pro Bono

  • Obtained relief from removal under the Convention Against Torture for a Haitian client in immigration detention.
  • Provided advice on international criminal law.
  • Negotiated agreements with various housing authorities for clients facing eviction.
  • Drafted an amicus brief for Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in a case concerning eyewitness identification.

Professional Experience

  • Research Assistant to the UN International Law Commission’s Special Rapporteur on the Protection of persons in the event of disasters.
  • Research Assistant to the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Alexander T. Aleinikoff.
  • Research Assistant to the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, Louis Michael Seidman.
  • Co-author, “International Migrants Bill of Rights,” 28 GEO. IMMIGR. L. J. 1 (2013).
  • Development in the International Field - “‘Rotting of the Flower’: Persecution of the Rohingya Threatens Myanmar’s Democratic Transition & Further Imperils the Right to a Nationality” 27 GEO. IMMIGR. L.J. 473 (2013).
  • Development in the International Field - “Holland Administration Continues Discriminatory Deportations of Roma in France,” 27 GEO. IMMIGR. L.J. 247 (2012).
  • Sixth report on the protection of persons in the event of disasters, submitted by the UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of persons in the event of disasters, UN Doc A/CN.4/662 (May 2013) (drafted sections, edited). 
  • Fifth report on the protection of persons in the event of disasters, submitted by the UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of persons in the event of disasters, UN Doc A/CN.4/652 (April 2012) (drafted sections, edited).

Foley Hoag Alerts & Updates


  • Public Policy and International Affairs Fellow
  • Georgetown University Law Center, Global Law Scholar
  • Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Article Selection Editor

Involvement - Professional

  • American Society of International Law, Member
  • International Migrants Bill of Rights, Steering Committee Member
  • Boston Bar Association, Member
  • Women’s Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Lex Mundi, Member

Involvement - Community

  • Violinist for the Wellesley Symphony Orchestra
  • Guest Lecturer, “Legal Perspectives on Humanitarian Assistance: An Introduction to Refugee Law, Human Rights Law, and International Humanitarian Law,” Humanitarian Response Intensive Course at the Humanitarian Academy at Harvard University
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Bar Admissions

  • Massachusetts