A Passion for Global Human Rights

After leading Suffolk Law’s Ukrainian Accountability Project, new graduate vows to continue international human rights work
Buffalo native Alexandra Lane, JD ’24, has been committed to international human rights campaigns since high school.

Buffalo native Alexandra Lane, JD ’24, has been committed to international human rights campaigns since high school.

Buffalo native Alexandra Lane, JD ’24, has been committed to international human rights campaigns since high school.

For years, she followed and contributed to the work of the Global Accountability Network (GAN), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring justice to victims of atrocity crimes worldwide, with dedicated legal research programs focused on Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, the Pacific Rim, and elsewhere.

But when she got to Suffolk Law, a very special opportunity arose: the chance to contribute to what is now the Ukraine Accountability Project (UAP), and serve as its executive director.

Lane graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2019, and went to Kyrgyzstan to teach English as a Peace Corps volunteer. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic cut her time short, and she was evacuated stateside after just eight months.

In the months before pandemic restrictions were lifted, she worked for the Academy for Human Rights in Buffalo and the Educators’ Institute for Human Rights. Knowing law school was her next destination, she went looking for a school where she could focus on international human rights and humanitarian law. Suffolk Law caught her eye at a graduate school fair not only for its international law concentration and downtown Boston location, but also for its collegiality.

“It was a smaller community where I knew I would be able to develop relationships with professors,” she says. “It was very easy to fall into place here at Suffolk, to become close to faculty members who so clearly want you to succeed.”

Law school may have a reputation for being cutthroat and competitive, but Lane instantly sensed a difference at Suffolk Law. “The students kind of have more of a sense of camaraderie—either ‘This kind of stinks right now,’ or ‘This is really exciting.’ Like we were all in it together.”

A deep thinker who makes a difference

GAN’s effort to hold President Vladimir Putin accountable for atrocities perpetrated by the Russian forces in Ukraine initially consisted of a small task force headquartered at Syracuse University.

Lane became a volunteer researcher, and together with Suffolk Law student Mia Bonardi, JD ’22, she successfully helped advocate to make it a full-status Global Accountability Project, headquartered at Suffolk Law.

Over the past three semesters as executive director, Lane has formalized the UAP’s organizational structure, produced several white papers, engaged more than 60 law student volunteers across the country, and maintained a partnership with the Ukrainian Bar Association.

Law School faculty were extremely supportive of the UAP from the start, says Lane, offering particular praise for Professor Sara Dillon.

“She has been just the biggest advocate for every single student who comes to her classroom or office,” ready to help them find their place and topic, or funding for a project. “She wants to find every potential opportunity to enable students to succeed.”

In addition to leading the UAP, Lane served as a student attorney in Suffolk’s Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Clinic with Professor Nicole Friedrichs, worked as an intern at both the Jackson Center and Synergy for Justice headed by Christy Fujio, JD ’08, as well as an immigrants rights center in Dublin, Ireland.

Following graduation, Lane is now studying for the Bar Exam, and hopes to eventually to move to Washington, DC and work with the US State Department, USAID, or another department or agency that works on humanitarian law policy.

Her mentor, Professor Dillion, is certain that Lane will make a significant impact in the field of international humanitarian law in the years to come.

“Allie is a star—a kind, modest person and a deep thinker,” says Dillon. “She is going to be a great public-interest lawyer.”


Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs

Erica Noonan
Office of Public Affairs