The 2024 Arlin & Neysa Adams Lectureship International Law and Cyberspace: Building Consensus

Presented by Richard C. Visek, Acting Legal Adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 

4:00 PM 

Shusterman Hall 

Reception to Follow 


The 2024 Arlin and Neysa Adams Lecture will feature remarks by Richard C. Visek, Acting Legal Adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser, at the US Department of State, who will be discussing developments in States’ common understandings of how international law applies in cyberspace. Since then-Legal Adviser Harold Koh first offered remarks on this topic in 2012, dozens of States have come forward with their own “national” positions to explore not just whether international law applies to State and State-sponsored behavior online, but how it does so vis-à-vis key issues like the prohibition on the use of force, the duty of non-intervention, the laws of armed conflict, and international human rights. Mr. Visek’s speech will offer reflections on the growing international consensus regarding what international law requires, prohibits, and permits States to do online. With incidents such as ransomware, foreign election interference, and threats of cyber-attacks destabilizing critical infrastructure rising across the globe, it is important for the rule of law that States communicate clearly what they understand the relevant rules will be and how existing international law can protect people from the harms of State and State-sponsored cyber-operations while also ensuring the Internet remains open, safe, secure, and rights-respecting. These remarks, which will be an official statement of the United States government, will be published in the Temple Law Review.



Richard C. Visek

Acting Legal Adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State

Richard C. Visek joined the Department of State’s Office of the Legal Adviser in 1999 and became a Deputy Legal Adviser in 2011 and the Principal Deputy Legal Adviser in 2016. He first served as the Department’s Acting Legal Adviser from January 2017-January 2018 and has been serving in that role again since January 21, 2021. He also serves as the Department’s Designated Agency Ethics Official.  He previously served as the Assistant Legal Adviser for European and Eurasian Affairs and as the Assistant Legal Adviser for Employment Law. Prior to being promoted into the Senior Executive Service, he served in State Department offices advising on issues related to law enforcement and intelligence, appropriations, and legislation. Before joining the Office of the Legal Adviser, Mr. Visek worked at the U.S. Department of Justice and at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson in Washington, DC. He has taught courses in law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC and at Tartu University in Estonia. Over the course of his career, Mr. Visek has received numerous awards, including two Distinguished and one Meritorious Presidential Rank Awards, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. He received his BA from Stanford University, JD from Georgetown University, and LLM from Cambridge University.