Below you will find short biographies of our Fellows.

Stephanie de Sousa Vieira

Bild von Stephanie de Sousa Vieira ©Stephanie de Sousa Vieira
Stephanie de Sousa Vieira

My name is Stephanie and I am from Fortaleza, Brazil. I have always had a passion for law and the environment, thanks to my upbringing and personal experiences in my home country, as I like to be constantly in contact with nature, going to beaches, mountains, and forests.

After earning my undergraduate degree in Law from Ari de Sá College in Fortaleza, Brazil, in 2020, I then went on to earn a Master's degree in Law from the Federal University of Ceará - Brazil in 2023, with a scholarship from the Ceará Scientific and Technological Development Foundation (FUNCAP). I believed this would help me achieve my goal of deepening my knowledge of Law, developing research skills and critical insights, as well as contributing to an academic career.

I also became a researcher for the Jean Monnet Module - Global Governance on Cross-Border Pollution. This outlines the European Green Deal and its influence in Brazil. In addition, I am a Director of the International Law and Environmental division of the Study Group on Law and International Affairs at the Federal University of Ceará. Furthermore, for a period of time in 2023, I assumed a position as a substitute professor at Ari de Sá College, giving classes on Human Rights and the General Theory of Law.

Lastly, I am starting to conduct research on "Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence in European Law: Extraterritorial Effects on Brazilian Environmental Protection" for my PhD degree in Law and Transformation of the Joachim Herz Doctoral School at Leuphana University Lüneburg. I intend to analyze the possible repercussions of a European directive on due diligence in the Brazilian legal framework regarding business and human rights. In this way, my research focuses are on EU and Brazilian Law, International Law, Human Rights and Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainable Development.

Johannes Ipsen

[Translate to Englisch:] Johannes Ipsen ©Johannes Ipsen
Johannes Ipsen

Johannes Ipsen studied law in Hamburg and passed the first state examination in 2023. During his studies he specialized in maritime law (including private maritime law as well as public international law with a focus on the international law of the sea). Apart from his research activity at the Joachim-Herz-Doctoral School of Law he currently acts as a research assistant at the chair of Prof. Dr. Claudia Schubert (chair for civil law, labour law, corporate law and comparative law) at the University of Hamburg.

His research interests lie, among aspects of general international and European Union law, in the international law of the sea as well as selected issues in the private law sector (e.g., transport law, maritime law, labour law).

He writes his doctoral thesis with the working title ‘The Protection of Submarine Cables under International Law’ under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Valentin Schatz. The thesis examines relevant regulations on the international law level for the protection of submarine cables focusing on the international law of the sea as well as selected domestic (criminal) law approaches aiming at protecting submarine cables. It intends (inter alia) to identify gaps and insufficiencies in the international and national legal frameworks that should be addressed to ensure an effective protection of submarine cables.

Bengt Johannsen

Bengt Johannsen ©Bengt Johannsen
Bengt Johannsen

Bengt Johannsen, born in Kiel, decided to study law at the renowned Bucerius Law School in Hamburg after graduating from school in 2016. During his studies, he specialized in capital and corporate law and actively participated in various election-related events on socio-political topics. In addition, he was involved in several university groups, including the UNICEF university group. His social engagement also led him to the political youth organization and to a board position at the university level. In 2022, Bengt was able to successfully complete his first state exam.

After graduation, Bengt worked as a research assistant in the field of litigation at NEUWERK and White & Case LLP. Since April 2023, he has been devoting himself to a promising doctoral thesis with the working title "Law and Legal Protection in the Climate Crisis - a critical review on legal basis", supervised by Prof. Bäumler. The research focuses in particular on access to legal protection and legal reasoning in the context of climate change, both at the level of private law and public law. A particular focus is on the (potential) influence of legal protection on social change. He is a  fellow of the Joachim Herz Doctoral School since October 2023.

In addition to his PhD, Bengt is volunteering at GermanZero on the project "Mapping Zero" as well as on a political level.

Gülce Korkmaz

Bild von Gülce Korkmaz ©Gülce Kormaz
Gülce Korkmaz

My name is Gülce, and I’m from Türkiye. My research interests lie in corporate and commercial law, especially competition law and its transformation. I am a part of Prof. Dr. Jörg Philipp Terhechte’s research team, focusing on the Neo-Brandeis movement (hipster antitrust) for my Ph.D. project.

To provide a brief background of my journey, after earning my LL.B. degree in 2016 from Bilkent University Faculty of Law in Ankara, I worked as a competition attorney until 2019 at two leading competition law firms. I have experience in representing multinational companies (such as Google, Philips, Tesco, Booking.com) before the Turkish Competition Authority, in providing competition law advice to global clients (Amazon, JTI, and eBay), and in filing merger control notifications of international M&A transactions (Disney/21st Century Fox and Bayer/Monsanto, etc.).

While working as an attorney, I published two peer-reviewed academic articles on EU competition law’s reflections in the Turkish competition law practice, and in the meantime, I realized that I strongly desire to follow my research interests. I followed my desire and got admitted to the Corporate and Commercial Law Department of Bilkent University Faculty of Law as a research assistant and a full-merit scholar. I obtained my LL.M. degree in 2022. In my LL.M. thesis, I focused on the M&As realized in corporate groups from the viewpoint of the concept of “control” with its different meanings in Turkish, Swiss, and German corporate and competition law doctrines. Besides, I attended symposia and published peer-reviewed articles on EU and Turkish commercial law, particularly competition law. I have several academic articles published in refereed journals and books and served as co-editor of a Liber Amicorum book.

I am a literature lover and am also interested in psychology and behavioral economics. My favorite places are bookstores!

Julia Matthäus

Julia Matthäus ©Julia Matthäus
Julia Matthäus

Julia Matthäus studied law at the Philipps University in Marburg and spent two semesters at the Faculté Jean Monnet in Paris. Her focus in law studies was on the study of European legal sources and their implementation in national law.
After her studies, she worked as a research assistant at a chair for labor law and international business law and completed her legal clerkship at the Higher Regional Court of Hamm.

During her legal clerkship, she mainly focused on labor law, in particular with regard to data protection and co-determination obligations to be observed on the entrepreneurial side. In addition to her PhD at Leuphana University, she continues to pursue her part-time work as a legal assistant in an internationally active commercial law firm.

Her research thesis is supervised by Prof. Dr. Terhechte (link) and investigates current developments in antitrust law, in particular the impact of the EU Digital Markets Act, which came into force in November 2022, and the expected enforcement strategy in Germany.

Katrin Müller

Katrin studied law and English language and literature at Ludwig Maximilian University Munich and holds degrees in both subjects. During her studies, she specialised in corporate and capital markets law as well as public international law and spent a year as an exchange student at University College London (Faculty of Laws).

After her studies, she completed her legal training (Referendariat) in the Rhineland. During this time, she worked – inter alia – at the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Action and at an international law firm in Dusseldorf and in Singapore. Her practice has focused on national and international corporate and finance law.

Katrin’s research interests lie at the intersection of law and society as well as law and language. She is particularly interested in (private) legal theory, private law and corporate law. Studying and working across three jurisdictions sparked her interest in comparative law – specifically what happens when laws from different jurisdictions cross over, touch at the borders and begin to overlap. Coming from an interdisciplinary education, she occasionally dabbles in legal linguistics, with a focus on European legal linguistics.

As a Joachim Herz fellow, Katrin pursues a PhD in private legal theory and EU law. In her PhD project (working title: “Legal Transplants and Terminological Differences in Implementing EU Directives”), she aims to examine inhowfar legal transplant theory can be applied (and refined) within an EU context. The project is aimed at clarifying both whether legal transplantation occurs in EU law at all and how EU law multilingualism impacts potential transplantation processes.

Saumya Raval

Raval, Saumya ©Saumya Raval
Saumya Raval

Saumya Raval is a dedicated doctoral candidate in Law and Transformation at the Joachim Herz Doctoral School, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany. His research centres on the critical intersection of Business, Human Rights, and Governance, with a particular focus on sustainability within Global Value Chains. Born in Ahmedabad (Gujarat, India), Saumya embarked on a global academic journey after graduating with a Bachelor's in Social Work and Law (B.S.W. LL.B. (Hons.)) from Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar, India. He further enriched his educational experience through an exchange program at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia. As the Master's Distinction Scholar, he earned his Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Human Rights from the Central European University in Vienna, Austria on a full scholarship.

Complementing Saumya's academic prowess is his diverse professional background, marked by a strong commitment to public policy. As a Legislative Assistant to a Member of Parliament (LAMP) Fellow in New Delhi, he gained unique insights into intricate legislative processes and contributed to key national policy matters in the Parliament of India. Following this, in his role as an Associate Manager (Legal, Policy, and Compliance) at Hindustan Zinc Ltd, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources UK, Saumya delved into the complexities of compliance, due diligence, and corporate responsibility for one of the largest mining corporations.

Saumya's doctoral research delves into the profound implications of European Human Rights and Environment Due Diligence Laws on the informal sector in the Global South. His presence at Leuphana University Lüneburg promises to deepen our understanding of the intricate dynamics between business and human rights. Saumya's unwavering commitment to effecting positive change is poised to leave a lasting impact on the field of Law and Transformation, further enriching the academic community and advancing knowledge in the realm of global sustainability.

Maren Solmecke

Maren Solmecke ©Maren Solmecke
Maren Solmecke

Maren Solmecke studied law at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany and Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, graduating in summer 2023. The focus during her studies was on economic and infrastructure administration law as well as constitutional law and legal theory due to her occupation as a student assistant in this field for five years. For the past year she has been working as a lecturer on legal methodology and administrative law for the public administration of the city Essen.

All through her studies she’s been an active part of the climate justice movement, engaging in projects on providing climate education and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at schools and universities as well as being a spokesperson for Students for Future Germany and various campaigns for two years.

Combining her professional career with her political work, she began to look more closely at law as a transformative force in addressing the climate crisis in politics and society, including participation in Green Legal Impact's Green Legal Lab on strategic climate litigation.

As her research is dedicated to tackling legal problems revolving around the climate crisis, her PhD project examines the issues around an UN loss and damage fund as determined by the UNFCCC parties at COP 27 in 2022 under the supervision of Jun.-Prof. Dr. Alexander Stark. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, it addresses the problems of implementing and enforcing such a fund, such as financing methods, damage provision, correlation with adaptation programs, and legal enforceability of voluntary commitments.

Klara Westerlage

Klara Westerlage ©Klara Westerlage
Klara Westerlage

Klara Westerlage joined the Joachim Herz Doctoral School of Law as a Fellow in October 2023. As part of her Ph.D. project, she conducts research on the legal phenomenon of Strategic Litigation, focussing in particular on Strategic Litigation at the German Federal Constitutional Court. Her other fields of interest include constitutional law, comparative constitutional law as well as public international law. In addition to her research, she acts as a research assistant at the chair of her supervisor Prof. Dr. Till Patrik Holterhus MLE. LL.M. (Yale) (Chair for Constitutional and Administrative Law, International Public Law and Comparative Law).


Before joining the Joachim Herz Doctoral School of Law, she studied law at Universität Osnabrück, Germany and Universitá degli Studi di Firenze, Italy and graduated in August 2023.