Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

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buckiguy_sucks
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby buckiguy_sucks » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:49 am

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Last edited by buckiguy_sucks on Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Pragmatic Gun
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby Pragmatic Gun » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:06 am

Does either Cornell or Duke have a strong reputation with international NGOs? I'm not sure where their alumni end up working.

Also, are study abroad programs in law schook useful for networking?

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bretby
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby bretby » Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:27 pm

Advice would be greatly appreciated. A bit about me:

0L, though have been out of undergrad for some time. In the interim I earned a PhD in a HR related field and taught at a university for several years. Though I love teaching, I am eager to work in a more hands-on capacity doing policy for an IHR organization. I have language skills in French, German and Arabic in that order, but am planning on beefing them back up while in law school. I received a FLAS for Arabic in grad school, and was interested to learn that law students might also be eligible for FLAS.

I have been admitted to the following schools:

Harvard (waiting on aid)
Columbia (waiting on aid)
NYU (waiting on aid)
GW ($120,000)
Vanderbilt (full scholarship)
Fordham (full scholarship)
And I'm still waiting to hear from Yale and Chicago.

As an old who is committed to public interest work, I would like to minimize debt, but am also anxious to maximize my chances for the kind of work (IHR) that is taking me back to school.

I guess I'm just hoping for any and all advice: Where to go to school? How can I/ can I use my academic background and skills to help in the job search? What is most lacking in my background with regards to IHR jobs and what is the best way to fill that gap?

Thanks in advance!

Tswkb4
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby Tswkb4 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:01 am

This thread is fantastic. Thanks so much WT.

So I'm a 0L who's starting next year as an RTK at NYU. I want to get into IHR specifically focusing on LGBT communities (most interested in Africa/middle East). I have 2 years peace corps experience in sub Saharan Africa with some lgbt work and pretty extensive (3 years) volunteer HIV work (1 yr USA, 2 yrs. Africa). I have a couple questions.

1) What are the pros/cons of having such a specific scope of work that I'm pursuing? Will it help or hinder in job prospects after law school if I have a super tailored résumé for lgbt advocacy work in the developing world?

2) As I look at my 1L and 2L summers, I'm trying to decide if I want to pursue all foreign iternships, or do a mix of foreign and domestic. Domestically I'd be interested in working with lgbt asylum seekers. Internationally working with research on human rights violations in lgbt and HIV+ communities, or helping local groups like SMUG (Uganda) or HELEM (Lebanon) with advocacy strategy and legal support.

3) Earlier I noticed you mentioned semester long study abroads you would avoid, what's your reasoning behind that?

4) I want to learn a second language. I am mildly proffering at Spanish and conversational in an obscure local African language. I feel I really need French or Arabic. Do you think it's realistic to learn either of these during law school? I feel like Arabic would be more valuable, but French would probably be easier to master in the three years of school.

Thank you so much for sharing all of your insight!

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BlueLotus
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:22 am

Tswkb4 wrote:This thread is fantastic. Thanks so much WT.

So I'm a 0L who's starting next year as an RTK at NYU. I want to get into IHR specifically focusing on LGBT communities (most interested in Africa/middle East). I have 2 years peace corps experience in sub Saharan Africa with some lgbt work and pretty extensive (3 years) volunteer HIV work (1 yr USA, 2 yrs. Africa). I have a couple questions.

1) What are the pros/cons of having such a specific scope of work that I'm pursuing? Will it help or hinder in job prospects after law school if I have a super tailored résumé for lgbt advocacy work in the developing world?

2) As I look at my 1L and 2L summers, I'm trying to decide if I want to pursue all foreign iternships, or do a mix of foreign and domestic. Domestically I'd be interested in working with lgbt asylum seekers. Internationally working with research on human rights violations in lgbt and HIV+ communities, or helping local groups like SMUG (Uganda) or HELEM (Lebanon) with advocacy strategy and legal support.

3) Earlier I noticed you mentioned semester long study abroads you would avoid, what's your reasoning behind that?

4) I want to learn a second language. I am mildly proffering at Spanish and conversational in an obscure local African language. I feel I really need French or Arabic. Do you think it's realistic to learn either of these during law school? I feel like Arabic would be more valuable, but French would probably be easier to master in the three years of school.

Thank you so much for sharing all of your insight!


Does NYU law let you audit classes at their undergrad? That way as a 2L or 3L you could take French/Arabic classes at the undergrad along with your law classes. Given what's at stake 1L year, I would not recommend learning a new foreign language at that time--wait until 2L/3L year.

I would definitely recommend boosting your Spanish skills. That's a crucial asset to have even for domestic public interest employers (particularly PD/Legal Aid). Duolingo is free and excellent.

Immigration Equality is an excellent NYC-based domestic org to work for during the semesters. They offer immigration legal services to LGBT and HIV+ noncitizens escaping human rights violations in their home countries. http://www.immigrationequality.org/
A little pro bono work during 1L won't hurt, as long as you don't go overboard.

Tswkb4
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby Tswkb4 » Wed Apr 01, 2015 9:59 am

BlueLotus wrote: Does NYU law let you audit classes at their undergrad? That way as a 2L or 3L you could take French/Arabic classes at the undergrad along with your law classes. Given what's at stake 1L year, I would not recommend learning a new foreign language at that time--wait until 2L/3L year.

I would definitely recommend boosting your Spanish skills. That's a crucial asset to have even for domestic public interest employers (particularly PD/Legal Aid). Duolingo is free and excellent.

Immigration Equality is an excellent NYC-based domestic org to work for during the semesters. They offer immigration legal services to LGBT and HIV+ noncitizens escaping human rights violations in their home countries. http://www.immigrationequality.org/
A little pro bono work during 1L won't hurt, as long as you don't go overboard.


Thanks bluelotus for the response!

Yeah, NYU let's you take undergrad language classes. Since my tuition is covered under RTK, they should be free as well, but I'll take your advice and wait for 2L year for those.

One question about Spanish, does being proficient at Spanish help if you aren't fluent? It seems like the market is flooded with native and sub-native speakers. Since I don't really wanna work in South America or Central America, I didn't know if it was a waste of time or not to improve, when I know I'm a ways off from fluency.

Immigration equality looks like an awesome organization. Thanks for the tip!

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BlueLotus
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Apr 01, 2015 4:42 pm

Tswkb4 wrote:
BlueLotus wrote: Does NYU law let you audit classes at their undergrad? That way as a 2L or 3L you could take French/Arabic classes at the undergrad along with your law classes. Given what's at stake 1L year, I would not recommend learning a new foreign language at that time--wait until 2L/3L year.

I would definitely recommend boosting your Spanish skills. That's a crucial asset to have even for domestic public interest employers (particularly PD/Legal Aid). Duolingo is free and excellent.

Immigration Equality is an excellent NYC-based domestic org to work for during the semesters. They offer immigration legal services to LGBT and HIV+ noncitizens escaping human rights violations in their home countries. http://www.immigrationequality.org/
A little pro bono work during 1L won't hurt, as long as you don't go overboard.


Thanks bluelotus for the response!

Yeah, NYU let's you take undergrad language classes. Since my tuition is covered under RTK, they should be free as well, but I'll take your advice and wait for 2L year for those.

One question about Spanish, does being proficient at Spanish help if you aren't fluent? It seems like the market is flooded with native and sub-native speakers. Since I don't really wanna work in South America or Central America, I didn't know if it was a waste of time or not to improve, when I know I'm a ways off from fluency.

Immigration equality looks like an awesome organization. Thanks for the tip!


It's never a waste of time to improve your Spanish. Don't bank on getting an IHR job in Africa/ME, even from NYU. Given how competitive/prestige-hungry the field is, you need back-up options, like domestic public interest (which highly values Spanish fluency).

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worldtraveler
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:02 pm

Tswkb4 wrote:This thread is fantastic. Thanks so much WT.

So I'm a 0L who's starting next year as an RTK at NYU. I want to get into IHR specifically focusing on LGBT communities (most interested in Africa/middle East). I have 2 years peace corps experience in sub Saharan Africa with some lgbt work and pretty extensive (3 years) volunteer HIV work (1 yr USA, 2 yrs. Africa). I have a couple questions.

1) What are the pros/cons of having such a specific scope of work that I'm pursuing? Will it help or hinder in job prospects after law school if I have a super tailored résumé for lgbt advocacy work in the developing world?

2) As I look at my 1L and 2L summers, I'm trying to decide if I want to pursue all foreign iternships, or do a mix of foreign and domestic. Domestically I'd be interested in working with lgbt asylum seekers. Internationally working with research on human rights violations in lgbt and HIV+ communities, or helping local groups like SMUG (Uganda) or HELEM (Lebanon) with advocacy strategy and legal support.

3) Earlier I noticed you mentioned semester long study abroads you would avoid, what's your reasoning behind that?

4) I want to learn a second language. I am mildly proffering at Spanish and conversational in an obscure local African language. I feel I really need French or Arabic. Do you think it's realistic to learn either of these during law school? I feel like Arabic would be more valuable, but French would probably be easier to master in the three years of school.

Thank you so much for sharing all of your insight!


1. It's going to help provided you actually have the qualifications to do it. LGBT rights is kind of an "it" field right now in IHRL so there are a lot of fellowships for it and organizations covering it, but also a lot of applicants.

2. I'm kind of confused by this question and it makes me think you don't know quite what you're getting into. You want to go work with SMUG in Uganda? You know that the presence of foreigners with groups like that is a pretty bad idea and makes them bigger targets for homophobic violence, and so you're more likely to get somebody killed than be helpful? You might be able to work with an affiliate NGO (and believe me, every LGBT group in Africa already has about a billion offers of affiliation with NGOs in the developed world and gets a ton of support that way) but you can't really directly work with an LGBT rights group on the ground like that. IGLHRC, Heartland Alliance, Global Rights are probably where you want to look instead. Avoid ORAM like the plague.
As for domestic vs. foreign internships, do you want to be a field person or an office person in a NY or DC office? Or a mix of both doing asylum law here? That should determine where you do your summers. Although if you do want to be a fieldworkers doing LGBT rights in Africa, then how do you feel about people maybe trying to kill you. I'm being serious. I've worked directly on this issue in Africa, and a fair number of my coworkers are not around anymore.

3. What would be the purpose of a study abroad? It doesn't really accomplish much for your resume and it takes away chances to do clinics or other usefuly things at NYU.

4. There is no way you would learn any amount of useful Arabic during law school. It sounds like you'd be best off improving your Spanish because no one really cares about your Spanish skills unless you're fluent or close to it. French is incredibly useful but it's kind of late to get started on language skills for new languages, unless you can defer and go to Senegal for a year or something.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:04 pm

Pragmatic Gun wrote:Does either Cornell or Duke have a strong reputation with international NGOs? I'm not sure where their alumni end up working.

Also, are study abroad programs in law schook useful for networking?


Late response to this, but I've never met anyone from Cornell or Duke in the IHR field. I have no idea why that is. I don't think they place much in IGOs or NGOs but they're both great schools so it doesn't mean you couldn't get the job from that school.

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Apr 01, 2015 11:08 pm

bretby wrote:Advice would be greatly appreciated. A bit about me:

0L, though have been out of undergrad for some time. In the interim I earned a PhD in a HR related field and taught at a university for several years. Though I love teaching, I am eager to work in a more hands-on capacity doing policy for an IHR organization. I have language skills in French, German and Arabic in that order, but am planning on beefing them back up while in law school. I received a FLAS for Arabic in grad school, and was interested to learn that law students might also be eligible for FLAS.

I have been admitted to the following schools:

Harvard (waiting on aid)
Columbia (waiting on aid)
NYU (waiting on aid)
GW ($120,000)
Vanderbilt (full scholarship)
Fordham (full scholarship)
And I'm still waiting to hear from Yale and Chicago.

As an old who is committed to public interest work, I would like to minimize debt, but am also anxious to maximize my chances for the kind of work (IHR) that is taking me back to school.

I guess I'm just hoping for any and all advice: Where to go to school? How can I/ can I use my academic background and skills to help in the job search? What is most lacking in my background with regards to IHR jobs and what is the best way to fill that gap?

Thanks in advance!


I'm kind of confused by wanting hands-on work and then the policy work. Policy work has you sitting in an office all day and is pretty removed from actual problems, so it's kind of the definition of not hands-on. If you liked teaching I'm not sure you'd enjoy it, and maybe focusing on being more of a "know your rights" educator might be a better fit, unless there is some other reason you really want policy work.

Can't really give you advice on schools until you have all the financial info.

What exactly do you want to do in a job and why? What topics interest you? IHR jobs encompass a variety of types that often require different qualifications.

Tswkb4
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby Tswkb4 » Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:36 am

worldtraveler wrote:
Tswkb4 wrote:This thread is fantastic. Thanks so much WT.

So I'm a 0L who's starting next year as an RTK at NYU. I want to get into IHR specifically focusing on LGBT communities (most interested in Africa/middle East). I have 2 years peace corps experience in sub Saharan Africa with some lgbt work and pretty extensive (3 years) volunteer HIV work (1 yr USA, 2 yrs. Africa). I have a couple questions.

1) What are the pros/cons of having such a specific scope of work that I'm pursuing? Will it help or hinder in job prospects after law school if I have a super tailored résumé for lgbt advocacy work in the developing world?

2) As I look at my 1L and 2L summers, I'm trying to decide if I want to pursue all foreign iternships, or do a mix of foreign and domestic. Domestically I'd be interested in working with lgbt asylum seekers. Internationally working with research on human rights violations in lgbt and HIV+ communities, or helping local groups like SMUG (Uganda) or HELEM (Lebanon) with advocacy strategy and legal support.

3) Earlier I noticed you mentioned semester long study abroads you would avoid, what's your reasoning behind that?

4) I want to learn a second language. I am mildly proffering at Spanish and conversational in an obscure local African language. I feel I really need French or Arabic. Do you think it's realistic to learn either of these during law school? I feel like Arabic would be more valuable, but French would probably be easier to master in the three years of school.

Thank you so much for sharing all of your insight!


1. It's going to help provided you actually have the qualifications to do it. LGBT rights is kind of an "it" field right now in IHRL so there are a lot of fellowships for it and organizations covering it, but also a lot of applicants.

2. I'm kind of confused by this question and it makes me think you don't know quite what you're getting into. You want to go work with SMUG in Uganda? You know that the presence of foreigners with groups like that is a pretty bad idea and makes them bigger targets for homophobic violence, and so you're more likely to get somebody killed than be helpful? You might be able to work with an affiliate NGO (and believe me, every LGBT group in Africa already has about a billion offers of affiliation with NGOs in the developed world and gets a ton of support that way) but you can't really directly work with an LGBT rights group on the ground like that. IGLHRC, Heartland Alliance, Global Rights are probably where you want to look instead. Avoid ORAM like the plague.
As for domestic vs. foreign internships, do you want to be a field person or an office person in a NY or DC office? Or a mix of both doing asylum law here? That should determine where you do your summers. Although if you do want to be a fieldworkers doing LGBT rights in Africa, then how do you feel about people maybe trying to kill you. I'm being serious. I've worked directly on this issue in Africa, and a fair number of my coworkers are not around anymore.

3. What would be the purpose of a study abroad? It doesn't really accomplish much for your resume and it takes away chances to do clinics or other usefuly things at NYU.

4. There is no way you would learn any amount of useful Arabic during law school. It sounds like you'd be best off improving your Spanish because no one really cares about your Spanish skills unless you're fluent or close to it. French is incredibly useful but it's kind of late to get started on language skills for new languages, unless you can defer and go to Senegal for a year or something.


Thanks for your reply! Yeah, I've been lookin into heartland and IGLHRC, they both seems to be doing great work. What all is wrong with ORAM? I admittedly haven't heard about the organization before.

And yeah, I understand the risks (atleast in part). I've been threatened with arrest before in sub Saharan Africa and I have two degrees of separation to several activist who've been arrested and killed.

Thanks again for sharing valuable perspective.

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:46 pm

worldtraveler - thank you so very much for creating this and willing to answer our questions!

I am interested in international human rights, especially immigrant/refugee rights, ethnic violence, and violence against women. I also have a special interest in Eastern Europe/former Soviet Union region (I am from there and speak Russian).

I have a lot of expereince with local governments in NYC - AG's Office (human trafficking related work), DOL (immigrants, labor trafficking), DA's Office, etc. I also went to Columbia for undergrad and have some good relationships with interantional relations/law professors there. I would want to live in NYC after law school.

In addittion, there is a chance that I might eventually move to Europe in the fututre and I would like to work there in the area of immigrant rights (maybe Roma?) or Russia/Eastern Europe related area/organization. I am also learning French.

I have been admitted into Berkeley and have gotten some money from them ($23,000 and might be expecting more). Have been waitlisted by Columbia and still waiting to hear from NYU. Also, got into Cornell (with no scholarsips) and waitlisted by Georgetown.

At this point, I am strongly leaning towards Berkeley becuase I really loved it there when I went to ASW and I also want to minimize my debt, knowing how extremely hard it would be to get any/decently paid human rights job. However, if I get accepted by CLS or NYU (likely with little or no scholarship money - my LSAT is very low), do you think it's still worth it to chose them over Berekely becuase of better chances to find international law jobs, especially in NY?

My other concern is that Berekely, unlike CLS and NYU, seems to have more opportuntiies in human rights/international law work in South America and Asia, not so much in Europe and Easter Europe. Is this impression true?

Thank you so much in adavance!

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:24 pm

The thing is that with that little of a scholarship, you will be relying on PSLF/PAYE regardless of the debt. So honestly I'm not sure Berkeley's marginal savings would be worth it if you prefer NYC. However, I tend to think your career prospects would be pretty similar.

I think you're correct that the human rights center at berkeley and most clinical programs are not focused on europe. But I know that there are always russian speaking asylum seekers in the bay area and there may be some opportunities that develop once you're there, so I don't think that's too much of a drawback. You also have summers to do internships based on that specific area. Also when I was at Berkeley we had at least 4 or 5 native Russian speakers in each class, plus LLMs. You might find a community of people with similar interests.

I think the advantages NYU and CLS have over Berkeley or other peer schools in the human rights field are marginal. The big ones are that both NYU and CLS have a couple of school specific fellowships to to go human rights watch or other post grad opportunities. But like one person gets that anyway so I wouldn't make your decision based on that. There are also some advantages to being in NYC in terms of internships and connections, but the sf bay area also has a lot of NGOs as well, especially in LGBT and women's rights. If you like Berkeley I would say to go there. It sounds like you've got a pretty good background and solid interests.

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby AwesomeLawyer » Fri Apr 10, 2015 2:23 pm

worldtraveler wrote:The thing is that with that little of a scholarship, you will be relying on PSLF/PAYE regardless of the debt. So honestly I'm not sure Berkeley's marginal savings would be worth it if you prefer NYC. However, I tend to think your career prospects would be pretty similar.

I think you're correct that the human rights center at berkeley and most clinical programs are not focused on europe. But I know that there are always russian speaking asylum seekers in the bay area and there may be some opportunities that develop once you're there, so I don't think that's too much of a drawback. You also have summers to do internships based on that specific area. Also when I was at Berkeley we had at least 4 or 5 native Russian speakers in each class, plus LLMs. You might find a community of people with similar interests.

I think the advantages NYU and CLS have over Berkeley or other peer schools in the human rights field are marginal. The big ones are that both NYU and CLS have a couple of school specific fellowships to to go human rights watch or other post grad opportunities. But like one person gets that anyway so I wouldn't make your decision based on that. There are also some advantages to being in NYC in terms of internships and connections, but the sf bay area also has a lot of NGOs as well, especially in LGBT and women's rights. If you like Berkeley I would say to go there. It sounds like you've got a pretty good background and solid interests.


I really appreciate your answer! You are right in terms of PSLF/PAYE programs, although, psychologically, I guess, it feels better to know you are taking out less loans, even if they will be forgiven in 10 years. However, again, if I move to Europe in 3-4 years after graduation, I am not sure if I would still be able to qualify. Also, it might be hard to qaulify for the schools' LRAP, since, I beleive, many interantional human rights jobs might not necessarily require a JD (more like JD is a +). But this question should probably be addressed to a school's fiancial aid advisor.

I am also planning to come to NYC for summers and have internships there (my SO is satying in NYC), but I wonder if it will be harder to get interviews in NYC from CA.

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:33 pm

Are all IHR fellowships prestige-hungry? I am multilingual and have volunteered at NGOs abroad, but didn't attend a terribly high-ranked school.

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:48 pm

What are thoughts on the ICJ traineeship for US students (effectively a clerkship)?

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby eiranne » Wed Dec 09, 2015 1:34 pm

Where are people applying to that want to go into international human rights?

Manali
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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby Manali » Sun May 22, 2016 4:22 pm

worldtraveler, are direct services IHR groups less prestige-hungry than, say, ICTY, the Hauge, HRW, Amnesty, etc.?

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby cavalier1138 » Mon May 23, 2016 1:22 pm

worldtraveler- Thanks so much for creating this thread. I don't know how I've missed it before now, but this is awesome info. I hope I'm not asking questions that were brought up earlier, but I had a couple.

I'm going to NYU, and (performance pending), I'm debating the worth of applying for their joint LLM program. If I want to have the flexibility to practice abroad, is this a good idea? Or is it a better idea to look at potentially doing advanced study in that country instead?

When it comes to language skills, I'm (relatively) fluent in Italian, rusty in Spanish, and learning French, which is going quite quickly thanks to the Italian and Spanish. I know French is the most useful of the three, so I want to make sure I know how to focus my learning. Is it better to shoot for conversational fluency in French or to focus in on reading more legally-oriented material?

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby Manali » Mon May 23, 2016 8:34 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:worldtraveler- Thanks so much for creating this thread. I don't know how I've missed it before now, but this is awesome info. I hope I'm not asking questions that were brought up earlier, but I had a couple.

I'm going to NYU, and (performance pending), I'm debating the worth of applying for their joint LLM program. If I want to have the flexibility to practice abroad, is this a good idea? Or is it a better idea to look at potentially doing advanced study in that country instead?

When it comes to language skills, I'm (relatively) fluent in Italian, rusty in Spanish, and learning French, which is going quite quickly thanks to the Italian and Spanish. I know French is the most useful of the three, so I want to make sure I know how to focus my learning. Is it better to shoot for conversational fluency in French or to focus in on reading more legally-oriented material?


Have you heard the FLAS fellowships? You should do one during law school to build your language skills. Also, when you're a 2L and 3L, audit French classes at NYU undergrad.

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby worldtraveler » Tue May 24, 2016 12:24 am

cavalier1138 wrote:worldtraveler- Thanks so much for creating this thread. I don't know how I've missed it before now, but this is awesome info. I hope I'm not asking questions that were brought up earlier, but I had a couple.

I'm going to NYU, and (performance pending), I'm debating the worth of applying for their joint LLM program. If I want to have the flexibility to practice abroad, is this a good idea? Or is it a better idea to look at potentially doing advanced study in that country instead?

When it comes to language skills, I'm (relatively) fluent in Italian, rusty in Spanish, and learning French, which is going quite quickly thanks to the Italian and Spanish. I know French is the most useful of the three, so I want to make sure I know how to focus my learning. Is it better to shoot for conversational fluency in French or to focus in on reading more legally-oriented material?


What do you think the joint LLM would do for you, or what do you want to get out of it?

For French, it's way more important to be able to read and write, but to be honest you don't sound anywhere near where you need to be. What kind of career are you trying to have?

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Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue May 24, 2016 6:14 am

worldtraveler wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:worldtraveler- Thanks so much for creating this thread. I don't know how I've missed it before now, but this is awesome info. I hope I'm not asking questions that were brought up earlier, but I had a couple.

I'm going to NYU, and (performance pending), I'm debating the worth of applying for their joint LLM program. If I want to have the flexibility to practice abroad, is this a good idea? Or is it a better idea to look at potentially doing advanced study in that country instead?

When it comes to language skills, I'm (relatively) fluent in Italian, rusty in Spanish, and learning French, which is going quite quickly thanks to the Italian and Spanish. I know French is the most useful of the three, so I want to make sure I know how to focus my learning. Is it better to shoot for conversational fluency in French or to focus in on reading more legally-oriented material?


What do you think the joint LLM would do for you, or what do you want to get out of it?

For French, it's way more important to be able to read and write, but to be honest you don't sound anywhere near where you need to be. What kind of career are you trying to have?


My understanding is that the LLM is needed if I want to be able to work in Europe as an attorney. I'm not 100% set on whether that's something I want, since I'm open to whatever I experience in school, but I'd like the option of working directly for the ICC/Hague (or for NGOs based out of European nations) to stay open. Also, I'd like to take advantage of the research opportunity to focus on anti-blasphemy laws and theocratic abuses of human rights.

In terms of my career, I'm not laser-beam focused on one specific goal, largely because I want to be open to seeing what I'm most drawn to when I'm actually in clinics/internships. But dream jobs would include working with the DOJ, Human Rights Watch, or a group based out of Europe.

And I probably should try being less modest about language. After six months of working on French, I'm already at the same reading/conversational level that most people would be after two years of college study. So getting fluent (especially if the main focus is reading/writing, where I don't have to be living in the country to truly "get it") would be doable while in school.

legally_brunette20
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2015 12:25 am

Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby legally_brunette20 » Wed May 25, 2016 1:04 am

I'm a 0L who will be attending UVA in the fall. My absolute dream would be getting the ICJ clerkship after graduation and continuing to work with the ICJ afterwards. I know this is an extremely lofty goal, however, I am close to fluent in French (minor in university but a bit rusty now) and have been living in east Asia this year. Is there anything I need to know about improving my chances for this goal?

seaside2013
Posts: 13
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:02 am

Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby seaside2013 » Sun Jun 19, 2016 1:27 am

FYi re: some of the above talk on study abroad, I did a semester abroad during law school while focusing on human rights and it was an invaluable experience that was recommended to me by the vast majority of mentors in the field that I asked (as well as public interest advising). I got to take very focused classes on specific human rights issues relevant to my region of interest, study in a civil law system instead of a common law system, significantly build up my network, and work directly in a foreign NGO during the semester, gaining another five months of work experience abroad in addition to my two summers (clinics are fantastic, but typically human rights clinics are mostly at a distance for obvious logistical reasons, so it is a whole other ballgame to be in a local grassroots NGO, especially if you are interested in community lawyering). I was already fluent in the local language, but it still sharpens your skills to study masters-level classes in another language and to work in it. And clearly the benefits are even greater if you could get another language up to fluency through study abroad. Just to say that I think study abroad can bring a lot of benefits, but I think it is most beneficial if you have a very clear and focused plan for why you want to go, you have a region of focus, and you are willing to work while you study [AKA, not expecting an 'easy semester' ... between my classes (which were very challenging, even beyond the language difference) and internship, I worked just as hard as I did at my home law school].

paperworkjim
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 9:18 am

Re: Thread for people wanting to do international human rights

Postby paperworkjim » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:30 pm

Hey worldtraveler,

Thank you so, so much for making this thread. Super useful information here.

I am a 0L with a strong, strong interest in International Human Rights and had a couple of questions. I have fairly strong numbers and would be a good applicant to Yale, Harvard, or Stanford (with Yale obviously being the least likely of the three). How much better is it to go to Yale for this field? Should I wait an extra year if I say, get into Harvard, but don't get into Yale and try to reapply the next year? Also, would working at a major think tank (Brookings, CFR, CSIS, etc.) help me in this field post-law school?

Also, is there anything I can do during law school outside of school work/WE to make me more competitive in this field. I already know a good amount of French and Farsi (speaking mostly) but I was wondering if I should brush up on writing/reading for both of these. Thank you so much, again.




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