PSA: You will not work in "international law"

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Bildungsroman
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Bildungsroman » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:34 am

Grizz wrote:
Halie wrote:I've worked in "international law" (depending on the definition).

The term is basically meaningless without a qualifier, ex. Intl. arbitration. But this isn't what 0Ls generally mean "international law." Example: some chick at a local Florida school told me she wanted to do international law to "fly around the world doing treaties n stuff." Mmkay.

Seriously. I had an acquaintance say she wants to practice "international criminal law," which isn't a thing (if we're being honest) and she wants to do it because she thinks it will be a lot of glamorous travel.

pichu
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby pichu » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:35 am

Is this thread directed towards international humanitarian law? If so, who has written these laws? And who enforces them? (these questions are not rhetorical; I am genuinely curious)

On the other hand, I've heard of many lawyers needing to know the laws of more than one country for international business compliance...

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Grizz
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Grizz » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:43 am

pichu wrote:On the other hand, I've heard of many lawyers needing to know the laws of more than one country for international business compliance...


Multinational corporations generally get US counsel when they want to get advice on American law, French counsel for French law, etc.

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Halie
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Halie » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:44 am

Bildungsroman wrote:
Grizz wrote:
Halie wrote:I've worked in "international law" (depending on the definition).

The term is basically meaningless without a qualifier, ex. Intl. arbitration. But this isn't what 0Ls generally mean "international law." Example: some chick at a local Florida school told me she wanted to do international law to "fly around the world doing treaties n stuff." Mmkay.

Seriously. I had an acquaintance say she wants to practice "international criminal law," which isn't a thing (if we're being honest) and she wants to do it because she thinks it will be a lot of glamorous travel.


Haha I know. I interned in the Legal department at the international headquarters of an American company.

I think a lot of people who say they want to be "international lawyers" just want to live in Paris or somewhere romantic and be a "lawyer".


Grizz wrote:
pichu wrote:On the other hand, I've heard of many lawyers needing to know the laws of more than one country for international business compliance...


Multinational corporations generally get US counsel when they want to get advice on American law, French counsel for French law, etc.


This is the type of thing I assisted with when I interned.

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hdivschool
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby hdivschool » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:28 am

pichu wrote:Is this thread directed towards international humanitarian law? If so, who has written these laws? And who enforces them? (these questions are not rhetorical; I am genuinely curious)

On the other hand, I've heard of many lawyers needing to know the laws of more than one country for international business compliance...


The United States enforces them via the Alien Torts Statute.

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Grizz
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Grizz » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:43 am

hdivschool wrote:
pichu wrote:Is this thread directed towards international humanitarian law? If so, who has written these laws? And who enforces them? (these questions are not rhetorical; I am genuinely curious)

On the other hand, I've heard of many lawyers needing to know the laws of more than one country for international business compliance...


The United States enforces them via the Alien Torts Statute.

Also, the developed countries via moral opprobrium and asking nicely.

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englawyer
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby englawyer » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:13 am

if people want to just live internationally and practice law, that seems pretty viable, at least at HLS. There is plenty of recruiting for Hong Kong, London, and a few other places. They seem to want language skills and you need to focus on corporate law. I'm also not sure how that career will play out long term.

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romothesavior
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby romothesavior » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:16 am

[quote="englawyer"]if people want to just live internationally and practice law, that seems pretty viable, at least at HLS. [/quote]
Ding ding ding.

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:22 am

Lol no one I know can figure out why I'm keeping up on my 3rd language (the one I just learned in undergrad) and sometimes I doubt it myself. But you just gotta rake in the dinero doing treaties n' stuff. Also going on jeopardy cause everyone knows you gotta keep your world history sharp to do int'l law.

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duckmoney
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby duckmoney » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:31 am

I have a friend who's an AA female and got into all three of HYS. She wants to do "international law." She probably will.

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Grizz
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Grizz » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:40 am

englawyer wrote:if people want to just live internationally and practice law, that seems pretty viable, at least at HLS. There is plenty of recruiting for Hong Kong, London, and a few other places. They seem to want language skills and you need to focus on corporate law. I'm also not sure how that career will play out long term.

So basically you just do American law but live overseas.

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Naked Dude
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Naked Dude » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:13 am

I have never heard one coherent definition of international law from people who are interested in it. Some people say NGOs as was pointed out here, some people say immigration and whatnot. A family member of mine actually works for a company that does a ton of international work, and travels to europe all the time for major transactions and closings. In that regard I guess it's "international," but I don't even...

Also, I'm amazed at how many people have super specific career goals. Not knocking (most of) them, but i just have a vague notion of litigation/personal injury. Guess I'm a prole.

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Naked Dude
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Naked Dude » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:19 am

Bildungsroman wrote:
Grizz wrote:
Halie wrote:I've worked in "international law" (depending on the definition).

The term is basically meaningless without a qualifier, ex. Intl. arbitration. But this isn't what 0Ls generally mean "international law." Example: some chick at a local Florida school told me she wanted to do international law to "fly around the world doing treaties n stuff." Mmkay.

Seriously. I had an acquaintance say she wants to practice "international criminal law," which isn't a thing (if we're being honest) and she wants to do it because she thinks it will be a lot of glamorous travel.


The only thing I can think of that is international criminal law is the ICC, and that is so ridiculously niche it's not even funny. I have no idea how war criminals go about hiring defense lawyers, but I think chances are they won't be looking for that girl you met. Plus the fact that they've barely indicted two dozen people in 10 years.

I think the closest you can get to international criminal law is being a federal prosecutor or something next time a Nuremberg comes around and be selected. That's about it.

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bjsesq
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby bjsesq » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:22 am

Naked Dude wrote:Also, I'm amazed at how many people have super specific career goals. Not knocking (most of) them, but i just have a vague notion of litigation/personal injury. Guess I'm a prole.


No, you're smart. How could anybody know what the practice is like if they've never done it? At least you admit it.

freestallion
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby freestallion » Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:18 am

Well, the things I mentioned before - like working in NGOs that protect human rights/provide legal aid abroad, or for intl human rights orgs like human rights watch/amnesty, or domestically defending asylum seekers/refugees/undocumented workers all are possible though it's not easy to make careers out of them.

And then of course there's working a the ICC or other war crimes tribunals. I think the ICJ takes some clerks as well. And these are definitely crazy ambitions since the chance of being the next Luis Moreno Ocampo or a ICTR judge is really, really slim.

And then there are opportunities like working for the UN, OCHCR, UNHCR, etc. But you need some past experience/language skills to do those.

But, I think people just say "international law" to place all these things under one umbrella without having to go into details. Even though they are all very different, they all have an "international" flavor or aspect to it.

If you don't have much debt and go to a top 6 school, speak different languages and have some abroad experience like peace corps etc it's not IMPOSSIBLE. Of course, many people have completely unrealistic ambitions but some actually have relevant life experience that makes it a possibility.

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cinephile
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby cinephile » Wed Aug 24, 2011 11:46 am

Grizz wrote:
englawyer wrote:if people want to just live internationally and practice law, that seems pretty viable, at least at HLS. There is plenty of recruiting for Hong Kong, London, and a few other places. They seem to want language skills and you need to focus on corporate law. I'm also not sure how that career will play out long term.

So basically you just do American law but live overseas.


How unrealistic is this?

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Borhas
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Borhas » Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:48 pm

Halie wrote:I've worked in "international law" (depending on the definition).


does getting arrested in mexico count?

cinephile wrote:
Grizz wrote:
englawyer wrote:if people want to just live internationally and practice law, that seems pretty viable, at least at HLS. There is plenty of recruiting for Hong Kong, London, and a few other places. They seem to want language skills and you need to focus on corporate law. I'm also not sure how that career will play out long term.

So basically you just do American law but live overseas.


How unrealistic is this?


work in San Diego, commute from Tijuana

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Lawquacious
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:10 pm

romothesavior wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:
Aberzombie1892 wrote:International law exists. While I understand that most 0/1L's have an unrealistic idea of what it is, that does not change the fact that it exists.


+1

TLSers seem to really get off on bashing ppl who are interested in International Law. It gets old, is rude to those who have genuine questions and expressed interest, and is also largely misinformed and shortsighted (to mock those who have an interest in doing something involving-- *gasp*-- laws other than those of only the US). The difficulty certain posters have with those interested in international law highlights the American-centric viewpoint that has alienated many citizens of foreign nations. A greater emphasis on International Law study and practice will occur IMO, though of course laws and customs will always be at least somewhat regional as well. /rant

People don't bash international law because of an American-centric worldview. They bash it because thousands of students come into law school every year expecting to make a career out of an objectively tiny field that is beyond competitive. Your rant is kinda ridiculous. HTH



Is it very hard to get certain highly prestigious international law positions? Sure. Does that mean it's not worth pursuing an interest in international law or that it is necessarily unrealistic for someone to practice law in an international context? I don't think so.

Technically, working overseas or doing other work that is transnational in some capacity may not be 'international law' by a strict definition of the sub-field (though really I don't know that there is one strict and coherent definition), but that is probably what many people are interested in when they say they want to study or practice international law (the overseas component). I think that suggesting it is pointless to take international law classes or that these types of ambitions are totally unrealistic is not necessarily accurate.

Perhaps some caveats about 'international law' for new law students or posters might be appropriate, but I feel like it is overdone on here and that the difficulty of doing something in the legal field beyond US boundaries or laws is being greatly exaggerated. Certain prestigious government or corporate positions that are transnational likely are out of reach of the vast majority of law students, but that is true to a considerable extent with 'biglaw' as well. The difficulty of getting certain high-profile 'international law' jobs doesn't mean public interest jobs are unable to place someone internationally or give someone the ability to work on legal issues that are multinational in character.

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cinephile
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby cinephile » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:06 pm

Borhas wrote:
work in San Diego, commute from Tijuana


That's actually not a bad idea. Maybe I could work in upstate New York or Vermont and commute from Montreal.

msuz
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby msuz » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:27 pm

Ok, I'll admit that I was one of those who wanted to go into "international law," and that is what I would tell people. I even searched the usnews rankings for the top schools in "international law," and prioritzed my target schools based off of it.

If it wasn't for people like the OP in this thread, I probably would still be naively optimistic about it. But since I probably will not get into a T14, I have read about the ambiguity in "international law" on TLS, and I don't know any foreign languages/have any foreign experience, I am probably just going to go to a local school that gives me the most money.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, this is one of the few times that I appreciate the negativity on TLS. So thank you.

But you have to admit that ranking schools based off of their "international law" programs is misleading, especially to people who don't know anything about law school.

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vanwinkle
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Aug 24, 2011 2:30 pm

Lawquacious wrote:Is it very hard to get certain highly prestigious international law positions? Sure. Does that mean it's not worth pursuing an interest in international law or that it is necessarily unrealistic for someone to practice law in an international context? I don't think so.

This indicates that you are still young and naive, not that others are wrong about their warnings.

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chris0805
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby chris0805 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:16 pm

Going to school hoping to do "international law" is a little like going outside the T14 and wanting to be a professor. In one sense, I think it's great to be inspired about things, have dreams, and to shoot for the stars so to speak. In the other sense, if you plan on taking on significant or debt or even simply spending three years of your life in law school AND you're shooting for a hyper competitive niche field... well, I hope you have a back-up plan.

Wanting to be a human rights lawyer at Oxfam, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, or the UN is great... but if you have no interest whatsoever in being a "regular" public interest attorney or doing some domestic 'merican law, well then, you should consider a different path. Law school might not be the most efficient way for you to achieve your dreams, and it's almost surely the most time-consuming and expensive way to fail at them.

HeavenWood
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby HeavenWood » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:41 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
HeavenWood wrote:
SBL wrote:That is all.

But I have a time machine. All I need is a Harvard acceptance.

Can I borrow your time machine?

Can you get me in as a transfer?

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vanwinkle
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:52 pm

HeavenWood wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
HeavenWood wrote:
SBL wrote:That is all.

But I have a time machine. All I need is a Harvard acceptance.

Can I borrow your time machine?

Can you get me in as a transfer?

I think you lending me your time machine is more likely.

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Lawquacious
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Re: PSA: You will not work in "international law"

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:04 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:Is it very hard to get certain highly prestigious international law positions? Sure. Does that mean it's not worth pursuing an interest in international law or that it is necessarily unrealistic for someone to practice law in an international context? I don't think so.

This indicates that you are still young and naive, not that others are wrong about their warnings.



Lol. First of all, I would suspect I am at least as old as you (not that it is relevant, though you seemed to think so in the ageism thread that evolved out of one posters 'chance me' inquiry recently, and you apparently seem to think my age has something to do with the value or lack thereof of my opinion here as well).

Second of all, of course a TLS mod has more wisdom than the administrators at the top law schools, which, as far as I have seen, all have extensive emphasis on international law at this point. Just because I don't agree with certain myopic and well-worn views that that have become mantra on TLS about the meaninglessness and non-existence of international law doesn't make you right, wiser, or more experienced on the topic.




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