Best Schools for International Law?

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elijahkalgan
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Best Schools for International Law?

Postby elijahkalgan » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:22 pm

Got into nine law schools so far, was waitlisted at UVA and still haven't heard back from the other T-14s yet. Basically just wondering if I get rejected from every other school in the T14 would pursuing international law be a realistic option or should I look towards some other career paths?
Last edited by elijahkalgan on Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby worldtraveler » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:44 pm

Well what do you want to do in international law?

elijahkalgan
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Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby elijahkalgan » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:50 pm

worldtraveler wrote:Well what do you want to do in international law?


Not positive yet but human rights or international trade law sound interesting. I have Irish citizenship as well so working in the EU wouldn't be an issue.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:02 pm

elijahkalgan wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:Well what do you want to do in international law?

Not positive yet but human rights or international trade law sound interesting. I have Irish citizenship as well so working in the EU wouldn't be an issue.

You realize those things have nothing in common, right? That's like saying "I want to be a brain surgeon or a circus acrobat."

International trade law really isn't that interesting and human rights law doesn't exist. Generally, that's the problem with "international law." International transactional / corporate work, for example, is probably the easiest kind of "international law" to end up in, but it's basically the same as US corporate work, just done at 3 am in the morning. International commercial arbitration is more interesting, but very hard to get - unless you speak multiple languages, have an international background, and get great grades at a t14.

It sounds like you really just want to live overseas. Why don't you live in the EU for a few years - teaching English, or whatever - and then apply to law school? Better than going to law school now with no sensible idea about what you plan to do.

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midnight_circus
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Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby midnight_circus » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:08 pm

elijahkalgan wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:Well what do you want to do in international law?


Not positive yet but human rights or international trade law sound interesting. I have Irish citizenship as well so working in the EU wouldn't be an issue.


I'm pretty sure you only get to do human rights if you go to Yale. If you want to do international trade, you'll need to get hired by a biglaw (or magic circle, if you could somehow swing that) firm that has multiple offices that works on international trade issues. That most likely means great grades from a great school. I know pretty much nothing about the hiring practices of the Hague, but I doubt it's direct out of law school (and if it were, it would require fantastic grades from a fantastic school), so if I were you I would have a more realistic entry into international practice.

Also, this is timbs' extremely accurate guide to A Day in the Life of an International Lawyer:
timbs4339 wrote:0830: Wake up in stately 16th Century hotel in Zurich. Kiss beautiful Russian model you met last night goodbye.

0930: Breakfast at cafe overlooking the clear waters of Lake Zurich. Read the Financial Times and chuckle about their shoddy reporting on a deal you headlined last week.

1000: Take high-speed train to Paris, fielding conference calls from several CEOs and bankers.

1100: Negotiate $13 billion merger between US company and European conglomerate. Everyone speaks English with a broken accent, of course, so you can understand all the documents and the negotiations.

1230: Lunch with other International Corporate Lawyers at International Corporate Lawyer Club, everyone, of course, speaking English with a broken accent.

1400: Fly to the Hague for some pro-bono work. By 1500, you've convicted a genocidal African dictator of every war crime imaginable. He curses you in broken English. A hundred survivors from the village he attacked gift your their ceremonial hunting horn. The chief's beautiful, Oxford educated daughter, who you've been working closely with, flashes you a flirtatious smile.

1730: Return to London office of International Corporate Law Firm. Exchange witty banter with secretary. Get dressed down by your curmudgeonly boss.

1900: High-stakes Baccarat game at Monte Carlo with head of European finance ministry. After beating him, he agrees to relax certain disclosure requirements for IPOs. Also he pays for champagne (in broken English) and you party with Russian model and African chief's daughter.

2300: Returning to hotel, concierge informs you of a call. Picking up, you hear "Mr. Corporate Lawyer, this is our fifth call. You've missed the last three payments on your student loans. If you'd like to discuss repayment options, you can contact me at 1-800-FANTASY."

You wake up in a cold sweat, and realize you have less than 20 minutes to get dressed, shower, and get to your document review job in a warehouse in New Jersey. Think about going back to law school for the "International Law LLM."


Moral of the story: you may have EU citizenship, but "international law" is largely a fantasy. Dream big, but don't forget to be realistic and plan for the very real contingencies of the economy, okay? I wouldn't count on getting a job in "international trade" from 'Bama or Notre Dame.

elijahkalgan
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Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby elijahkalgan » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:14 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:
elijahkalgan wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:Well what do you want to do in international law?

Not positive yet but human rights or international trade law sound interesting. I have Irish citizenship as well so working in the EU wouldn't be an issue.

You realize those things have nothing in common, right? That's like saying "I want to be a brain surgeon or a circus acrobat."

International trade law really isn't that interesting and human rights law doesn't exist. Generally, that's the problem with "international law." International transactional / corporate work, for example, is probably the easiest kind of "international law" to end up in, but it's basically the same as US corporate work, just done at 3 am in the morning. International commercial arbitration is more interesting, but very hard to get - unless you speak multiple languages, have an international background, and get great grades at a t14.

It sounds like you really just want to live overseas. Why don't you live in the EU for a few years - teaching English, or whatever - and then apply to law school? Better than going to law school now with no sensible idea about what you plan to do.


Thanks for the honest answer, I'm definitely going to law school next year but any practical advice helps. And you'd say it's extremely difficult to find a job in international commercial arbitration with a J.D outside of the T14?

elijahkalgan
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Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby elijahkalgan » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:23 pm

midnight_circus wrote:
elijahkalgan wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:Well what do you want to do in international law?


Not positive yet but human rights or international trade law sound interesting. I have Irish citizenship as well so working in the EU wouldn't be an issue.


I'm pretty sure you only get to do human rights if you go to Yale. If you want to do international trade, you'll need to get hired by a biglaw (or magic circle, if you could somehow swing that) firm that has multiple offices that works on international trade issues. That most likely means great grades from a great school. I know pretty much nothing about the hiring practices of the Hague, but I doubt it's direct out of law school (and if it were, it would require fantastic grades from a fantastic school), so if I were you I would have a more realistic entry into international practice.

Also, this is timbs' extremely accurate guide to A Day in the Life of an International Lawyer:
timbs4339 wrote:0830: Wake up in stately 16th Century hotel in Zurich. Kiss beautiful Russian model you met last night goodbye.

0930: Breakfast at cafe overlooking the clear waters of Lake Zurich. Read the Financial Times and chuckle about their shoddy reporting on a deal you headlined last week.

1000: Take high-speed train to Paris, fielding conference calls from several CEOs and bankers.

1100: Negotiate $13 billion merger between US company and European conglomerate. Everyone speaks English with a broken accent, of course, so you can understand all the documents and the negotiations.

1230: Lunch with other International Corporate Lawyers at International Corporate Lawyer Club, everyone, of course, speaking English with a broken accent.

1400: Fly to the Hague for some pro-bono work. By 1500, you've convicted a genocidal African dictator of every war crime imaginable. He curses you in broken English. A hundred survivors from the village he attacked gift your their ceremonial hunting horn. The chief's beautiful, Oxford educated daughter, who you've been working closely with, flashes you a flirtatious smile.

1730: Return to London office of International Corporate Law Firm. Exchange witty banter with secretary. Get dressed down by your curmudgeonly boss.

1900: High-stakes Baccarat game at Monte Carlo with head of European finance ministry. After beating him, he agrees to relax certain disclosure requirements for IPOs. Also he pays for champagne (in broken English) and you party with Russian model and African chief's daughter.

2300: Returning to hotel, concierge informs you of a call. Picking up, you hear "Mr. Corporate Lawyer, this is our fifth call. You've missed the last three payments on your student loans. If you'd like to discuss repayment options, you can contact me at 1-800-FANTASY."

You wake up in a cold sweat, and realize you have less than 20 minutes to get dressed, shower, and get to your document review job in a warehouse in New Jersey. Think about going back to law school for the "International Law LLM."


Moral of the story: you may have EU citizenship, but "international law" is largely a fantasy. Dream big, but don't forget to be realistic and plan for the very real contingencies of the economy, okay? I wouldn't count on getting a job in "international trade" from 'Bama or Notre Dame.


Hahaha yeah if only it were that awesome. Appreciate the advice man, and I'm most likely not going to Bama or ND. WUSTL looks like they fare better placing grads into international firms although I'm sure plenty of those are foreign students who planned on working back home anyway. And I'm realistic about the current job market for lawyers and that I may have to settle for a career I may not necessarily want, but in the meantime figure there's no harm in exploring possibilities that interest me. Wutevs hopefully UVA, NU, or GULC bites.

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midnight_circus
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Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby midnight_circus » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:24 pm

elijahkalgan wrote:Thanks for the honest answer, I'm definitely going to law school next year but any practical advice helps. And you'd say it's extremely difficult to find a job in international commercial arbitration with a J.D outside of the T14?


Yes. Look, here are the best firms for international trade: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1
and international arbitration: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1
These are almost all at least V100 firms. Many of them have much smaller international practices and getting into them is no walk in the park when they mostly want new people to do domestic M&A work or whatever is busiest at the time. The very best ones--White&Case, Covington&Burling--almost certainly require a t14 JD and top x% of the class on top of that. Check around their websites, see how well WUSTL places with them (and make sure you're checking NY/DC offices). Not saying it's impossible. Just saying it won't be easy.

elijahkalgan
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Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:17 am

Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby elijahkalgan » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:28 pm

midnight_circus wrote:
elijahkalgan wrote:Thanks for the honest answer, I'm definitely going to law school next year but any practical advice helps. And you'd say it's extremely difficult to find a job in international commercial arbitration with a J.D outside of the T14?


Yes. Look, here are the best firms for international trade: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1
and international arbitration: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/1278 ... torial/5/1
These are almost all at least V100 firms. Many of them have much smaller international practices and getting into them is no walk in the park when they mostly want new people to do domestic M&A work or whatever is busiest at the time. The very best ones--White&Case, Covington&Burling--almost certainly require a t14 JD and top x% of the class on top of that. Check around their websites, see how well WUSTL places with them (and make sure you're checking NY/DC offices). Not saying it's impossible. Just saying it won't be easy.


Thanks for the info I'll check it out, did all the optional essays for the T14s and on campus interviews so hopefully one of them pulls through.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby worldtraveler » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:30 pm

I work in international human rights law. It does exist but there just aren't many jobs. It's also probably not nearly as glamorous as you think. You are either sitting in a headquarters office in NY, Geneva, or DC and writing memos or briefs and making conference calls. Essentially the same thing you would do in big law only you accomplish far less. Or you are in a field office which can be incredibly stressful, dangerous, and take a big toll on your personal life.

nebula666
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Re: Best Schools for International Law?

Postby nebula666 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:08 am

Don't go to law school until you seriously think about why you want to be a lawyer. You aren't getting a job in whatever you think "international law" is, so what other areas of laws that actually exist interest you?




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