What did you mean by "Be aware that your dream of "International Law" doesn't actually exist for most people." Do you mean this doesn't exist as a career? Or a path through school?
I mean that it's a vaguely defined field, and the very few jobs that actually meet the amorphous definition most people come up with are hyper competitive. It's only slightly less optimistic than saying your career aim is to be appointed to SCOTUS.
I am at HYS. I know some international lawyers (UN, EC, ICC sort of stuff)
Pro tip for wanna be international lawyers;
1. Go look at the organizations you want to work for
2. Find lawyers doing what you want to do
3. LOOK AT THEIR RESUMES
4. If you can't achieve that, give it up.
Most of the people I know in the UN/ICC are not American (because of the country quotas/hiring politics). Most of them are fluent - native fluent - in multiple languages. Not just "French at college" fluent but "Italian & dutch parents and grew up in Iran. And oh I speak French too" types. Most have at least a masters if not a phD and a bunch of post docs in some development area. Again, not "I did a MPP and got a high GPA" masters. More like "I'm an econometrics expert who won an international scholarship to study some obscure heavily technical development specialty" expert.
They're that good. Most of the people going to these orgs are SJDs or post docs who are just 10x more qualified than the average JD.
I know plenty of students who are interning in these orgs. It's really easy if you are at a good school with decent grades to get an unpaid internship in these orgs. But getting a job there is nigh on impossible. Seriously.
Obv doing cross border transactional or crappy paid direct services in a foreign country are very different.
rad lulz wrote:
First, decide what "international law" means to you. Want to do capital markets/international M&A/international tax/etc.? Okay you can do that, but you'll probably be doing it at a biglaw firm, working entirely with US law, and not leaving the USA. I'm guessing this isn't what you mean.
Want to do ICC/World Bank/human rights in Asscrackistan. Basically no one does this. You will NOT get a job doing this. The only decent way to MAYBE have previous work experience with some sort of international NGO, which whill give you credibility and a network. Law school is NOT the time to try to break in. 99.9% chance you will fail.
And for the love of all that is holy do NOT do your full 1L summer abroad for the reasons mentioned above.
Few people will listen to rational explanations of "There are very few positions that offer true 'international law' work, especially to those with no or minimal post-LS experience, and they are often taken by the highest-achieving graduates of the very top schools, who also have international backgrounds and are fluent in blah blah blah"; instead they zone the fuck out. However, saying "YOU WILL NOT WORK IN INTERNATIONAL LAW" is just as true for 95% of posters, and gets the message across, in language those posters can understand, before they get bored and wander off.
If there are maybe 100 such job openings a year and 10,000+ people interested in them, is it overdoing it to bluntly people that they're not going to get those jobs? You're only going to be wrong about 1% of them, and that 1% is the group most likely to have done their own research and been realistic without asking TLS anyway.