why is international law a myth

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c3pO4
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why is international law a myth

Postby c3pO4 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:43 pm

How do you convince your 0L friends that getting a JD to do "international law" is a huge mistake. I know it but am having a hard time articulating to someone who doesn't have the benefit of having been through the LS ringer and realizing ilaw is a myth for anybody but top of class at Yale or Harvard. Can you guys lay out the concrete reasons or link to threads?

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NinerFan
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby NinerFan » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:49 pm

Ask them where they expect to get a job at. Ask them to show you a job listing for said job.

c3pO4
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby c3pO4 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:49 pm

NinerFan wrote:Ask them where they expect to get a job at. Ask them to show you a job listing for said job.


--LinkRemoved--

assume person has worked at some similar international org on the policy side before LS. i STILL think it's a pipe dream. help me EXPLAIN

Anonymous User
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:19 pm

In fairness, I've always thought that the whole "international law is a myth" meme is, well, a myth. There are plenty of V50 firms and high end boutiques (mostly lit) that have practices with a strong international component. I'm thinking of various flavors of cross-border transactions, reinsurance arbitration, etc. It is not impossible to get one of these jobs, or at least a job at one of the firms that has this work -- one probably needs only to go to HSY, be a little better than median from CCN, top quarter or so from the rest of the T14, and so on down to one of the top few students at a mid-T2 school.

Now, some caveats:

1.) When most people think of practicing "international law" they don't really envision themselves sitting in their NY office until midnight clicking through due diligence documents, or drafting the tedious corporate filings for the SPV that is involved in their transaction, or doing the deposition outlines for the partner who is going to be flying to London for the Lloyd's deps. But that's what their "international law" practice is going to be, at least for a decade or so.

2.) You need to have the foregoing credentials to get a job at one of those V50 firms, which in this ITE, is not impossible but it is highly unlikely.

c3pO4
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby c3pO4 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In fairness, I've always thought that the whole "international law is a myth" meme is, well, a myth. There are plenty of V50 firms and high end boutiques (mostly lit) that have practices with a strong international component. I'm thinking of various flavors of cross-border transactions, reinsurance arbitration, etc. It is not impossible to get one of these jobs, or at least a job at one of the firms that has this work -- one probably needs only to go to HSY, be a little better than median from CCN, top quarter or so from the rest of the T14, and so on down to one of the top few students at a mid-T2 school.

Now, some caveats:

1.) When most people think of practicing "international law" they don't really envision themselves sitting in their NY office until midnight clicking through due diligence documents, or drafting the tedious corporate filings for the SPV that is involved in their transaction, or doing the deposition outlines for the partner who is going to be flying to London for the Lloyd's deps. But that's what their "international law" practice is going to be, at least for a decade or so.

2.) You need to have the foregoing credentials to get a job at one of those V50 firms, which in this ITE, is not impossible but it is highly unlikely.


im not talking about the "all law is international" type of stuff biglaw firms do. i'm talking about ilaw as in working at an NGO or the UN or something. that's what most people think of when they say they want to go to law shool to do international law

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booboo
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby booboo » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:In fairness, I've always thought that the whole "international law is a myth" meme is, well, a myth. There are plenty of V50 firms and high end boutiques (mostly lit) that have practices with a strong international component. I'm thinking of various flavors of cross-border transactions, reinsurance arbitration, etc. It is not impossible to get one of these jobs, or at least a job at one of the firms that has this work -- one probably needs only to go to HSY, be a little better than median from CCN, top quarter or so from the rest of the T14, and so on down to one of the top few students at a mid-T2 school.

Now, some caveats:

1.) When most people think of practicing "international law" they don't really envision themselves sitting in their NY office until midnight clicking through due diligence documents, or drafting the tedious corporate filings for the SPV that is involved in their transaction, or doing the deposition outlines for the partner who is going to be flying to London for the Lloyd's deps. But that's what their "international law" practice is going to be, at least for a decade or so.

2.) You need to have the foregoing credentials to get a job at one of those V50 firms, which in this ITE, is not impossible but it is highly unlikely.


I know this is off topic and I apologize, but we really need to start institutionally clarifying that these distinctions just do not exist. It just leads to weak conclusions.

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NinerFan
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby NinerFan » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:38 pm

I sympathize because I had a similar situation with a friend a few years ago. I tried to show them the "reality" of law school and how it would be difficult for them to do what they wanted to do at the T2 they got into. They had UG debt too.

Long story short, I did what I could, but they ended up getting offended at me and, yeah. So my advice to you is to show them the reality of law school by linking some of the recent articles about deceptive employment numbers, deceptive scholarship numbers, etc. If they insist on pursuing it, then you've done what you could. Perhaps their connections from working in the NGO will allow them to get a leg up in the job search, or perhaps they have some special language ability that will make it easier for them.

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FlanAl
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby FlanAl » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:44 pm

have them look for examples of people who do what they want to do. Then have them look at the resumes of the people who do those things. I took international law at the law school at my school's ug for a semester. The teacher gave a little statement at the beginning of the class about how plenty of people make their careers in international law. This was in Europe and I think it is probably more common to do what people are thinking about when they think international law there since the countries are much more interconnected in the EU than the US is with anyone. BUT out of interest I tried to find out some kind of career path to these jobs (like representing a country's government at the ICJ etc.) and anyone who does anything like that is going to probably be a professor.

I'd say thats the main thing that turned me away from it (glad it happened a few years ago). Although it is possible to get these kind of jobs you have to be absolutely at the top of your field. If your friend is going to yale and plans to do a phd at oxford afterwards then by all means let him have that goal. But yeah just tell him to look at the backgrounds of all the people that do what he wants to do.

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roguey
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby roguey » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:51 pm

I go to a school with a really strong international law program. It sucks in a lot of people and gets them into internships with the war crimes tribunals in different countries and doing all sorts of cool stuff in all kinds of cool countries. They assist in writing opinions for international courts and think everything is totally awesome until it hits them that in order to actually get a job at one of these places most require that the person have been in domestic criminal prosecution for 7 years before even applying. Most of the clerks and staff attorneys were judges in the U.S.

Unfortunately, while the international thing sounds awesome and people have great pictures from 1L summer and something to talk about at interviews, it really makes for some sad faces when they realize that all that international stuff usually isn't what you come out of law school doing.

This is just my personal experience with this. My school recognizes the problem and is attempting to expand our international program to be a little bit more than a vanity project for one particular professor.

mrloblaw
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby mrloblaw » Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:01 pm

The "international law is a myth" meme is completely absurd.

1. Define "international law" in such a way as to exclude hundreds of legal jobs that any above median T14 kid that can speak a few languages has a passing shot at (Int'l law does not include practicing American law in Shanghai, working on cross-border deals with a NY firm, etc.). Restrict the definition solely to the ridiculously small subset of jobs that are most glamorous.

2. Proclaim that international law does not exist.

The "international law is a myth" meme is a conflation of two unrelated issues:

1. People who don't get into T14s or locally dominant schools should not be going to law school. There simply aren't jobs out there that are worth having over being a bloody janitor or whatever else. This has nothing to do with international law so much as the fact that the lawyering profession has entered a downward spiral from which it will never recover.

2. Laypeople very rarely know what they're getting into when they make major decisions, including deciding to enter an arcane profession. Again, this isn't in any way specific to international law. There are plenty of 20 year old biochem majors who think that practicing medicine will be just like being Dr. House. Would you argue that physician jobs aren't available simply because the career is absolutely nothing like laypeople believe?

/rant

Black-Blue
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby Black-Blue » Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:17 pm

"International law" = law between ("inter") nations. Between nations is not the same thing as between clients residing in different nations.

Anonymous User
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:09 pm

On the other hand, I sort of mocked my friend for going to law school to do 'international human rights law' and he just got an awesome job working in DC on human trafficking issues. So SOME PEOPLE do get these jobs. it's just that the overwhelming majority do not.

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vanwinkle
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:05 pm

mrloblaw wrote:Define "international law" in such a way as to exclude hundreds of legal jobs that any above median T14 kid that can speak a few languages has a passing shot at (Int'l law does not include practicing American law in Shanghai, working on cross-border deals with a NY firm, etc.). Restrict the definition solely to the ridiculously small subset of jobs that are most glamorous.

Wtf. "International law" is a body of law. If you are practicing American law, you are not practicing international law. Practicing American domestic law in another place doesn't magically transform it into another type of law. This is like arguing that since NFL Europe was played in Europe, it was actually soccer.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby DoubleChecks » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:11 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:Define "international law" in such a way as to exclude hundreds of legal jobs that any above median T14 kid that can speak a few languages has a passing shot at (Int'l law does not include practicing American law in Shanghai, working on cross-border deals with a NY firm, etc.). Restrict the definition solely to the ridiculously small subset of jobs that are most glamorous.

Wtf. "International law" is a body of law. If you are practicing American law, you are not practicing international law. Practicing American domestic law in another place doesn't magically transform it into another type of law. This is like arguing that since NFL Europe was played in Europe, it was actually soccer.


+1

And to be fair, when 0Ls talk about wanting to do "international law"...usually we all know what they mean.

kaiser
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby kaiser » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:11 pm

I remember having a really accomplished in-house counsel for a major company come to give a lecture. She was foreign and did work both in the US and France. One of her first lines was "there is no such thing as international law. There is American legal practice, and French legal practice."

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ph14
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby ph14 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:23 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
mrloblaw wrote:Define "international law" in such a way as to exclude hundreds of legal jobs that any above median T14 kid that can speak a few languages has a passing shot at (Int'l law does not include practicing American law in Shanghai, working on cross-border deals with a NY firm, etc.). Restrict the definition solely to the ridiculously small subset of jobs that are most glamorous.

Wtf. "International law" is a body of law. If you are practicing American law, you are not practicing international law. Practicing American domestic law in another place doesn't magically transform it into another type of law. This is like arguing that since NFL Europe was played in Europe, it was actually soccer.


+1

And to be fair, when 0Ls talk about wanting to do "international law"...usually we all know what they mean.


+1

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NinerFan
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby NinerFan » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:23 pm

I mean, you MIGHT do international law if you're a JAG officer and you're trying to justify why the US can go blow something up or kill someone.

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Grizz
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby Grizz » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:32 pm

Just link em to this article that I link to in every thread on intl law (including this one).

http://www.annaivey.com/iveyfiles/2008/11/international_law_believe_the_hype

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roguey
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby roguey » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:31 pm

I am a tutor for the 1Ls this year, and several have asked me about the study abroad programs and how useful they are. It is difficult to tell them that it isn't what they think. When I do, they argue with me about how it totally IS what they think it is. That article was very helpful; I'm thinking about sending it to them. Perhaps I'm just too timid to tell them that talking about working on human rights legal issues in Rwanda for a summer, while sounding amazing, will not really help at OCI. Many of these students want to go into "international transactions" or "international trade" or something else that sounds like business and replaces the word "law." I don't want to crush their spirits, but I also don't want them falling into the "international criminal law" craze at our school. Of course they will have something cool to talk about and a bunch of cool pictures; but they will have no new writing samples, not much law-related to talk about at OCI, and sadness when they realize that real-life-legal work will never be as cool as the summer they spent in Ghana.

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AreJay711
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby AreJay711 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:59 pm

NinerFan wrote:I mean, you MIGHT do international law if you're a JAG officer and you're trying to justify why the US can go blow something up or kill someone.


Or contracting to have work done on a local base, helping family members get visas to live or work in a foreign country, or dealing with other local legal issues.

Honestly, international operational law is probably statistically harder to get than other types of international law or transnational biglaw practice. Especially, because they really don't care if you went to a t14 or not that much and the people that were combat helicopter pilots that went to Cooley are clearly the ones getting that type of work.

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20130312
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby 20130312 » Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:03 am

Grizz wrote:Just link em to this article that I link to in every thread on intl law (including this one).

http://www.annaivey.com/iveyfiles/2008/11/international_law_believe_the_hype


Anna Ivey always has TCR.

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worldtraveler
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:38 am

roguey wrote:I am a tutor for the 1Ls this year, and several have asked me about the study abroad programs and how useful they are. It is difficult to tell them that it isn't what they think. When I do, they argue with me about how it totally IS what they think it is. That article was very helpful; I'm thinking about sending it to them. Perhaps I'm just too timid to tell them that talking about working on human rights legal issues in Rwanda for a summer, while sounding amazing, will not really help at OCI. Many of these students want to go into "international transactions" or "international trade" or something else that sounds like business and replaces the word "law." I don't want to crush their spirits, but I also don't want them falling into the "international criminal law" craze at our school. Of course they will have something cool to talk about and a bunch of cool pictures; but they will have no new writing samples, not much law-related to talk about at OCI, and sadness when they realize that real-life-legal work will never be as cool as the summer they spent in Ghana.


I've done legal internships abroad, and it really just sets you up for a completely different career trajectory. I did a lot of writing but not the same kind my classmates did. It worked for me and it set me up for the type of career path I want, but that is an incredibly difficult path and it helped considerably that I already had experience in development and women's rights work before law school. Those kinds of internships are really a necessity for people gunning to work with Amnesty Int'l, Human Rights Watch, or the UN. But people who want to do OCI or go for a traditional law path should really just avoid them. I worked with some other interns who wanted big law jobs but just wanted to do a cool summer job, and it generally did not work out well for them. I also have never had very good supervision, and most of my work has been teaching myself and winging it.

The one exception I can think of is immigration law. For anyone wanting to be an immigration attorney, you can get experience abroad working on refugee issues which would be good experience even for a domestic immigration job.

I think that schools just should be more honest that while international human rights jobs and "international law" jobs do exist, they exist in extremely small quantities and almost always go to grads of top schools with experience before law school. I don't know a single person who went K-JD who has had luck securing employment in the field, but at T10s there are plenty of former Peace Corps volunteers, former NGO workers, and other people with similar experience who do quite well. I wish they told people that if this is what you want to do in law school, you need to break into it before you come. It worked out for me and I have good post-graduation job options, but I'm in a minority.

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romothesavior
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby romothesavior » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:47 am

c3pO4 wrote:How do you convince your 0L friends that getting a JD to do "international law" is a huge mistake. I know it but am having a hard time articulating to someone who doesn't have the benefit of having been through the LS ringer and realizing ilaw is a myth for anybody but top of class at Yale or Harvard. Can you guys lay out the concrete reasons or link to threads?

The Anna Ivey article is a good start.

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romothesavior
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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby romothesavior » Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:53 am

DoubleChecks wrote:And to be fair, when 0Ls talk about wanting to do "international law"...usually we all know what they mean.
Exactly. When I hear "international law," almost every time it is in reference to some sort of NGO job or mythical experience doing nationbuilding in Africa. Same thing with constitutional law. The people who say, "I am really leaning towards international law, or maybe constitutional law or something like that" aren't thinking about a V50 with an international office or doing s1983 plaintiff's cases. I'd imagine a huge chunk of these people would be repulsed at the thought of working at some big slimy law firm defending the evil corporations.

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Re: why is international law a myth

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:42 am

Does international law include cross-border insolvency or m&a? if so, you definitely don't need to be top of the class at yale or harvard to do this (speaking from experience). You probably do need some demonstrated interest in living and working abroad on your resume, though.




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