How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
things fall apart
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:39 am

How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby things fall apart » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:27 am

I've read the skeptical beliefs on this site but I still want to take a stab at it (I will in no way put all my eggs in this basket). I spoke with a faculty member who has a bit of experience with int'l law and received broad advice.

He essentially told me to go abroad, and I plan to study abroad this summer. But is there anyone who can help me with guidance in terms of how to go about this and the likelihood of it all?

I have worked abroad in a legal-related job, although I do not think I have solid connections from it, but would have good references.

dkb17xzx
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:25 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby dkb17xzx » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:35 am


User avatar
traehekat
Posts: 3195
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby traehekat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:35 am

I know at least a few students who decided to study abroad their 1L summer and regretted it, fwiw.

The best thing you can do as a 1L wanting to go into international law is the same thing any 1L should be doing - get good grades. It would also help if you went to Yale.

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby romothesavior » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:36 am

You don't.

LawIdiot86
Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby LawIdiot86 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:42 am

traehekat wrote:I know at least a few students who decided to study abroad their 1L summer and regretted it, fwiw.

The best thing you can do as a 1L wanting to go into international law is the same thing any 1L should be doing - get good grades. It would also help if you went to Yale.


My friends who studied abroad for 1L summer generally underperformed at OCI compared to other jobs. Going abroad makes you seem less committed to the domestic market where the hiring is done and not fitting the standard judge/AUSA/PD/RA/GC model will throw flags for interviewers, who are almost never "international lawyers." Study abroad suspiciously sounds like "I want to be a tourist; I don't want to do grunt work" or "I couldn't get a standard 1L job. Also, very few firms (Freshfields is one) hire into their global trade or international arbitration groups. To them, "international law" means either capital markets deals or immigration clearance. The former doesn't actually care where you've been and the latter is miserable work that is entirely based on U.S. law. Most of my friends who thought they wanted to do international law ended up doing securities (corp or lit) when they realized how hard it was to get hired into an international practice.

User avatar
traehekat
Posts: 3195
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby traehekat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:43 am

I should clarify my last post, as it may have given the impression that going into international law is actually a possibility. To bring this in line with what presumably everyone else will tell you -you will not go into international law. You might as well say your goal out of law school is to become the president or a SCOTUS justice. The reason your professor spoke in "broad terms" about it is because he probably has never even heard of a student going into international law and so he has no idea how it would actually be done.

I bring up the study abroad thing because if you think that is going to help your chances in any significant way you are crazy. Might be tons of fun and a great life experience, but it isn't going to bring you closer to practicing international law in any king of significant way.

LawIdiot86
Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby LawIdiot86 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:45 am

traehekat wrote:I should clarify my last post, as it may have given the impression that going into international law is actually a possibility. To bring this in line with what presumably everyone else will tell you -you will not go into international law. You might as well say your goal out of law school is to become the president or a SCOTUS justice. The reason your professor spoke in "broad terms" about it is because he probably has never even heard of a student going into international law and so he has no idea how it would actually be done.

I bring up the study abroad thing because if you think that is going to help your chances in any significant way you are crazy. Might be tons of fun and a great life experience, but it isn't going to bring you closer to practicing international law in any king of significant way.


Haha, thank you for qualifying. I didn't want to be so negative in my last post after you held out a shred of hope. Unless you are a non-U.S. citizen, you will not get an international law position. Just do an RA position and say you want corporate or litigation depending on what your background makes believable.

User avatar
traehekat
Posts: 3195
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby traehekat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:48 am

LawIdiot86 wrote:
traehekat wrote:I should clarify my last post, as it may have given the impression that going into international law is actually a possibility. To bring this in line with what presumably everyone else will tell you -you will not go into international law. You might as well say your goal out of law school is to become the president or a SCOTUS justice. The reason your professor spoke in "broad terms" about it is because he probably has never even heard of a student going into international law and so he has no idea how it would actually be done.

I bring up the study abroad thing because if you think that is going to help your chances in any significant way you are crazy. Might be tons of fun and a great life experience, but it isn't going to bring you closer to practicing international law in any king of significant way.


Haha, thank you for qualifying. I didn't want to be so negative in my last post after you held out a shred of hope. Unless you are a non-U.S. citizen, you will not get an international law position. Just do an RA position and say you want corporate or litigation depending on what your background makes believable.


no worries, i actually wasn't even responding to what you posted, it was more me realizing that i may not have gotten it across to OP in the original post that international law might as well not exist.

rad lulz
Posts: 9844
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:53 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby rad lulz » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:53 am

.
Last edited by rad lulz on Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby romothesavior » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:54 am

*waits for worldtraveller to come in and tell us we're wrong*

User avatar
traehekat
Posts: 3195
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby traehekat » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:55 am

romothesavior wrote:*waits for worldtraveller to come in and tell us we're wrong*


omg i thought his username was actually "worldtraveller" for a second, i almost lost it.

LawIdiot86
Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby LawIdiot86 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:56 am

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.


All true, except the World Bank part. If you want to work there, you had better not have U.S. citizen ship or you had better have at least three Ph.Ds to be considered for an interview.

User avatar
romothesavior
Posts: 14772
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:29 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby romothesavior » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:58 am

LawIdiot86 wrote:All true, except the World Bank part. If you want to work there, you had better not have U.S. citizen ship or you had better have at least three Ph.Ds to be considered for an interview.

Pretty sure that's what he's saying dooder.

LawIdiot86
Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby LawIdiot86 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:00 pm

romothesavior wrote:
LawIdiot86 wrote:All true, except the World Bank part. If you want to work there, you had better not have U.S. citizen ship or you had better have at least three Ph.Ds to be considered for an interview.

Pretty sure that's what he's saying dooder.


No, he's saying you have a slim chance if you worked at an NGO before law school. I'm saying you still have no chance, even if you worked at an NGO, unless your a non-citizen or have a pile of PhDs.

Dman
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:28 am

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby Dman » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:07 pm

Some have already responded, and my comments echo above posters, but I typed this anyways so here it goes.

Depending on what you mean by international law, there are a couple things you can do now that might help you in the future:

1) If you mean international law as in working in another country or doing cross border deals, then learn a language in demand. By learn, I mean become fluent to the point where you can read, write and negotiate in that language with other professionals. Probably helps to pick a "useful" language but what is useful is pretty subjective. For example I got my job because I rock the Mandarin, but I have a class mate who got her euro gig because of French and another classmate got a big law NY offer because he can do Portuguese. We all got our jobs because we had the specific language for their need at the time of applying.

2) if you want to do UN type work, well then get to Geneva through connections. I know people from a wide range of schools who have been able to network into working on some of the war crime trials at the ICJ, just by gaining insight on how to actually apply for those jobs. My understanding there are actually quite a few jobs but it is such pain in the ass to go through the red tape, most applications just go into he void. Finding a prof with the connections would likely be key. RAing for that prof would probably be your best bet to secure a LOR.

3) if you mean international trade and anti dumping, move to New York and work at a firm and if you survive the horrible case grind of highly technical filings, you some day might get to tag along to the WTO.

rad lulz
Posts: 9844
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:53 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby rad lulz » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:08 pm

.
Last edited by rad lulz on Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

LawIdiot86
Posts: 1159
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:21 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby LawIdiot86 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:13 pm

Dman wrote:Some have already responded, and my comments echo above posters, but I typed this anyways so here it goes.

Depending on what you mean by international law, there are a couple things you can do now that might help you in the future:

1) If you mean international law as in working in another country or doing cross border deals, then learn a language in demand. By learn, I mean become fluent to the point where you can read, write and negotiate in that language with other professionals. Probably helps to pick a "useful" language but what is useful is pretty subjective. For example I got my job because I rock the Mandarin, but I have a class mate who got her euro gig because of French and another classmate got a big law NY offer because he can do Portuguese. We all got our jobs because we had the specific language for their need at the time of applying.

2) if you want to do UN type work, well then get to Geneva through connections. I know people from a wide range of schools who have been able to network into working on some of the war crime trials at the ICJ, just by gaining insight on how to actually apply for those jobs. My understanding there are actually quite a few jobs but it is such pain in the ass to go through the red tape, most applications just go into he void. Finding a prof with the connections would likely be key. RAing for that prof would probably be your best bet to secure a LOR.

3) if you mean international trade and anti dumping, move to New York and work at a firm and if you survive the horrible case grind of highly technical filings, you some day might get to tag along to the WTO.


If I only spoke Mandarin or Portuguese or Korean... There were so many jobs listed at my T14 looking for these skills, but they wanted a near-native fluency and I could barely pass Latin in college. Damn my monoglotism.

Point two I disagree with. Lots of mediocre law schools have internship programs at those types of places, but they won't actually hire you after graduation because of the quotas. The red tape is "are you an American?" "Thank you for applying, we'll be in touch."

Point three still exists, but it is a miserable technical field akin to patent prosecution and it is shrinking like crazy (think traditional telecom). My friend who goes to local bar events on this topic say all of the ancient partners spend the meeting shuffling around trying to glom work off of each other.

EDIT: To clarify. Spanish isn't sufficient, nor is a "working knowledge" sufficient. They mean people who can sit across the table from a native speaker and negotiate a legally binding contract without a translator and without fucking up any of the slight differences in the meanings of terms in different languages, as well as understanding the body languages and negotiating posture of the counterparty.

Dman
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:28 am

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby Dman » Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:26 pm

LawIdiot86 wrote:
If I only spoke Mandarin or Portuguese or Korean... There were so many jobs listed at my T14 looking for these skills, but they wanted a near-native fluency and I could barely pass Latin in college. Damn my monoglotism.

Point two I disagree with. Lots of mediocre law schools have internship programs at those types of places, but they won't actually hire you after graduation because of the quotas. The red tape is "are you an American?" "Thank you for applying, we'll be in touch."

Point three still exists, but it is a miserable technical field akin to patent prosecution and it is shrinking like crazy (think traditional telecom). My friend who goes to local bar events on this topic say all of the ancient partners spend the meeting shuffling around trying to glom work off of each other.


Korean is super hot atm. I see postings daily for fluent Korean speakers for in house and firms alike.

IHL type work is definitely not my specialty, but from the people I know focusing on that area tell me that there are jobs. (have no proof one way or the other, other than I know they are spending their summers at the Hauge) Grades and school are not as important (of course the higher the better) as being able to actually find a way to reach out to a real person who will give you the time of day. I also do not know what all this translate to in the long term. Doing IHL or treaty work in the US is nigh impossible, as other posters said, unless you go to Yale. The L is ridiculousness in its selectivity.

target
Posts: 688
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:40 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby target » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:03 pm

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.


+1. A clarification to do capital markets/int't M&A, etc., you can leave the USA, but properly not until you are very senior or in the partner level unless you know the language fluently.

User avatar
Br3v
Posts: 4174
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:18 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby Br3v » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:11 pm

came to say

romothesavior wrote:You don't.

User avatar
MTBike
Posts: 261
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:19 am

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby MTBike » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:17 pm

romothesavior wrote:You don't.


Helpful as always

sophie316
Posts: 374
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:08 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby sophie316 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:32 pm

Yeah not so much. If you want to go and work for an NGO abroad may I suggest having unlimited money and being willing to work indefinitely for free? Even then you need some experience and language skills.

User avatar
things fall apart
Posts: 142
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 12:39 am

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby things fall apart » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:32 pm

I see guys. I honestly do appreciate most of the comments here. A few have been the typical TLS "i hate my life so im going to be snarky and demoralizing" but that's just the internet.
Anyway, I have a few teachers who have done a lot of financial-related international, and have traveled and done that whole gig. I have a teacher who also does humanitarian NGO type things although they are more related to research papers. Anyway I've spoken with a few of them and they continuously bring up students names who have gotten into "international law". I've talked to one specifically and told him multiple times I know I'm at a T2 and I know its not that likely but he insists otherwise and name drops.

Luckily I got a full scholly, so I will weigh my options, but financially I do not have an issue. Of course if any offers that I want come back then I'd probably choose those here, but from talking to people who have actually done things IL related, it seems to be a bit more feasible than it sounds here.

I have known there is a slim chance since when I was in college a few years ago. However like I said, I did a law related job internationally for two years post-college and met a decent amount of American lawyers working abroad who were not T14/PhD whizzes. Unfortunately did not make any connections, but with 0 debt from tuition I would like to give it a shot in the absence of anything else compelling.

Anyway keep em coming guys, I know a lot of people love to go negative any time they can and quite a few of you are actually helping a whole lot. So bump.

rad lulz
Posts: 9844
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:53 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby rad lulz » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:36 pm

.
Last edited by rad lulz on Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: How does a 1L get into "Internatonal Law"

Postby timbs4339 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:39 pm

It's really important to have connections with specific countries/regions. I have a friend who is Romanian who can go back to Romania and do NGO work there- he worked between college and law school in the country, has a girlfriend from there, etc. Of course, this kind of background leaves out a lot of the human rights folks who are K-JD international relations majors with one semester of study abroad.

Learning an in-demand language (Russian, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, Chinese...) can really help you for international biglaw. I have a friend who swung a V20 gig with below median grades and he credits it to speaking fluent Russian. He was even given serious matters during his SA because he was on of the few people at the firm who spoke Russian. He won't be going to Moscow any time soon, but it will give him a serious advantage to remaining employed at the firm.

You can also pull some sweet doc review gigs during school. One firm was offering $100/hr for contract review for Japanese speaking law students- 20/hrs per week. That's seriously amazing cash.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.