“A wider view of the world”: Global Extern James Cox on his summer at Priti Suri and Associates in India

This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our Global Governance Summer School or Global Externship Overseas initiative. Author of this post is James Cox, a member of the Class of 2019 who spent his 1L summer as a GEO, or Global Extern Overseas.

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My summer 2017 was filled with crowded streets, a warm environment, and challenging legal work. I worked at Priti Suri & Associates (PSA) in the heart of New Delhi, India, as part of the Global Externship Overseas (GEO) initiative. With my GEO, I killed two birds with one stone: I had my first legal job, and I saw India for the first time. I did not know what to expect from either, but I left India knowing much more about myself and what it means to be a lawyer in a global context. Being in India and working at PSA were invaluable experiences.

PSA is a full-service business law firm with clientele from around the globe. Despite being a relatively small firm with about fifteen lawyers, PSA has a wide reputation for excellence. During the course of the summer, I researched competition law and blockchain technologies, and learned a great deal about the Indian legal system. My biggest project was researching and drafting this newsletter, which discusses a recent competition law decision of the Indian Supreme Court.

Priti_SuriPriti Suri (left), the founder of PSA and a University of Georgia School of Law LL.M. graduate, personally supervised me in writing it. Priti is hands-down one of the most impressive lawyers I have ever met. She is smart and attentive to detail. She modeled what being a professional lawyer means. I appreciated her mentorship, and found she was always willing to talk to me about the law and the projects I was working on.

All of the lawyers at PSA made me feel welcome, but I most enjoyed my time working beside the two other interns, Nikhil and Oti. They are fifth-year law students at Hidayatullah National Law University. Their school is around a twenty-two-hour drive away, and they were both “in session” while interning at PSA full time. They both had significantly more experience than I did working in firms, and they were quick to share their experience with me. I will not soon forget taking the elevator down to the ground floor and grabbing sodas with Oti and Nikhil for a quick break. They were both quick to smile, and good coworkers.

file-3As Priti told me on more than one occasion, “India is not for the weak-hearted.” Living there was a difficult adjustment, in part because I stood out like a sore thumb as a tall white male in New Delhi. My fifteen-minute walk each day to and from the metro was the highlight of my time in India, but because I was so clearly foreign, strangers frequently approached me hoping I was a tourist they could refer back to a friend’s travel agency. Further, simple tasks became complex when every vendor, took-took driver, and businessman expected some bartering for each transaction. India seemed like it might be the easiest country in the world to get taken advantage of. However, these interactions speak to something I observed at the core of India.

Indians are overwhelmingly hard-working and determined. It is a place where everyone is trying to get ahead because they have to; I was struck by the disparity of wealth there. As a rather blunt example, I was told the richest man in India in Mumbai built his mansion literally above the slums. It can feel like the table is full before many even make it in the house in India.

file-2My externship at PSA confirmed my desire to be a lawyer. I saw thoughtful people work on difficult problems to help companies work effectively in an ever-expanding world. While it took some adjustment to be comfortable walking the streets of Paharganj, I was sad to leave India. I took one bite of the airplane pretzels, and already felt like I had made a huge mistake leaving the delicious Indian cooking behind. I will miss the warm smiles of people on the street and the friends I made over the summer. When I left India, I took home far more than my final review and certificate of internship. I took home a wider view of the world, a deeper understanding of why I want to be a lawyer, and many fond memories.

My only regret is not to have brought home a good recipe for Dal Makhani.

Accountability for harms to children during armed conflict discussed at Center-sponsored ILW panel

NEW YORK – Ways to redress offenses against children during armed conflict formed the core of the panel that our University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center sponsored last Friday at International Law Weekend, an annual three-day conference presented by the American Branch of the International Law Association and the International Law Students Association. I was honored to take part.

► Opening our panel was Shaheed Fatima QC (top right), a barrister at Blackstone Chambers in London, who led a panel of researchers for the Inquiry on Protecting Children in Conflict, an initiative chaired by Gordon Brown, former United Kingdom Prime Minister and current UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

As Fatima explained, the Inquiry focused on harms that the UN Security Council has identified as “six grave violations” against children in conflict; specifically, killing and maiming; recruitment or use as soldiers; sexual violence; abduction; attacks against schools or hospitals; and denial of humanitarian access. With regard to each, the Inquiry identified legal frameworks in international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and international human rights law. It proposed a new means for redress: promulgation of a “single instrument” that would permit individual communications, for an expressed set of violations, to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the treaty body that monitors compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its three optional protocols. These findings and recommendations have just been published as Protecting Children in Armed Conflict (Hart 2018).

► Next, Mara Redlich Revkin (2d from left), a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Yale University and Lead Researcher on Iraq and Syria for the United Nations University Project on Children and Extreme Violence.

She drew from her fieldwork to provide a thick description of children’s experiences in regions controlled by the Islamic State, an armed group devoted to state-building – “rebel governance,” as Revkin termed it. Because the IS sees children as its future, she said, it makes population growth a priority, and exercises its control over schools and other “sites for the weaponization of children.” Children who manage to free themselves from the group encounter new problems on account of states’ responses, responses that Revkin has found often to be at odds with public opinion. These range from the  harsh punishment of every child once associated with IS, without considering the extent of that association, to the rejection of IS-issued birth certificates, thus rendering a child stateless.

► Then came yours truly, Diane Marie Amann (left), Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law and our Center’s Faculty Co-Director. I served as a member of the Inquiry’s Advisory Board.

Discussing my service as the Special Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Children in and affected by Armed Conflict, I focused on the preparation and contents of the 2016 ICC OTP Policy on Children, available here in Arabic, English, French, Spanish, and Swahili. The Policy pinpoints the crimes against and affecting children that may be punished pursuant to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and it further delineates a “child-sensitive approach” to OTP work at all stages, including investigation, charging, prosecution, and witness protection.

► Summing up the conversation was Harold Hongju Koh (2d from right), Sterling Professor of International Law at Yale Law School and former Legal Adviser to the U.S. Department of State, who served as a consultant to the Inquiry.

Together, he said, the presentations comprised “5 I’s: Inquiry, Iraq and Syria, the ICC, and” – evoking the theme of the conference – “international law and why it matters.” Koh lauded the Inquiry’s report as “agenda-setting,” and its proposal for a means to civil redress as a “panda’s thumb” response that bears serious consideration. Koh envisaged that in some future administration the United States – the only country in the world not to have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child – might come to ratify the proposed new  protocol, as it has the optional protocols relating to children in armed conflict and the sale of children.

The panel thus trained attention on the harms children experience amid conflict and called for redoubled efforts to secure accountability and compensation for such harms.

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Georgia Law’s international law librarian, Anne Burnett, takes part in global conference in Malaysia

Pleased today to welcome a contribution from Anne Burnett, who has served since 1996 as the foreign and international law librarian at the University of Georgia School of Law Alexander Campbell King Law Library. She earned her B.A. degree from the University of Nevada, her J.D. cum laude from Georgia Law, and her MLIS from the University of Texas in Austin. Burnett teaches International Legal Research, among other courses, at Georgia Law, and is active in global societies, as indicated in the post below.

Over 3,500 librarians and information professionals gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this past August 24-30 for the World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), the annual conference of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). As Secretary of the Standing Committee for the IFLA Law Libraries Section (I’m at center in the Standing Committee photo at top), I participated in a week of meetings, educational programs, leadership workshops and strategic planning.

I became involved in the IFLA Law Libraries Section because of its work supporting the rule of law by promoting access to information and access to justice globally. Our section’s business meetings this year concentrated on planning upcoming workshops for law librarians in Senegal and the country of Georgia (the latter in conjunction with the Georgian-Norwegian Rule of Law Association). The section has conducted similar workshops in Croatia, Côte d’Ivoire and Uganda. These workshops spotlight open access to legal materials and also provide a nucleus for law librarian networks in the targeted regions. The section also discussed means of promoting the principles set forth in the IFLA Statement on Government Provision of Public Legal Information in the Digital Age, drafted by Section members and adopted by IFLA’s Governing Board, to encourage governments to ensure access to information, identified as a right in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

One of my greatest pleasures in serving as an officer of the Standing Committee is my collaboration with law and government librarians from all corners of the world who share a common goal of providing and preserving access to government and legal information. Our Section Standing Committee meetings this year included members and observers from Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, China, Canada, Australia and Europe.

The Section also sponsored two educational programs during the Kuala Lumpur conference:

  • In a program titled The Role of Government and Law Libraries in Times of Crisis and Turmoil, three speakers, including Law Librarian of Congress Jane Sanchez, provided examples of different roles played by government and law libraries in responding to crises and with access to justice initiatives and social advocacy projects.
  • A second program, titled Legal Capability: Law as a Life Skill, discussed programs in Canada and in the United States that seek to improve “legal capability” in the general population.

Additional programs of interest addressed global copyright issues, the impact of AI on information science, and providing services to indigenous populations.

The conference schedule allowed for some sightseeing opportunities. Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital and largest city of Malaysia, boasts record-setting skyscrapers housing national and international corporations, high-end fashion stores, insane traffic and delicious street food (right). The large convention center, where we met, is in the shadows of the twin towers (top right) of Malay’s Petroleum Company, Petronas, which are the emblematic symbol of the city. But KL’s architecture also reflects Portuguese, Dutch and British colonialism. The population is similarly diverse, with predominately Muslim Malaysians joined by significant Indian and Chinese populations. I was fortunate to take a trip to the outskirts of KL to see the Hindu temple at the Batu Caves (above left), an international pilgrimage site with imposing statues, natural limestone caves, and very friendly and bold resident Macaque monkeys!

During a day trip to the coastal town of Melaka (or Malacca), situated between KL and Singapore, I was struck by the stark contrast between the raucous Joncker Steet Night Market and the sobering architectural reminders of colonialism. The A Famosa Portuguese fort, built in the early 16th Century by forced indigenous labor, later fell under Dutch, then British control.  Modern independent Malaysia, however, embraces its position as an upper middle—income economy, and the Malaysians I met were excited about the energy and growth there.

For a report from the overall WLIC conference, including details of the Law Libraries Section’s business meetings, see the October issue of the FCIL SIS newsletter and the FCIS SIS blog post on the Law Libraries’ Section’s educational programs.

Scholarly achievements, thriving initiatives featured in newsletter of Dean Rusk International Law Center

For a recap of the year’s global law-and-practice accomplishments here at the University of Georgia School of Law, have a look at the just-published annual newsletter of the Dean Rusk International Law Center. Features include:

► Welcome to new professors, Melissa J. Durkee and Christopher Bruner, as well as scholarly achievements of our many other globally minded faculty and staff, including Diane Marie Amann, Jason Cade, Nathan S. Chapman, Harlan G. Cohen, Kathleen A. Doty, Matthew I. Hall, Walter Hellerstein, Laura Tate Kagel, Jonathan Peters, Lori Ringhand, Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Christian Turner, and Carol Watson.

Events past and future, including day-long conferences cosponsored with the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law, public lectures and our Consular Series of lunch talks with Atlanta-based diplomats, and cosponsorship of panels at regional and national international law meetings.

► Initiatives aimed at preparing our J.D. and LL.M. students for global legal practice, including our Global Externships and our Global Governance Summer School, plus support for students’ organizations and international advocacy teams.

The full newsletter is here.

 

LLM alums to meet prospective students in Brazil, Argentina

map_LLM fair_editLaw students, lawyers, and legal academics in Brazil and Argentina will soon have the opportunity to speak with graduates of the University of Georgia School of Law Master of Laws degree.

Two of our alums will attend university fairs in Curitiba and Buenos Aires sponsored by Education USA, an arm of the U.S. Department of State. They will be on hand personally to discuss the career benefits and special advantages of earning the Master of Law, or LL.M., degree at Georgia Law. (See prior posts about our current LLM students, as well as our hundreds of LLM alums, here.)

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EducationUSA is the US Department of State’s global network of educational advising centers that promotes the more than 4,700 accredited U.S. colleges and universities. Find the nearest advising center.

Wednesday, October 17 in Curitiba, Brazil: our alumnus Felipe Forte Cobo (LLM 2013), a magistrate judge, will participate in the fair. Join him from 17:00-20:00 at the Hotel Four Points by Sheraton, 4211, Av. Sete de Setembro, Agua Verde, PR.

Monday, October 22 in Buenos Aires, Argentina: our alumna Martina Lourdes Rojo (LLM 2004), a professor of law, will participate in the fair. Join her from 18:00-21:00 at the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center, San Martin 1225/1275, Buenos Aires.

Interested persons are invited to register and attend. And feel free to e-mail LLM[at]uga.edu in order to assure one-to-one meeting – or to correspond, in the event you’re unable to attend one of the fairs.

Hope to see you there!

In international law journal, Library Director Carol A. Watson publishes article on “fake news”

Critical reading is the core topic of the article that Carol A. Watson, Director of the Alexander Campbell King Law Library here at the University of Georgia School of Law, has just published in a Cambridge University Press law journal.

Watson’s article, “Information Literacy in a Fake/False News World: An Overview of the Characteristics of Fake News and its Historical Development,” 46 International Journal of Legal Information 93 (2018), stems from her panel presentation at the 2017 Annual Course of the International Association of Law Libraries.

Here’s an extract:

“Prior to designing strategies and information literacy programs to combat the dissemination and proliferation of fake/false news, it is instructive for legal information professionals to understand the characteristics of fake news and the context of its historical development.”

The full article is available here.

“Reaffirmed my passion for human rights”: Hanna Karimipour on her Global Externship with Brussels NGO No Peace Without Justice

IMG_7351This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our Global Governance Summer School or our Global Externship Overseas initiative. Author of this post is 2L Hanna Karimipour (right), who spent her 1L summer as a GEO, or Global Extern Overseas.

This summer, I had the opportunity to work at No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) in Brussels, Belgium, as part of the Global Externships Overseas (GEO) initiative. NPWJ was founded in 1993 to support the establishment and operation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). Since then, NPWJ has worked on human rights and accountability in conflict and post-conflict settings around the world.

I came to law school because I’ve always known that I wanted to work in international relations and on human rights issues. After spending my 1L year getting the basics of U.S. law down and taking one international law course, I was eager to gain meaningful exposure to international law practice at NPWJ. As I sat for my final exams, the thought of my upcoming externship, as well as all the Belgian frites and waffles I would eat, carried me through.

On arriving in Brussels, I was not disappointed. Right away, I was researching the actus reus for aiding and abetting liability for war crimes under Article 25(3)(c) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. I was struck by the challenges to international legal research. There is no single database that catalogues case law, and considering that the ICC is only sixteen years old, the available precedent is limited. Moreover, ad hoc criminal tribunals – in particular, the ICTY – may have helpful case law,  for the issue I was working on, but the approaches of each court vary widely, and their case law can even be contradictory. Although at first I was overwhelmed, by the end of the summer I found the process of combing through cases, the text of the Statute itself, travaux préparatoires, academic articles, and books to be a thrilling and surprisingly fun process.

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As a part of my GEO, I was also able to travel with NPWJ. I went on a two-day mission to Geneva, Switzerland to the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights. There, NPWJ was invited to represent civil society at the Joint UN/Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) Seminar on Human Rights for PAM Members of Parliaments. Also in Geneva, I visited the Palais des Nations to attend a panel on transitional justice in Tunisia. As someone whose childhood dream was to be a United Nations ambassador, it was utterly exciting to be in the Palais des Nations, right down an escalator from where the Human Rights Council was in session.

The highlight of my experience, however, came when I was able to gain experience in the field as part of a six-day mission to Gaziantep, Turkey. Gaziantep is located approximately 30 miles from the Syrian border – about half the distance from Athens to Atlanta! I assisted with a NPWJ training on negotiation for members of Syrian civil society. It was a powerful experience to contribute to giving organizations the tools to safeguard human rights and to ensure transitional justice occurs and in the midst of the conflict in Syria. During this mission, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with several Syrian people who are directly taking action to improve the situation. Before this summer, the possibility of doing human rights field work wasn’t even on my radar. Now, it is something I am seriously considering for after law school.

My GEO at NPWJ was one of the most valuable experiences I have had thus far in my education and career, and has reaffirmed my passion for human rights. Oh, and I got plenty of the frites and waffles, too. I am looking forward to continuing my exploration of international law on campus at Georgia Law.