“Excited to pursue the conservation of biodiversity around the world”: Andrew Hedin on his Global Externship at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme

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 Andrew Hedin, a member of the Class of 2020 who spent his 1L summer as a GEO, or Global Extern Overseas.

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Malo! (“Hi” in Samoan.) This summer I lived in the tropical paradise of Samoa, working for the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). During my externship, I worked on environmental law issues and had the opportunity to attend a major conference in Fiji. Following my internship, I was invited to observe the first United Nations conference to work towards a treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity on the high seas.

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SPREP is an international governmental organization serving the fourteen island nations of the South Pacific, as well as five states with territories in the region, including the United States. Headquartered in Apia, the capital city of Samoa, SREP addresses environmental issues ranging from waste disposal to climate change to biodiversity. It also serves a data collection function, which facilitates identification and monitoring of environmental issues. The work of the organization is critical because the Pacific Island states encompass over fifteen million kilometers of marine territory, and are considered to be the largest source of marine biodiversity in the world. However, these ecosystems are fragile and have faced significant reduction due to increased human activity both within and outside the region.

20180724_123546During my externship, I worked closely with SPREP’s legal counsel, and participated in various projects on topics like preventing the practice of shark finning and banning the use of non-reusable plastics. My most extensive assignment related to the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Protocol seeks to ensure that there are predictable conditions for access to genetic material, and that the benefits of genetic resource research are shared with the country of origin. Thus, the Protocol requires parties to enter into a contract that obtains prior informed consent of the resource provider, clearly lays out the benefits to the providing community, and defines the scope of access for the user of the genetic resource. The Protocol also creates intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge associated with genetic material in order to protect indigenous communities’ use of local resources. I had the opportunity to assist in the drafting of model implementing legislation and contract templates, and to conduct an analyses of implementation issues in the Cook Islands and Tonga.

I was fortunate to travel with the access and benefits sharing team to Fiji to attend a conference on this topic hosted by the International Development Law Organization and the ABS Initiative. This provided a global context for my work; I learned about how the Nagoya Protocol was being implemented in other regions. It was also a tremendous opportunity to meet practitioners working in this area.

Faga-Loa BayThe opportunity to work on biodiversity was amplified by the chance to do so in Samoa. When I wasn’t working, I spent the summer exploring the natural wonders of the small island nation. Consisting of two main islands – Upolu and Savai’i – and eight small inlets, Samoa boasts an extensive coral reef ecosystem, pristine beaches, massive waterfalls, and miles upon miles of coconut trees. It is also home to 200,000 people, who keep alive one of the world’s oldest cultures. Family and community are integral to the Samoan way of life, and Samoans take great pride in maintaining traditions that have been passed down for thousands of years. One of these, familiar around the world, is the Samoan art of tatau, or tattooing. Practiced for more than 3000 years, the art involves tattooing from the waist to the knees, entirely by hand. The traditional tattoo is highly respected, symbolizing an individual’s determination, endurance, and ability to assume responsibility. While I did not get any tattoos, having the opportunity to see the incredible natural world of the Pacific renewed my resolve to forge a career in international environmental law to protect these valuable resources.

Hedin_UNAfter completing my internship with SPREP and returning to campus this fall, I was pleased to be selected by the American Society of International Law, of which the University of Georgia School of Law is an Academic Partner, to serve as an NGO observer at the United Nations. As noted in the most recent edition of the ASIL Newsletter, I attended the first Intergovernmental Conference for an international legally binding instrument, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

At the conference, I watched as state delegates, and representatives of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations debated the four foundational pillars of the potential agreement:

  • accessing marine genetic resources and sharing in their benefits;
  • area-based management tools;
  • environmental impact assessments; and
  • capacity building with associated marine technology sharing.

This experience was incredible because I observed firsthand how treaty negotiations begin. Although representatives discussed an array of issues and expressed many concerns, there was near-consensus on the importance of protecting the genetic diversity in our oceans. While this is no small task and there is a significant amount of work to be done, after observing the proceedings, I am optimistic that reaching an agreement is possible.

Tu Soa 4x5While I knew that I was interested in international environmental law, before this summer I had never heard of the Nagoya Protocol. Now, I have an understanding of the contracts that govern access to genetic resources, and of their value to indigenous communities. I also built a network of professionals doing great work to advance this initiative. I am incredibly grateful for my time in Samoa and at the UN, and am excited to build on these experiences to pursue the conservation of biodiversity around the world for the benefit of generations to come.

Learn about Georgia Law LL.M. degree at Atlanta info session Tuesday, Feb. 5

llm ad_Persons who have completed legal studies overseas are invited to learn about earning a University of Georgia School of Law Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree at a free information session this month at Atlantic Station in Atlanta.

The session will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, and hosted at the offices of Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, 171 17th Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30363 (click here for directions).

The LL.M. is a one-year, full-time degree designed for lawyers who trained in countries outside the United States and wish to study at the University of Georgia School of Law, a 160-year-old institution that is consistently ranked among the country’s top law schools.

Georgia Law LL.M. candidates study alongside J.D. candidates. Each LL.M. student pursues a flexible curriculum tailored to his or her career goals, including preparation to be eligible to sit for the Georgia or other U.S. bar examination. Details about this decades-old initiative may be found at our website and in posts at this blog of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, the law school unit that administers the LL.M. degree.

Among those speaking at the information session will be our Center’s Associate Director for International Professional Education, Dr. Laura Kagel, as well as graduates of the LL.M. degree, who will talk about the student experience at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Other topics to be discussed at the information session include:

  • benefits of obtaining an LL.M.
  • putting together a strong application
  • costs and financial aid
  • career options for LL.M. graduates
  • steps toward preparing to take a U.S. bar examination

Interested persons are invited to register at no cost. Light refreshments will be served.

We look forward to seeing you and answering your questions there!

Alumnus Kevin Conboy lectures on marketing and sales in legal profession

img_5791_crpLast week, Kevin Conboy (JD 1979), delivered a lecture at the University of Georgia School of Law, “Where do Clients Come From? Marketing and Sales in the Practice of Law.” The event, designed for students seeking to build an international practice, was followed by a reception.

In his lecture, Conboy emphasized the importance of business development for lawyers. He covered preparation for a career after law school, and provided an overview of good lifelong marketing habits. In particular, he offered practical advice about networking skills, which students had the opportunity to practice at the reception after the event. Conboy’s talk at the Law School was based on his 2016 article, Inventory Less Sales Equals Scrap: Legal Education’s Largest Lacuna, published in the Transactions: Tennessee Journal of Business Law.  

Conboy is a retired partner at Paul Hastings and at Powell Goldstein LLP. His practice included cash-flow lending, asset-based lending, the financing of leveraged buyouts, and representation of banks and other financial institutions lending to cable television, radio, cellular and other technology and communications media. He is also the former President of the Irish Chamber of Atlanta, and served as a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Marvin H. Shoob, U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Georgia. Conboy is a graduate of LeMoyne College and the University of Georgia School of Law. 

 

 

 

Georgia Law faculty take part in ASIL Midyear Meeting and Research Forum

From left, Melissa J. Durkee, Diane Marie Amann, Kathleen A. Doty, and Harlan G. Cohen

Four members of our University of Georgia School of Law faculty took part last weekend in the American Society of International Law Midyear Meeting and Research Forum at UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles.

Diane ASIL► Professor Diane Marie Amann, the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of our Dean Rusk International Law Center, presented “Glimpses of Women at the Tokyo Tribunal,” which will appear as a chapter in a forthcoming volume commemorating this week’s 70th anniversary of the judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. Amann, who is serves as a Counselor of the American Society of International Law, also took part in the Society’s Executive Council meeting.

Professor Harlan G. Cohen, holder of the Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professorship in International Law and Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, participated in the meeting of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of International Law. He was elected to the Board last year and serves as Editor of AJIL’s International Decisions section.MJDurkee

◄ Professor Melissa J. Durkee presented her work, “The New Functional Sovereignty: Private Authority in Global Governance,” on a panel exploring the roles of corporations in international law.

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► Center Director Kathleen A. Doty offered career advice to current law students and recent graduates as part of ASIL’s International Law Speed Networking. This event was part of a series of offerings at the Midyear Meeting aimed at professional development for students and early-career lawyers.

 

“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.

“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.

LL.M. academic year kicks off at Georgia Law

LLMbrochureCLR2017It’s an exciting time for the LL.M. degree at Georgia Law: orientation for new students began today at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, as we welcomed sixteen foreign-educated lawyers from around the world to Georgia Law. They will begin classes alongside J.D. students next week.

Soon to open is the application for the LL.M. class of Fall 2019 — on September 1, 2018 — via LSAC. Generous merit scholarships will be awarded to top candidates who apply by January 15, 2019. Graduates of law schools outside the United States who are interested in studying at Georgia Law are encouraged to contact us for more information.

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Several University of Georgia staff members have also recently returned from the EducationUSA Forum 2018 in Washington D.C., including Dr. Laura Kagel, our Center’s Associate Director for International Professional Education, Robin Catmur, Director of Immigration Services, and Chenelle Goyen, Associate Director of Admissions and International Admissions for undergraduate students. 1The Forum, hosted by EducationUSA, a U.S. Department of State network of over 425 international student advising centers in more than 175 countries, offered an array of panels focused on international recruiting trends and best practices.

Stay tuned for more information about our incoming LL.M. class; it’s shaping up to be a great year!