“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.

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.

 

“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.

Summer 2018 GEOs & Summer School: Georgia Law Students take off around the globe

Globe (002)_kdIn the weeks ahead, 13 rising 2L and 3L students at the University of Georgia School of Law will depart for Global Externship Overseas (GEO) and Global Externship At Home (GEA) placements all around the world. Administered by the Dean Rusk International Law Center, the GEO and GEA initiatives place Georgia Law students in externships lasting between four and twelve weeks, and offer students the opportunity to gain practical work experience in a variety of legal settings worldwide.

This summer, GEO students will undertake placements in law firms, in-house legal departments, nongovernmental organizations, and intergovernmental organizations across Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. Practice areas include: dispute resolution, corporate law, international trade law, intellectual property law, international human rights law, refugee law, cultural heritage law, and international environmental law.

This year’s GEO class includes the following students, who will complete placements in private law settings:

  • Brooke Carrington (2L) – Buse Heberer Fromm, Frankfurt, Germany
  • Brad Gerke (3L) – Ferrero S.A., Luxembourg
  • Ashley Henson (2L) – PwC, Turin, Italy
  • Maddie Neel ­(2L) – GÖRG, Cologne, Germany
  • Nicole Song (2L) – Araoz y Rueda, Madrid, Spain

Additionally, the following students will work in public interest law placements:

  • Zoe Ferguson (2L) – War Child, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Drew Hedin (2L) – Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Apia, Samoa
  • Hanna Karimipour (2L) – No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, Belgium
  • Matt Isihara (3L) – Boat People SOS, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Devon Pawloski (2L) – Documentation Centre of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Frances Plunkett (2L) – Open Society Justice Initiative, The Hague, Netherlands

Last, but certainly not least, two students will undertake GEA placements in Washington, D.C.:

  • Casey Callahan (3L) — International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Caroline Harvey (2L) – The Antiquities Coalition

Finally, during the first ten days of July, eight Georgia Law students will gather in Leuven, Belgium for the Global Governance Summer School, which the Center again co-presents with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies. Students will spend several days in classroom sessions at Leuven, and then spend two days in Brussels: one to attend a high-level policymaking event, and the other on professional development visits at a law firm, a nongovernmental organization, and an intergovernmental organization.  The group will then proceed to The Hague, Netherlands, for several days of briefings at international courts and tribunals and other cultural excursions.

Join us in wishing these students an unforgettable summer, and stay tuned for travel updates in the coming months!

International lawyer Christine Keller, our Center’s new Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation

KellerWe’ve just welcomed a new international lawyer to the Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia School of Law: Christine Keller, our new Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation.

In that position, she’ll enhance our 40-year-old Center’s mission by developing and administering global practice preparation initiatives,  including: the Global Governance Summer School we host in the Netherlands and Belgium, in partnership with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies, University of Leuven; our Global Externships Overseas and At-Home; academic-year events programming and support; communications; and research initiatives.

It’s a bit of a homecoming for Christine, who was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia – she earned her A.B. in Political Science with honors, and was a member of the university’s NCAA champion women’s swim team. She also holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School (with a focus on international criminal law), a J.D. from the Santa Clara University School of Law (where she was a member of the Jessup International Moot Court team and a Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellow), and an M.A. in International Policy Studies from Stanford University.

She comes to us from The Hague in the Netherlands, where for the last decade she has practiced international criminal law. At the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, her positions included: Associate Legal Officer and then a Legal Officer in Chambers, working on the Tolimir and Karadžić cases and leading a team of attorneys on an aspect of the Prlić appeal. Before that, she worked as an Assistant Legal Officer to two successive judges of Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court. She also provided research and drafting assistance in the Office of the Prosecutor, on cases including Al Bashir and issues including victim participation. She also has worked at a San Francisco nongovernmental organization, the Center for Justice and Accountability, on topics such as European universal jurisdiction, human rights violations in Guatemala and Somalia, and the Alien Tort Statute.

Christine has studied abroad in Germany and El Salvador, is proficient in French, and has a working knowledge of Spanish.

We’re delighted to welcome her!

Student Rebecca Wackym on her GEO at Hebron Rehabilitation Committee

This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our 2017 Global Governance Summer School or Global Externship Overseas initiative. Author of this post is 2L Rebecca Wackym, who spent her 1L summer as a GEO, or Global Extern Overseas.

For six weeks this summer, I lived and worked in the ancient and industrial city of Hebron (in Arabic, “Al-Khalil”) in the southern West Bank. Hebron is often touted as a “microcosm” of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And for good reason: Hebron’s contested Old City district is home to both 30,000 Palestinians and 500-800 Israeli settlers, the latter protected by approximately 2,000 Israeli troops.

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At the center of the Old City and the conflict in Hebron is the Ibrahimi Mosque. It is the burial place of the patriarchs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah. It is the oldest religious building in the world that has been continually used for its original purpose, and it is the only religious building that serves as both a mosque and a synagogue. Much like the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock area, the Ibrahimi Mosque has been the subject of a tug of war between the Israelis and Palestinians since the occupation began.

The organization I worked for, Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC), is on the front lines of the battle for cultural heritage rights. HRC succeeded in its efforts to designate the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Old City of Hebron as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger. During my time in Hebron, I worked with the Legal Unit of Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, which was founded to respond to human rights violations against the Palestinian citizens of the Old City, particularly violations pertaining to personal and public property.

Wackym6.jpgThe Legal Unit of the HRC uses several legal and policy strategies to achieve this purpose. These include: filing domestic complaints against Israeli Defense Forces orders; filing complaints with various international human rights bodies; conducting international awareness campaigns; and directly educating Palestinians about their rights. I had the opportunity to work on several of these complaints. On one filed with the United Nations Human Rights Council, I did research on Israeli case law.  My research involved the exhaustion of domestic remedies requirement in the context of road closure cases, in which the courts typically do not get involved if the closure can be justified by a “security-related” reason. I also wrote a complaint to the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. For this project, I conducted interviews with victims, compiled evidence, and researched relevant military orders and case law.

The transition from living in the United States to living in a conservative, Muslim-majority place was daunting, but my supervisor, Nicole Trudeau, did everything she could to ease the culture shock. She introduced me to her Palestinian friends and invited me to eat with local residents of the Old City. I felt very welcome and even at home during my time in Hebron. The professional culture was more relaxed than in the United States – the office closed at 3 pm, and tea breaks were customary– but I was surprised to find that it was also almost as progressive. Women outnumbered men in the office and had leadership roles. It was an eye-opening to see a conservative culture value women in the workforce.

During my externship with HRC, I received an invaluable education not only in human rights, cultural heritage, and humanitarian law practice, but also in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and their respective cultures. I spent weekends traveling all over Israel and the West Bank. I spoke with members of the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian soldiers, young people in Tel Aviv and Ramallah, settlers in Hebron, and local and international activists just trying to make the situation better. The experience was absolutely incredible. And I will never forget the friends I left in Hebron. Salam!

An adventure in Germany: GEO student Nick Duffey on his externship at GÖRG

This is the 1st in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our 2017 Global Governance Summer School and Global Externship Overseas initiatives. Author of this post is 2L Nick Duffey.

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Before my Global Externship Overseas, I had an interest in transnational business, taxation, and trade, but I did not understand how businesses from different countries resolved their disputes. After spending my 1L summer working at GÖRG, a law firm in Cologne, Germany, it is amazing how much more perspective I have on international business law and practice.

International business transactions affect our everyday lives, from the products we use to the services we need to maintain our lifestyles and businesses. Most transactions, whether for the manufacture and shipping of products or for services rendered by a party from one nation to another, contain arbitration clauses or provide for another means of alternative dispute resolution. These dispute resolution mechanisms were the precise focus of my work at GÖRG.

My favorite project during my internship was an emergency arbitration at the 20170707_134329.jpgInternational Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration. The entire process, from start to finish, lasted only fifteen days. During this intense period, I was given a particular issue to research, and I was thrilled when the material I found was cited by the arbitrator in the order. The opportunity to see the whole arbitration action from start to finish, and to be integrated into the team working on the project, was very interesting.

I also worked on a project to compare the cost and rates of various arbitration institutions with the cost of litigating in the German court system. The goal was to determine the price at which each arbitration institution broke even with German courts. This required a lot of math and conversion of different currencies. Ultimately, I wrote a memo on my findings and created a presentation to demonstrate to clients the value of arbitration.

20170702_200454.jpgLiving and working in Germany was an adventure. The GÖRG building sits just north of the Deutzer Brücke, a bridge over the Rhine River in Köln; that is, Cologne. It is a modern building with seven floors. I shared an office with a German intern, and she was very helpful when I had questions about the German courts and legal system. I am also grateful to Christof Siefarth, a partner at the firm and an LL.M. graduate of Georgia Law, for his mentorship during the course of the summer and for organizing my externship.

In my free time, I had the chance to participate in cultural events and to travel within Germany. During Kölner Lichter, an annual festival of lights, people from all over Germany flocked to the city to watch the boat parade on the Rhine. I took a day trip south of Köln to visit Castle Drachenfels, a beautiful castle with a rich history. I also spent a weekend in Berlin, a must-see city in Germany. I enjoyed wonderful brunches until late in the afternoon, and visited sights such as the Brandenburg gate, Museum Island, and the Berlin Wall memorial, including the East Side Gallery.

Participating in a GEO at GÖRG is one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I have a new interest in arbitration, and I plan to apply to work at an international arbitration center this coming summer. I look forward to building a career in this field because I want to better understand the way businesses clash and resolve issues on an international level. This summer was amazing not only because I garnered valuable practical legal experience, but also because I got to do so on a wonderful adventure that I will remember for life.