Students in Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic win Board of Immigration Appeals case on behalf of asylum-seeker from Russia

Four students in the University of Georgia School of Law Appellate Litigation Clinic have just secured asylum relief for a Russian client, and in so doing earned hands-on experience in practicing law in today’s interconnected world.

The client, Rim Iakovlev, is a Jehovah’s Witness who had fled to the United States after a ruling by the Russian Supreme Court outlawed his religion. A U.S. immigration judge granted his petition for asylum. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security appealed. It was at this point that the Board of Immigration Appeals, through its pro bono project, appointed Georgia Law’s Appellate Litigation Clinic to represent asylum-seeker Iakovlev. The Board is an administrative appellate agency within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, U.S. Department of Justice.

Drafting the brief in the case, under supervision by Professor Thomas V. Burch, Director of the Appellate Litigation Clinic, were four Georgia Law students: 3Ls Wade H. Barron, C. Daniel Lockaby, and Sarah A. Quattrocchi, and 2L Addison Smith. Their brief stressed consistencies in the accounts given by Iakovlev and his wife, and also refuted the DHS contention that the asylum-seeker was obliged to present a letter from his congregation attesting to his status as a Jehovah’s Witness.

Upon reading the parties’ briefs, the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the immigration judge’s decision to grant Iakovlev’s petition for asylum. DHS chose not to appeal the Board’s decision, so that Iakovlev was released from detention last week.

Update from Nigeria: attorney Chukwudi Ofili, LLM Class of 2018, reflects on his post-graduation year

This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law LLM students, writing on their participation in our LLM degree and about their post-graduate experiences. Author of this post is alumnus Chukwudi Ofili, a member of the Class of 2018.

Chudi photoIt has been an eventful year for me. In January 2018, during my last semester at the University of Georgia, I began a corporate in-house counsel externship – an experiential learning opportunity open to qualified Georgia Law LLM students – at Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta There, I had the opportunity to work on issues such as cybersecurity, imports, and Office of Foreign Assets Control compliance.

Following graduation, I took the New York bar examination in July.  When I learned that I had passed, I was in London, participating in the highly selective International Lawyers For Africa (ILFA) 2018 Flagship Secondment Programme (IFSP), which each year places lawyers from various African jurisdictions at highly reputed international law firms and corporations for a period of three months. I was placed with Trinity International LLP, a niche project and corporate finance firm focusing on energy, infrastructure, resources, and industry. During my secondment, I worked on some international transactions, with focus on financing power and infrastructure projects across the African continent.

Chudi speechIFSP was an enriching and exciting experience. It included training programs and networking events that introduced the participants to some of the brightest minds in the international legal market, in diverse practice areas. In particular, the networking opportunities were immense and may not be replicated in our lives on such a scale. I was pleased to selected to deliver the valedictory address for the London IFSP cohort at the ILFA Gala Night, which marked the end of the program.

I am now happy to be back in Nigeria at Bloomfield Law Practice, in the Corporate, Securities, and Finance practice group. I was recently interviewed for an article in THISDAY Newspaper Nigeria Legal Personality of the Week. In the interview, I expressed my hopes for good prospects in 2019. The year is already off to a good start: I’ve just completed a co-authored article,  Recognition and Enforcement of Cross-Border Insolvency; Nigeria in Perspective.

I came to Georgia Law after working with my firm, Bloomfield Law Practice, having graduated with first-class honors from Babcock University in Nigeria. At Georgia Law, I was the recipient of a prestigious graduate research assistantship, and participated in the Business Law Society.

I will always recommend the Georgia Law LLM curriculum, as it is tailored to each student’s career goals; for example, preparing to sit for a U.S. bar exam, or pursuing a concentration. Plus, students come to find out that Athens (which is just about an hour away from Atlanta) is a lovely place for studies, with friendly people.

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. 

 

 

 

Remembering recent Georgia Law visit by Judge Patricia Wald (1928-2019)

Over the last decade it was my honor on occasion to invite Judge Pat Wald to join in a project, to contribute a writing or to speak at an event. Invariably she accepted with the same wry caveat: “Yes, if I am still here by then.” Happily she always was still “here,” enlivening every project to which she contributed. But now she is not. News media reported that Patricia Anne McGowan Wald died in her Washington home yesterday, having succumbed at age 90 to pancreatic cancer.

Many obituaries will focus on her prodigious and inspiring career in the United States: her journey, from a working-class upbringing in a single-parent family, to practice as a lawyer on child rights and in the Department of Justice, to service, in the District of Columbia Circuit, as the 1st woman Chief Judge of a U.S. Court of Appeals, and quite recently, as an Obama appointee to the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

We international lawyers also will recall Wald’s fierce service as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. There, she took part in noted judgments, among them a genocide conviction in Prosecutor v. Krstić and a “turning point” appellate ruling in Prosecutor v. Kupreškić.

Even after retiring from the ICTY, Judge Wald championed international criminal justice, placing particular emphasis on women. It was my privilege to welcome her interventions on these subjects, and at times to aid publication of her contributions (Pat’s computer savvy was, it must be said, rudimentary).

Just last year, our Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law was honored to publish Pat’s essay “Strategies to Promote Women’s Participation in Shaping International Law and Policy in an Era of Anti-Globalism,” based on remarks she’d given here at the University of Georgia School of Law Dean Rusk International Law Center. They were a highlight of our 10th birthday conference for IntLawGrrls blog, not least because Pat referred to us assembled scholars and practitioners as “you ‘young people’ in the room.” She traced the beginnings of international criminal justice, then said:

“I do not suggest that the process of integrating women as upfront participants in international courts, let alone the inclusion of the crimes most commonly committed against women as worthy subjects of international criminal law jurisprudence, has been completed. More accurately, these developments had just gotten off to a reasonable start at the moment that global politics seem to have begun to shift toward a so-called anti-globalist populism. My central point, therefore, is that we must strategize in the face of a desired, yet elusive future.”

Her strategies: ally to strengthen international law, international legal education, and global-mindedness in many sectors, including the arts; “protec[t] the venues in which women have had significant impact,” including the International Criminal Court and related forums; and work globally to raise women’s awareness “about educational opportunities, rights to land ownership and profits, how to start a small business, how to farm efficiently, how to participate in voting or run for office, and about legal rights to divorce or separation.”

Issues like these were prominent in a special issue of the International Criminal Law Review, “Women and International Criminal Law,” dedicated to the Honorable Patricia M. Wald, for which I served as a co-editor along with Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Beth Van Schaack, and Kathleen A. Doty. Wald herself wrote on “Women on International Courts: Some Lessons Learned” for vol. 11 no. 3 (2011). And as shown in that issue’s table of contents, additional contributors included many whom Judge Wald’s life and work had touched: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow, along with Kelly Askin, Karima Bennoune, Doris Buss, Naomi Cahn, Margaret deGuzman, Katharine Gelber, Laurie Green, Nienke Grossman, Rachel Harris, Dina Francesca Haynes, Jennifer Leaning, David Luban, Rama Mani, Jenny Martinez, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Katie O’Byrne, Lucy Reed, Leila Nadya Sadat, and David Tolbert. The issue stemmed from a 2010 roundtable (pictured below) that then-Executive Director Elizabeth “Betsy” Andersen hosted at the American Society of International Law, an organization Judge Wald long supported.

Pat’s support for IntLawGrrls predated this event. In 2009, she had contributed a trilogy of essays to the blog: 1st, “What do women want from international criminal justice? To help shape the law”; 2d, “What do women want? Tribunals’ due attention to the needs of women & children”; and 3d, “What do women want? International law that matters in their day-to-day lives”.

In keeping with the blog’s practice at that time, Pat dedicated her IntLawGrrls posts to a transnational foremother, “a wonderful German/Jewish woman, Gisela Konopka,” a University of Minnesota social work professor with whom Pat had collaborated in a lawsuit against the Texas Youth Authority. In her lifespan of 93 years, Konopka, Wald wrote, “fought in prewar Germany for children’s rights, was put in a concentration camp, managed to get out and work her way through occupied Europe to America, where she became the champion of children, especially girls, who got in trouble with the law.” Explaining how Konopka had influenced her, Judge Wald penned a sentence that today does service as her own epitaph:

“She inspired me as to what an older woman can do right up to the point of departure to help those behind.”

(Cross-posted from Diane Marie Amann)

Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann profiled by ATLAS women

img_2013cropProfessor Diane Marie Amann, holder of the Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law here at the University of Georgia School of Law and our Center’s Faculty Co-Director, was profiled at ATLAS yesterday, in a post written by the organization’s co-founder, barrister Sareta Ashraph.

ATLAS, which stands for “Acting Together: Law, Advice, Support,” is a community of female-identifying lawyers, activists, and jurists with expertise in public international law. Founded in 2012, the organization aims to create a space where women in the field can reach out to each other for information, career advice, and mentoring. ATLAS builds upon and is complementary to the ethos of IntlLawGrrls, a blog Amann founded in 2007. Her charter coeditors, as she notes, were Beth Van Schaack, Jaya Ramji-Nogales, and our Center’s Director, Kathleen A. Doty. Amann joins 8 other women so far featured by ATLAS.atlas+empowered+women+empower+women

In her profile, Amann reflects on her career path and its high points, including teaching, working with inspirational people such as Mireille Delmas-Marty, clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and serving as Special Adviser on children’s issues to Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Amann also comments on diversity of the profession, noting:

“Many (or perhaps, only some) in the profession have become more aware and more vocal on the need for diversity when it comes to gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. That has not yet translated into a level of progress that is both right and required. At the same time, there have been far fewer conversations, and less awareness, of the lack of diversity within our profession when it comes to class. There seem to be few international lawyers who come from a working-class background, who are in their family’s first college-going generation.”

Amann goes on to offer advice to young women hoping to work in international law: follow your heart; move towards the positive; never stop learning; build a network of friends and mentors; build skills; and find time to do the things that make you happy.

Read the full profile here.

Global Governance Summer School enriches our study abroad tradition

Leuven Dean Bart Kerremans provides statistical analyses of the political economy of the 2017 U.S. and 2017 French presidential elections

LEUVEN and BRUSSELS, Belgium – The 2017 Global Governance Summer School may have ended, but memories linger of a brilliant week in these 2 Belgian cities.

Bicycles line sidewalks all over the University of Leuven, also known as KU Leuven

The 2017 GGSS marked the 1st summer school collaboration between our Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law, and our Belgium partner, the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at the University of Leuven, one of Europe’s premier institutions of higher education since its founding in 1425.

At the same time, it contributed to Georgia Law’s long tradition of summer study in Belgium – a tradition that began in 1973 as the Brussels Seminar led by the late Professor Gabriel N. Wilner and supported by another Georgia Law professor, our Center’s namesake, Dean Rusk. Over the years hundreds of U.S. and European law students took part, sometimes launching careers in global practice. We’re proud to have continued the tradition with this year’s GGSS.

Leuven streetscape

As previously posted, our 2017 GGSS journey began at The Hague, political capital of the Netherlands, where students received professional development briefings at the International Criminal Court, the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, and the International Court of Justice.

The Leuven Institute is housed in the buildings of an Irish College founded in 1607

We then moved to Leuven, a centuries-old Flanders city about 15 miles west of Brussels. The lovely Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe was our home base for the week of June 25. Days were intense, while summery weather, late-evening sunsets, and endless lanes of historic buildings and convivial sidewalk cafes made for relaxing evenings.

The week began with students taking part in classroom seminars:

Leuven Professor Jan Wouters introduces global governance

Day 1 focused on “Global Governance and International Law: Concepts, Norms, Actors, and Processes,” and featured 4 lectures: “Global Governance: An Introduction” by Leuven Law Professor Jan Wouters, GGSS Co-Director and Leuven Centre Director; “A Classic Account of International Law” by Professor Diane Marie Amann, GGSS Co-Director; “International Organizations as Rulemakers” by Dr. Philip De Man, Leuven Centre Senior Researcher; “Why Global Governance?” by Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen.

Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann examines relationship between armed conflict and extraction of oil and other natural resources

Day 2 covered “Global Economic and Trade Governance,” with these lectures: “Concepts, Principles, and Issues: Global Economic and Trade Law” by Georgia Law Professor Cohen; “A Legal Perspective on Global Economic and Trade Law” by Leuven Law Professor Geert Van Calster; “International Commercial Responsibility” by Georgia Law Professor Amann; and “A Political Economic Perspective on Global Economic and Trade Governance” by Dean Bart Kerremans, head of Leuven’s Faculty of Social Sciences.

Leiden Professor Horst Fischer surveys human rights institutions

Day 3 shifted to “Global Human Rights, Rule of Law, and Security Governance.” Leiden Law Professor Horst Fischer began with a lecture on “Human Rights Governance”; then followed a lecture on “Rule of Law Governance” by as Dr. Nicolas Hachez, Leuven Centre Senior Researcher. The afternoon kicked off with a conversation on the practice of human rights law between Alison A. Smith, Legal Counsel at the Brussels NGO No Peace Without Justice, and Georgia Law Professor Amann.

Rusk Interim Director Kathleen A. Doty summarizes arms control law to prepare students for treaty negotiation exercise

Our Center’s Interim Director, Kathleen A. Doty, then led the GGSS students’ simulated negotiation of a treaty aimed at controlling the use of drones. The day concluded with a dialogue between Leuven Law Professor Dominik Steiger and Georgia Law Professor Cohen on “Withdrawal from International Organizations and Global Governance.”

These classroom sessions prepared students for Day 4, an expert conference on “International Law and Global Governance in Turbulent Times.”

Dr. Tom Pegram, University College London, addresses conference as panelists and other participants look on

Taking part in the 1st conference panel, “Global Governance of Human Rights,” were: Georgia Law Professor Amann; Leuven Centre researcher Anna-Luise Chané; Mercedes García Pérez, Head of Division-Human Rights, European External Action Service; Dr. Tom Pegram, Senior Lecturer, University College London; and Katrien Meuwissen, Development Officer, European Network of National Human Rights Institutions.

Speaking at the conference panel on “Global Governance of Democracy and Rule of Law” were: Bologna Political Science Professor Daniela Piana; Leuven Researcher Dr. Mattieu Burnay; Professor Laurent Pech, Middlesex University London; Leuven researcher Tim Courthaut; and Dr. Petra Bard of the Central European University-Budapest.

Georgia Law Professor Harlan G. Cohen (3d from right) speaks on developments in international trade

Closing the conference was a panel on “Global Economic and Trade Governance in Protectionist Times,” featuring Professor Miles Kahler, American University; Professor John Kirton, University of Toronto; Georgia Law Professor Cohen; Tomas Baert, European Commission, Head of Unit Trade Strategy; Professor Jean-Christophe Defraigne, Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles; and Professor Pieter de Wilde, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

GGSS concluded with a day in Brussels, capital of Belgium and home to many European and international legal institutions.

At NATO HQ in Brussels on final day of Global Governance Summer School: from left, Nils Okeson, Brian Griffin, Jennifer Cotton, Wade Herring, Nicholas Duffey, James Cox, Kathleen A. Doty, Kristopher Kobl, Lyddy O’Brien, Casey Callaghan, Ezra Thompson, Diane Marie Amann, Evans Horsley, and Eduard Snijders

Students took a morning tour of the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. There they learned about the work of NATO’s lawyers from member of the NATO Office of Legal Affairs, headed by Steven Hill. They lunched among NATO staffers and uniformed personnel from NATO’s 29 member states.

Alumnus Stephen Spinks briefs students on global legal practice

In Brussels’ “European quarter,” students stopped at the European Parliamentarium and then took part in a briefing at Sidley Austin LLP, a global law firm whose law practice all manner of global law fields, including trade, environment, life sciences, data privacy, and dispute settlement. Leading the briefing (right) was the managing partner of Sidley’s Brussels office, Stephen O. Spinks, who is a Georgia Law alumnus and member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council. As Spinks told student, he himself had studied in GGSS’ forerunner, the Brussels Seminar. He returned after receiving his J.D. degree, earned a master’s degree at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and began his career as a specialist in trade and competition/antitrust, law. Sprinks’ inspiring story capped a great week for students, many of whom are spending the balance of summer at Global Externships.

Poster outside the Koninklijk Paleis van Brussel, or Royal Palace of Brussels

Distinguished India-based alumna, Priti Suri, earns prestigious ABA award

Delighted to congratulate of our our distinguished LL.M. alumnae, Priti Suri, recipient of one of the most prestigious American Bar Association awards. (photo credit)

The ABA Section of International Law bestowed its Mayre Rasmussen Award for the Advancement of Women in International Law upon Suri Wednesday, at a luncheon during the Section’s Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. Regarding Suri’s award, the Section said:

“Priti’s role as a mentor and in opening doors for women and women lawyers in India make her the perfect candidate for the Mayre Rasmussen Award.”

In a LinkedIn post, Suri responded:

“I feel truly humbled, as the first Asian, to receive ABA’s Mayre Rasmussen career achievement award. To everyone who contributed – my incredible family, my friends, my co-workers, my teachers and to every single person who has been with me on this journey – a very big thank you. Miles and miles to go still….”

Suri is the founder-partner of PSA Legal Counsellors, an Indian business law firm with offices in New Delhi and Chennai. Its practice spans many industries, and includes cross-border M&A transactions, strategic investments, joint-ventures including tender and exchange offers, venture capital financings, structuring private equity deals, leveraged buyouts, and divestitures.

This week’s ABA honor comes not long after another: last October, Suri was named to the India Business Law Journal A-List of India’s top 100 lawyers.

Since earning her Master of Laws degree from in 1989, Suri has remained active in the University of Georgia School of Law community. She frequently welcomes Georgia Law students as part of our Global Externship Overseas, and she has been an officer of the LL.M. Alumni Association.

The ABA Rasmussen Award is named after “a pioneer in the field of international business law” who died in 1998, and is given

“to individuals who have achieved professional excellence in international law, encouraged women to engage in international law careers, enabled women lawyers to attain international law job positions from which they were excluded historically, or advanced opportunities for women in international law.”

Among the prior Rasmussen Award recipients is another member of our Georgia Law community, Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann.

Brava!