Georgia Law students bound for summer Global Externships with law firms, corporations, NGOs across the globe

Eleven Georgia Law students will earn global practice experience this summer through the Global Externship Overseas initiative of the Dean Rusk International Law Center here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Through the GEO initiative, students enhance their legal studies by working for law firms, in-house legal departments, and nongovernmental organizations. This summer’s placements are based in Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Practice areas include dispute resolution, data privacy, corporate law, refugee law, cultural heritage law, international human rights law, and international criminal law.

This year’s GEO class includes these placements in private-sector legal settings:

These students will work for nongovernmental organizations:

More information here about GEOs and other Dean Rusk International Law Center initiatives. (image credit)

Georgia Law students take part in ASIL annual meeting through Louis B. Sohn Professional Development Fellowships

Still holding warm memories of this year’s American Society of International Law Annual Meeting are the four University of Georgia School of Law students who volunteered at last month’s gathering of international lawyers in Washington, D.C. Pictured above, they are, from left, LL.M. candidates Agustina Figueroa Imfeld and Veronika Grubenko, along with 1Ls Jack Schlafly and John Carter.

Once again this year, Louis B. Sohn Professional Development Fellowships, awarded by the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, supported the students’ travel to the April 2022 conference. (Prior posts here, here, and here.)

Meeting students and professionals from many locales was rewarding, Grubenko said. “Each of them shared their knowledge of preparing and sitting for various bar exams, job search, and university experiences.” For those students who had never visited Washington before, the opportunity to visit historical landmarks, at a time when the famed cherry blossoms still were in bloom, was most welcome.

In addition to assisting with annual meeting logistics, all four attended “Privatizing International Governance,” a session chaired by Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is Associate Dean for International Programs, Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Allen Post Professor here at Georgia Law.

Many other sessions also were of interest, on issues ranging from transnational discovery of e-evidence to international criminal law. In the words of Figueroa Imfeld:

“There were so many pressing issues being discussed: climate change, shareholder activism, migration, war, sanctions, digital privacy, etc. It was particularly interesting to hear from lawyers on the opposite sides of those issues, which made me rethink a lot of my own opinions about them.”

Citing in particular remarks delivered by Chile Eboe-Osuji, former President of the International Criminal Court, on the ICC’s jurisdiction over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Carter described the annual meeting as “highly engaging” and “intellectually stimulating,” adding that it “helped expose me to career paths that I can model as I move forward in law school.” Echoing him was Schlafly, who said: “Attending the ASIL conference further confirmed my desire to work in international law.”

Georgia Law students named top oralists, and team finishes in world’s top 16, at Jessup International Law Moot Court

Our exceptionally talented team of University of Georgia School of Law students – 2Ls Millie Price, Courtney Robinson, Caleb Grant, James Stewart, and Alex Krupp – competed last week through to the Octofinals of one of the world’s most prestigious law tournaments, the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

2022 Georgia Law Jessup team: clockwise from upper left, Caleb Grant, James Stewart, Alex Krupp, Millie Price, Courtney Robinson

Making their achievement even sweeter, team member Robinson tied as the best overall oralist through the Advanced Rounds, while teammate Stewart was named fifth best. They and they teammates prepared written memorials and gave oral arguments as if they were appearing before the International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the United Nations which adjudicates international law disputes.

In reaching the Octofinals, the Georgia Law team bested many other competitors, in a tournament that attracted nearly 3,500 students from about 700 law schools in 100 countries and jurisdictions. They lost in that International Round to a team from Canada’s University of Western Ontario. Winning the entire tournament was Harvard, against whom Georgia had competed last month in Jessup’s U.S. championship round.

Leading the team were 3L coach Courtney Hogan and faculty advisor/coach Anna White Howard, both themselves former Jessup advocates.

The team benefited from moots and other assistance by many members of the Georgia Law community, including: Professor Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Professors Diane Marie Amann and Harlan Grant Cohen, the Center’s Faculty Co-Directors; Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge; Kellie Casey, Director of Advocacy; Anne Burnett, Foreign and International Law Librarian; Professors Nathan S. Chapman, Rob McNiff, and Lori A. Ringhand; and alums, Judge Ben Cheesbro, Ellen Clarke, Erik Chambers Myra Creighton, Amy Helmick, and Roger Grantham..

The Washington, D.C.-based International Law Students Association is Jessup’s primary host, with the law firm of White & Case sponsoring the International Rounds as well as some national competitions.

Immigrants and rights of free speech, free exercise of religion topic of Georgia Law Review symposium March 18

“Immigrants and the First Amendment: Defining the Borders of Noncitizen Free Speech and Free Exercise Claims” is the title of this year’s annual day-long symposium of the Georgia Law Review, to be held Friday, March 18, in hybrid format at the University of Georgia School of Law. Featured will be a keynote by immigrant activist Ravi Ragbir, the plaintiff in a high-profile federal lawsuit alleging retaliation for activism.

Here’s the concept note:

“Immigration law, as well as immigrant activism, are intersecting with the First Amendment in new and surprising ways. This year’s Georgia Law Review Symposium will bring together a diverse set of voices to discuss these exciting new crossovers, providing a forum to explore the nuances of the First Amendment’s scope as applied to immigrants, immigrant advocates, and potential immigrants outside of the country. This is an area of law that is becoming increasingly more topical, and many questions that arise from these areas remain unanswered or ambiguous.”

Details and registration here for the conference, which will take place in-person in the Larry Walker Room on the 4th floor of Georgia Law’s Dean Rusk Hall, and which also welcomes online attendees.

Following opening remarks at 9 a.m., panels will proceed as follows:

9:10-10:35 a.m., “Immigrant Speech and Government Retaliation”

“Despite being entitled to First Amendment rights, immigrants, particularly those without documentation, are highly vulnerable to government suppression of, or retaliation against, their exercise of free speech rights. Recent or ongoing cases in this area include Oldaker v. Giles in the Middle District of Georgia, which concerns first amendment claims brought on behalf of women alleging retaliation for medical abuse at an immigration detention center; and Ragbir v. Homan, which concerns the government’s retaliatory deportation of prominent immigrant rights activists.”

Speaking within that theme on this first panel of the morning will be: Alina Das, Professor of Clinical Law, New York University School of Law; Charles H. Kuck, Managing Partner of Kuck Baxter LLC, an immigration law firm in Atlanta, and an Adjunct Professor at Emory University School of Law; Daniel I. Morales, Associate Professor of Law and George A. Butler Research Professor, University of Houston Law Center; and Clare R. Norins, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the First Amendment Clinic at Georgia Law. Moderating will be Jason A. Cade, who is Associate Dean for Clinical Programs, Experiential Learning and J. Alton Hosch Associate Professor of Law, and Community Health Law Partnership Clinic Director at Georgia Law.

10:35 a.m.-12 noon, “Back to the Future: Immigrant Speech Rights Yesterday and Tomorrow”

“From John Lennon to Charlie Chaplin to many less famous immigrants, United States immigration history is riddled with deportation or exclusion decisions based on immigrants’ expression. Looking to the future, it is possible that constitutional free speech rights are best shored up by legislative and administrative solutions.”

Speaking within that theme on this last morning panel will be: Michael Kagan, Joyce Mack Professor of Law and Director of the Immigration Clinic at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada-Las Vegas; Jennifer Koh, Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Nootbaar Institute for Law at the Caruso School of Law, Pepperdine University, Malibu, California; Julia Rose Kraut, author of Threat of Dissent: A History of Ideological Exclusion and Deportation in the United States (Harvard University Press 2020); and Gregory P. Magarian, Thomas and Karole Green Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. Moderating will be Jonathan Peters, Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications, who also holds a courtesy appointment on the Georgia Law faculty.

1-2:20 p.m., “The First Amendment’s Limits Abroad After Trump v. Hawaii: Free Exercise, Executive Power, and Justiciability”

“Trump v. Hawaii is the most recent high-profile iteration of immigration actions allegedly taken on the basis of religion. In addition to exploring first amendment issues respecting the religion of potential migrants, this panel will also cover issues relating to the differences in executive power as it pertains to potential immigrants as opposed to immigrants already on U.S. soil, as well as the difficulties associated with immigrants vindicating asserted constitutional rights from abroad.”

Speaking within that theme on this afternoon panel will be: Christopher Lund, Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Professor of Law, Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan; Zachary Price, Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of the Law; and Shalini Bhargava Ray, Associate Professor of Law, University of Alabama School of Law. Moderating will be Nathan S. Chapman, Pope F. Brock Associate Professor in Professional Responsibility at Georgia Law.

2:20-3:15 p.m., “Keynote Address” by Ravi Ragbir, followed by a closing reception.

Georgia Law at top in international law, Center-administered NATO externship featured in national preLaw magazine

The just-released issue of preLaw magazine places the University of Georgia School of Law among the United States’ top international law curriculums; in so doing, it features an initiative of our Dean Rusk International Law Center.

In an article entitled “25 Most Innovative Law Schools,” author Michelle Weyenberg reports (page 42) on a valued partnership which Georgia Law entered several years ago with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Georgia Law’s “NATO externship,” she writes, “is a full-time, semester-long externship in the legal department of the NATO Allied Command Transformation.” She then describes experiences by our most recent extern, 3L Davis Wright, who worked in-person in Norfolk, Virginia, throughout the Fall 2021 semester (prior post):

“Third-year law student Davis Wright said his experience in the program last semester challenged him and provided an opportunity to make a substantial impact with the intergovernmental military alliance. Wright said he had the opportunity to work on an overhaul of general term and conditions throughout HQ SACT and in its subordinate commands, and to research whether NATO information is protected under U.S. laws against espionage.”

The NATO externship is one of many with international components in Georgia Law’s D.C. Semester in Practice initiative, directed by Georgia Law Professor Jessica Heywood, and also one of our Center’s many Global Externships Overseas and At-Home (GEO/GEA), administered by Sarah Quinn, our Center’s Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation.

Georgia Law Appellate Litigation Clinic secures final relief for client in case invoking Convention Against Torture

The U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals has granted relief to the petitioner in Arellano Herrera, a case on which the Appellate Litigation Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law has worked for over two years.

As detailed in prior posts here and here, in September 2020, Georgia Law students in the Clinic briefed and argued the case, Arellano Herrera v. Barr, to a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Their argument turned on the non-refoulement, or non-return, obligations the United States took on when it ratified the 1984 Convention Against Torture, or CAT. Two months later, the appellate court held that the Board of Immigration Appeals incorrectly had applied the clear error standard when reversing the Immigration Judge’s decision to grant petitioner’s request for withholding of removal.

Subsequently, on remand before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Clinic argued that the Immigration Judge did not clearly err in findings key to the CAT-based claim:

  • 1st, that if returned to Mexico, the petitioner would more likely than not be tortured by cartel members, with the acquiescence of one or more public officials; and
  • 2d, it would be unreasonable to expect the petitioner to relocate within Mexico in order to avoid that torture.

A Board of Immigration Appeals panel has just agreed, thus reinstating the Immigration Judge’s original decision and, as a result, finally affording the petitioner the relief she long had sought.

The Clinic team included 3 students, since graduated from Georgia Law: Jason N. Sigalos, Mollie M. Fiero and John Lex Kenerly IV. They worked under the supervision of Thomas V. Burch, the Clinic’s Director, and Anna White Howard, the Clinic’s Counselor in Residence.

Dean Rusk International Law Center hosts “International Law and the Ukraine-Russia Conflict,” featuring Georgia Law Professors Amann, Cohen, and Durkee

Nearly a hundred members of the University of Georgia School of Law community took part Wednesday in “International Law and the Ukraine-Russia Conflict,” a forum hosted by our Dean Rusk International Law Center and presented by three international law experts on the law school’s faculty.

The armed conflict began on February 24, 2022, when Russian military troops invaded the neighboring state of Ukraine, entering the latter country at points on its northern, eastern, and southern borders. At this writing just a week later, thousands of persons, civilians and combatants alike, reportedly had been killed, and, according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, more than a million Ukrainians had been forcibly displaced.

At Wednesday’s forum, each of the three Georgia Law professors first offered a brief overview of a particular aspect of the armed conflict:

  • Our Center’s Director, Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, who is also Associate Dean for International Programs and Allen Post Professor, began by outlining the international rules that have outlawed aggressive war – that is, one country’s unjustified invasion of another – since the adoption of the 1945 Charter of the United Nations. She explained why reasons that Russia has put forward do not constitute legally valid justifications for the invasion, and further emphasized the threat that Russia’s actions place on the international rules-based order that came into being after the Allied victory in World War II. In so doing, Durkee cited a UN General Assembly resolution, adopted Wednesday by a huge majority of votes, which condemned Russia’s actions as violative of this order.
  • Next came Harlan Grant Cohen, who is Gabriel M. Wilner/UGA Foundation Professor in International Law and one of our Center’s 2 Faculty Co-Directors. Cohen focused on economic sanctions that have been levied against Russia in the last week, by individual countries including the United States and also by international organizations including the European Union. While noting that these types of economic actions had been developed in response to Iran’s nuclear program, Cohen stressed that the extent and impact of the sanctions already imposed against Russia is unprecedented.
  • Then followed our Center’s other Faculty Co-Director, Diane Marie Amann, who is also Regents’ Professor of International Law and Emily & Ernest Woodruff Chair in International Law. She addressed international humanitarian law, the body of law concerned with the ways that armies and armed groups actually conduct the war. She underscored that this body of law concerns itself with all sides of the conflict, regardless of who started the conflict: fighters on either side may be found liable for violations, and thus charged with war crimes. Amann concluded with a look at forums already engaged to review legal issues arising out of the war, among them the European Court of Human Rights, International Criminal Court, and International Court of Justice.

The forum concluded with a lively and wide-ranging question-and-answer period.

Georgia Law team places 2d in US championship, preparing for upcoming international rounds in Jessup Moot

Proud to announce that a team of talented University of Georgia School of Law students competed Sunday in the US National Championship of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Although it lost to Harvard after having defeated many others among the 84 American teams that competed, the team’s success earned it an invitation to compete in the International Rounds set to begin in late March.

The team members are 2Ls Millie Price, Courtney Robinson, Caleb Grant, James Stewart, and Alex Krupp (pictured above, clockwise from lower right). Robinson won recognition as the 4th best overall oralist, and Stewart as the 14th best, in the US tournament. Leading the team were 3L coach Courtney Hogan and faculty advisor/coach Anna White Howard, both themselves former Jessup advocates.

The team benefited from moots and other assistance by many members of the Georgia Law community, including: Professor Melissa J. “MJ” Durkee, Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, and Professors Diane Marie Amann and Harlan Grant Cohen, the Center’s Faculty Co-Directors; Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge; Kellie Casey, Director of Advocacy; Anne Burnett, Foreign and International Law Librarian; Professors Nathan S. Chapman, Rob McNiff, and Lori A. Ringhand; and alums, Judge Ben Cheesbro, Ellen Clarke, and Erik Chambers.

The Jessup is the world’s largest moot court competition, with upwards of 3,500 students, from more than a hundred countries, competing. Their teams prepare briefs and give oral arguments as if they were appearing before the International Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the United Nations which adjudicates international law disputes between sovereign nation-states. The Washington, D.C.-based International Law Students Association is the primary host, with the law firm of White & Case sponsoring the International Rounds as well as some national competitions.

Georgia Law coursework begins for inaugural class of students seeking Graduate Certificate in International Law

Graduate Certificate in International Law students tour Hirsch Hall at the University of Georgia School of Law Friday, in anticipation of the new semester beginning this week.

This New Year marks the arrival of the inaugural class of Graduate Certificate in International Law students here at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Through the initiative of the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center, postgraduate students from other disciplines within the university will earn this academic certificate following their successful completion, in classes alongside J.D., LL.M., and M.L.S. students, of fifteen credit hours chosen from among the law school’s rich comparative, transnational, and international law curriculum; courses include Public International Law, International Human Rights, International Trade Law, Immigration Law, International Law Colloquium, and Global Governance.

The seven students comprising the first class include:

  • Four doctoral students: from the School of Public and International Affairs, Alma Bajramović, a Ph.D. candidate who is researching conflict and conflict resolution, with a focus on the Balkans; from the Mary Frances Early College of Education, Leslyn Beckles, candidate for a Ph.D. in Learning, Leading, and Organization Development, whose research concentrates on women political leaders in the Caribbean; and from the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Isaac Torres, a Ph.D. candidate in Bioinformatics who examines artificial intelligence and statistical models to address complex biology problems, and Jasmine Underwood, a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology interested in gender, development and social change, and political sociology.
  • Three master’s students, all from the School of Public and International Affairs: Megan Gerken and Nelson Millan Nales, both pursuing Master of Public Administration degrees, and Michael Sway, a candidate for the Master of International Policy degree.

Details on application of and matriculation toward the Graduate Certificate in International Law are available here and by contacting the initiative’s administrator, Sarah Quinn, Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation at the Dean Rusk International Law Center, squinn[at]uga.edu.

Georgia Law 3L Davis Wright on his externship in Virginia: “My time at NATO helped me grow as an aspiring lawyer, law student, and person.”

Pleased today to welcome this post by University of Georgia School of Law student Davis Wright, who describes his just-completed his Fall 2021 externship in Norfolk, Virginia, in the legal department of HQ SACT, a leading unit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. This externship is administered by our law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center in partnership with NATO Allied Command Transformation. Davis arrived at Georgia Law with a background in international relations and politics, having competed in Model United Nations and worked for a member of the Dáil Éireann. His experiences at Georgia Law have included service as a Dean Rusk International Law Center Student Ambassador and J.D.-to-LL.M. liaison. He is due to receive his J.D. degree this May, and then to begin practice as an Associate at the Atlanta office of Jones Day.

Working in the Office of the Legal Advisor at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (HQ SACT) in Norfolk, Virginia, was an exciting and rewarding experience. In the time I was at HQ SACT I grew substantially, in personal, academic, and professional aspects.

Personal growth

During the time I spent at HQ SACT, I was exposed to a diverse range of ideas and people. While the Chief Legal Advisor at HQ SACT is American, there is a French Legal Advisor, a Dutch Legal Advisor, and a Turkish intern. All of these interactions were valuable to me as I was exposed to cultural and legal perspectives from their home nations. 

My interactions at the office likewise gave me exposure to a diverse set of views on a variety of topics, ranging from the insignificant, such as musical preferences, to the significant, such as views on the war in Afghanistan and NATO’s involvement in it. These new friendships, and sometimes deep discussions, helped me grow as a person and challenged my views and perspective of the world.

Academic growth

As one part of my externship at HQ SACT, I participated in a once-a-week seminar course with Georgia Law Professor Diane Marie Amann, who is a Faculty Co-Director of the Dean Rusk International Law Center. We discussed a variety of topics through weekly readings on different areas of international law. Highlights included the role of the legal advisor in armed conflict, rules of engagement, and immunities of international organizations in domestic courts. Most of these subjects were new to me, and the weekly seminar helped build my knowledge and challenge my perspective on different international legal issues.

I am especially pleased that I was encouraged to lead the discussions in this seminar and to select readings for subjects that I find of interest. This encouragement to be curious and take a leading role also helped me grow academically.

Professional growth

The experience at HQ SACT was completely new for me as I had never before worked in the national security sector or for an international organization. My time in the legal office was largely split into two categories, as follows:

  • Legal assistance: During the mornings I was assigned to legal assistance work. This is essentially all the support elements that the office provides to both civilian and military personnel at HQ SACT. This work varies depending on who walks through the door, but includes a large amount of immigration work.  These experiences provided me an appreciation of the multitude of legal issues that foreign personnel face during their time in the United States. Additionally, these experiences provided me valuable client interaction that will assist my future career.
  • Legal projects: In the afternoons I worked on projects for the legal advisors. These projects varied considerably. For example, I had the opportunity to work on an overhaul to the general terms and conditions throughout HQ SACT and its subordinate commands, and to research whether NATO information is protected under U.S. laws against espionage. These projects all challenged me and provided an opportunity to make a substantial impact during my time at HQ SACT.  

In short, my time at NATO helped me grow as an aspiring lawyer, law student, and person. I am sure I will use the experiences I have gained so far at NATO in my future career.

I am extremely grateful that the Dean Rusk International Law Center and the University of Georgia School of Law allowed me to partake in this unique experience. Specifically, I would like to thank the Center’s Associate Director for Global Practice Preparation, Sarah Quinn, and Professor Amann, for their valuable guidance. I would also like to thank everyone at HQ SACT, especially Theresa Donahue, Kathy Hansen-Nord, Monte DeBoer, Butch Bracknell, Mette Hartov, Vincent Grassin, and Muge Karatas.