Georgia Law student Hanna Karimipour elected to International Law Students Association board

Congratulations to Hanna Karimipour, member of the Georgia Law Class of 2020, who has just been elected to serve during her 3L year as a worldwide Student Director of the International Law Students Association.

Devotion to international law has been a hallmark of Hanna’s career here at the University of Georgia School of Law. In spring 2018, the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center awarded her a Louis B. Sohn Professional Development Fellowship to volunteer at the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington, D.C.; that summer, she took part in our Global Governance Summer School and externed at the nongovernmental organization No Peace Without Justice in Brussels, Belgium. During the academic year, she competed on Georgia Law’s Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court team, was a student in a special minicourse on Executive Branch Lawyering, and served as President of the International Law Society, Georgia Law’s ILSA chapter. She soon will begin a position as a Summer Associate at a law firm in Tallahassee, Florida.

Hanna’s election to this position follows a long-standing Georgia Law tradition. Previous worldwide ILSA student officers have included Chanel Chauvet (JD’18), who this fall will begin LLM studies in International Humanitarian Law at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland; Kaitlin Ball (JD’14), who this year earned her PhD in the Department of Politics & International Studies at the University of Cambridge, England; Stephany Sherriff (JD’15), Legal Advisor and Agency Policy Chairwoman at Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency in Atlanta; and another Atlanta attorney, Richard Alembik (JD’91).

Celebrating graduation and another great international law year

Just before University of Georgia School of Law students entered the Spring 2019 exam period, we at the law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center took a moment to thank and congratulate the many students with whom we work.

As listed below, more than 50 of them will earn JD or LLM  degrees later this month. We were delighted to celebrate their achievements.

Among those thanked were our Dean Rusk International Law Center Student Ambassadors, of the 1L, 2L, 3L, and LLM classes who assist the Center with administrative duties, events, and research.

Also recognized were the many students who have taken part in initiatives like the Global Externship At-Home or Overseas, the Global Governance Summer School, NATO Externship, the Women, Peace & Security Project, Southeast Model African Union, the Legal Spanish Study Group, Louis B. Sohn Professional Development fellowships, Atlanta International Arbitration Society reporting, the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, and leadership in the International Law Society and in Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law conferences.

Thanks and congratulations to all!

Class of 2019

Michael Ackerman Vis Moot
Saif-Ullah Ahmed Global Governance Summer School, Student Ambassador
Marc Bennett LLM’19 transferring to JD’21 curriculum, summer 2019 Global Extern
Lauren Brown Global Extern, NATO Externship, Women, Peace & Security Project
Casey Callahan Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern, Student Ambassador
Shummi Chowdhury Student Ambassador, Southeast Model African Union
Jennifer Cotton Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern, Jessup Moot
James Cox Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern
Edward Mills Culver Global Governance Summer School
Cristina De Aguiar Martins LLM
Jerry Dei LLM
Erin Doyle Women, Peace & Security Project, Student Ambassador
Garret Drogosch Vis Moot
Nicholas Duffey Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern
Linda Emanor LLM
Sarah Flanders Vis Moot
Brad Gerke Global Extern
Maximilian Goos LLM
Allison Gowens Jessup Moot
Roger Grantham Jr. Jessup Moot
Brian Griffin Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern, Student Ambassador, Legal Spanish Study Group, AtlAS Rapporteur
Kathryn Hagerman Women, Peace & Security Project
Wade Herring III Global Extern, Global Governance Summer School, Student Ambassador, Sohn Professional Development Fellow
Amanda Hoefer Southeast Model African Union
Evans Horsley Global Governance Summer School
Bailey Hutchison Student Ambassador
Trung Khuat LLM
Kristopher Kolb Global Governance Summer School, Student Ambassador
George Ligon Global Extern
Zachariah Lindsey Global Extern
Ning “Hannah” Ma LLM
Darshini Nair LLM’19 transferring to JD’21 curriculum, Student Ambassador
Philicia Nlandu LLM’17 transfer to JD’19
Teresa Fariña Núñez LLM
Lyddy O’Brien Global Extern, Student Ambassador, Sohn Professional Development Fellow, Jessup Moot, Executive Conference Editor of the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law
Nils Okeson Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern, Student Ambassador, Vice President of the International Law Society
Gilbert Oladeinbo LLM’17 transfer to JD’19
Paolo Cariello Perez LLM
Anh Pham LLM
Matthew Poletti Global Extern, Legal Spanish Study Group
Taylor Samuels Women, Peace & Security Project
Rosari Sarasvaty LLM, AtlAS Rapporteur
Miles Skedsvold Legal Spanish Study Group
Whayoon Song LLM
Nicholas Steinheimer Global Extern, Dean Rusk International Law Center
Amir Tanhaei LLM, AtlAS Rapporteur, Vis Moot coach
Morgan Renee Thomas Editor in Chief of the Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law
Ezra Thompson Global Governance Summer School, Global Extern
Benjamin Torres Jessup Moot
John James Van Why Senior Conference Editor of the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law
Rebecca Wackym GEO, Southeast Model African Union
Eric Wilder Women, Peace & Security Project

Georgia Law Community HeLP Clinic students aid clients’ citizenship bid

Students in the University of Georgia School of Law Community Health Law Partnership Clinic recently succeeded in assisting 2 clients from Egypt who were seeking to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

Working this year to prepare the clients for interviews and their 2019 naturalization ceremony were 3L Amy E. Buice, above center, and 2L William D. Ortiz, above left. Also working on the case were 3L Sarah A. Mirza and Onur Yildirim (JD’18), who last year helped prepare the clients’ naturalization applications.

The students were supervised by Professor Jason A. Cade, Director of Georgia Law’s Community HeLP Clinic, which assists low-income persons with immigration, benefits, and other health-harming legal needs.

Georgia Law students compete in Vis arbitration moot in Vienna, Austria

A team of students once again represented the University of Georgia School of Law at the annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna, Austria. (prior posts)

From left, this year’s team comprised Thomas Paris, Gretchen Edelman, Savannah Jane Story, and Graham Goldberg. Among those who supported their efforts were numerous coaches: 3L Michael Ackerman, LLM candidate Amirhossein Tanhaei, Georgia Law Dean Peter B. “Bo” Rutledge, Christopher Smith (Georgia Law JD’13) and Sara Sargeantson Burns, both attorneys at King & Spalding LLP.

Goldberg reflected on his Vis experience, which included not only the team’s competition in Vienna but also its runner-up finish in the Vis Pre-Moot that the Atlanta International Arbitration Society (AtlAS) sponsored in March:

“Over this past year, I’ve sharpened my oral and written advocacy skills more than I thought possible, and broadened my legal horizons to the world of international arbitration.”

Georgia Law 3L Lauren Brown on her NATO externship in Belgium: “a full appreciation for the privileges we enjoy and the responsibilities we bear”

Pleased today to welcome this post by University of Georgia School of Law student Lauren Brown, working this Spring 2019 semester in Mons, Belgium, in the legal department of a leading unit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Pictured above right, she is the inaugural holder of this externship, administered by our law school’s Dean Rusk International Law Center in partnership with NATO Allied Command Transformation. Lauren arrived at Georgia Law with considerable background in security policy, and her experiences here have included a Summer 2017 Global Externship Overseas at the nongovernmental organization War Child Holland. She is due to receive her J.D. degree this May, and thereafter to become an Associate at the Washington, D.C., office of the law firm Squire Patton Boggs. Lauren recounts her ongoing NATO experience below.

The opportunity to work with the Allied Command Transformation (ACT) Legal Advisor’s Office at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Staff Element Europe (SEE) has been a unique and exciting experience. At this halfway mark, I am very pleased with what I have been able to experience thus far, and I look forward to the coming weeks as the externship continues.

My observations can be broadly divided into three categories, legal experience, professional experience, and practical experience, each of which I discuss below.

Legal Experience

It is important to note that I have carefully crafted much of my previous and future working life to avoid two things: complex math and regulatory work. Accordingly, my hopes were somewhat dashed when I received my first assignment: Draft a data protection and privacy regulation.

The actual work, however, was absolutely fascinating. The ultimate challenge was to create a directive that provided sufficient data protection and privacy standards and that struck a balance among the disparate domestic standards. The work also involved coordination with existing data protection and privacy directives within other NATO bodies, in order to ensure the provisions allowed for a workable level of cohesion across policies.

The resulting effort felt very much like a logic puzzle, with each component capable of fitting, and the task being to figure out how to make it fit. The assignment was a tremendous introduction to the legal experience within the externship. It demonstrated that although focus and ambition are important, flexibility and an open mind are also critical. Without them, I would have missed an opportunity to participate in a fascinating project and expand my interests—even to include regulatory work.

Professional Experience

Before arriving at NATO, I had been extremely fortunate in that I’d had opportunities to work in several different cities, in several different professional environments. But I had never before experienced the working life of a military base. The primary adjustment has been the strictness of the adherence to decorum and hierarchy—and the impressive bureaucracy that accompanies such practice. In my time here, I have learned that even when the waters seem murky and the process opaque, there are always channels that move a little more swiftly, and success in such an organization appears to be directly related to one’s ability to identify and utilize such avenues.

Practical Experience

I have also enjoyed experiences that resonate beyond the professional sphere. Two such instances were particularly impactful:

  • The first occurred during a training on rules of engagement at NATO Allied Joint Force Command (JFC) Brunssum in the Netherlands (site of the photos accompanying this post). By the time of this training, I had become accustomed to the presence of uniforms and their associated patches, which usually denote membership in a division or the service member’s assigned NATO unit. On the last day of the training, however, a new patch caught my eye: a large square stating the bearer’s blood type. The realization of when such a patch would be useful, and its place as a standardized part of the uniform, reminded me of a fact I had clearly forgotten: this exercise was not just theoretical. The reliance these men and women have on laws of armed conflict and rules of engagement dictate life and death choices in very real, and very dangerous, situations.
  • The second served largely the same realization; that is, it reinforced my understanding of the scale at which laws, and their functioning or not, can impact people. I met a friend in Paris for a weekend, and through a course of events that can sometimes happen during travel, we found ourselves marching with the so-called Yellow Vests calling for action against climate change. The group with which we marched was peaceful and numbered very close to 10,000. But a few hours later, we encountered the other group of Yellow Vests, the militant wing of violent rioters who burned or broke almost every structure they encountered. For me, the experience reiterated the idea that when laws or policies fail people, people may react. The rules that govern our social existence must be crafted and interpreted with care, and without negligence toward the future or the marginalized.

The patches and the protests were powerful reminders, both on an intimate and broader level, that what attorneys do matters. We cannot undertake our work with anything but a full appreciation for the privileges we enjoy and the responsibilities we bear.

I feel extremely fortunate for the opportunity to have such an experience while in law school, and I want to especially thank the NATO personnel with whom I have interacted in Belgium, including attorneys Lewis Bumgardner, Galateia Gialitaki, and Steven Hill, as well as Georgia Law professors Kathleen Doty and Diane Marie Amann, for making this externship possible.

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.