Law on the International Stage

Flags

by 2L Yasmine Palmer

Students at William & Mary have the opportunity to take courses on a variety of interesting international topics, taught by professors who are foremost in their field. The Law School offers an International Law Concentration designed to help students specialize in whatever ‘branch’ of international law interests them most.

Interested in human rights law? Take International Criminal Law with Professor Nancy Combs, a former legal advisor at the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, who has given expert testimony before courts around the world. Interested in the international aspect of business? Take International Business Transactions or Corporations & International Law with Professor Jay Butler, a former legal advisor to the Government of Japan.

Though these are just three of the many international law classes offered, they serve as evidence of the opportunity that one has at William & Mart to get a diverse education in international law. But the opportunities don’t stop there!

Yasmine Palmer at the Hague

International Experiences

Last summer, I interned at the United Nations’ International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. The Mechanism was created by the UN to takeover and complete the work started by the now-closed International Tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia. It has two locations: one in Arusha, Tanzania and one in The Hague, Netherlands. I worked in The Hague (“Den Haag” in Dutch)!

Serving as a legal intern in the Appeals Division of the Office of the Prosecutor, I spent twelve weeks working on a variety of projects and assignments related to the pending appeal case of the former Bosnian general, Ratko Mladic. Our office was made up of lawyers and interns from around the world, featuring people from places as close by as France and as far away as Hong Kong. Unfortunately, due to confidentiality concerns—it is an active court, after all—I can’t say much else about the actual job. What I will say, though, is that I learned a lot during this internship and developed legal writing and internationally-focused research skills that I hope to apply to my career in the future. I also developed wonderful friendships and professional connections that I could not have made elsewhere.

I’m so thankful to have had an opportunity like this one and, as a law student at William & Mary, you can too!

Professor Christie Warren, Director of the Center for Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, offers an internship program that provides students with legal internships in countries around the world. Last summer, students went everywhere from Bangladesh to Jordan to South Africa, but she also offers internships at locations right here in the U.S.!

Students who apply to international internships outside of Professor Warren’s program still have many resources at their disposal. I, for example, applied directly to the Mechanism via the UN career portal, but relied heavily on the support of my professors and Office of Career Services advisor. I have no doubt that their guidance helped me to succeed.

If you are a student interested in pursuing a career in international law, William & Mary’s robust academic and experiential offerings might be for you!

Thankful for W&M Law: Thanksgiving Baskets

Students from section 16 of the 1L class pose in front of their train display made entirely of canned and pantry stable foods!

1L Section 13 won the 2019 Thanksgiving Baskets competition with their display of the “OCS Express”!

by 2L Yasmine Palmer

Dinosaurs, trains, and zoos, oh my! As the Thanksgiving Basket Competition and Food Drive draws to a close, the first floor of the law school is transformed into a quirky statue garden.

From the entrance of the Wolf Law Library to the middle of the Hixon Center, members of the Class of 2022 stacked and arranged cans of peas and corn, boxes of mac and cheese, packets of stuffing, and more into unique structures. The 1Ls, who work in teams composed of their Legal Practice Program section-members, are encouraged to be as creative and over-the-top as possible when designing their displays, and they certainly rise to the challenge. Among this year’s creations were a “Tortasaurus” made of green beans, a can-shaped structure cheekily titled “Learned Can’d” (a play on the name of Billings Learned Hand, the infamous former Southern District of New York judge), and a train complete with pie-tin wheels.

Last week during the lunch hour, a group of professors, staff members, and students took a tour of the displays and mark their choices for “Best Content,” “Most Creative,” and “Judges’ Choice.”

Though the 1L section that wins Judges’ Choice will be rewarded with a pizza party, the Thanksgiving food drive is a rewarding experience for all who are involved. For nearly a decade, the Thanksgiving Basket Competition and Food Drive has been sponsored and organized by the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), with the specific goal of ensuring that as many local families as possible have great meals to share on Thanksgiving. All of the food products collected during the competition are donated to William & Mary’s chapter of the national volunteer organization, The Campus Kitchens Project. The Campus Kitchen at W&M serves 10,000 meals a year to nearly 200 families in the local community. Last year, the Law School contributed over 4,000 food items to that effort. BLSA’s service committee, led by Mechelle King (2L), thinks that we surpassed that number this year!

Last week, seeking to spread the spirit of thankfulness through the law school in anticipation of the food drive, BLSA also held a Thank-You Card sale, during which students, professors and staff were encouraged to purchase and write cards to people within the school. The cards were then hand-delivered to their intended recipients by the members of BLSA. The proceeds of the sale will go towards purchasing turkeys to accompany the other donated food products.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue my legal dream and for the friends and family members that supported me long before I first walked through the law school’s doors. Take some time this Thanksgiving season to think about what you’re thankful for and to thank those who have helped you get to where you are today.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!