International Law Engagement at William & Mary

zaleskiby James Zaleski, Class of 2019

When I was looking at law schools, I looked for schools that would provide opportunities to become engaged with international issues. International law has become an important vehicle for collaboration among states, international businesses, non-profits, and markets. In the era of globalization, it is important for law students to develop a global perspective. William & Mary Law School offers many opportunities for students to become engaged with these important issues.

In addition to the Law School’s diverse course offerings in international law, William & Mary also has many internationally-focused student organizations that bring practitioners to the Law School to speak about international issues. I recently had the opportunity to attend a lunch talk hosted by the Comparative Legal Student Scholars. This lunch speaker series featured Judge Katzmann, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judge Katzmann’s talk focused on immigration law and he spoke about the unmet legal needs of the immigrant poor. I also had the opportunity to attend a talk hosted by the Human Security Law Center which featured former U.S. Ambassador to Belize, Vinai Thummalapally, who spoke about U.S. trade policies.

William & Mary Law School’s Center for Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding also plays an important role in promoting international law engagement at the law school. The mission of the Center is to bridge the gap between resources available at academic institutions and the need for them in the international field. The Center offers law students a wide range of academic and field experiences all over the world. The Center maintains collaborative working relationships with many international organizations such as the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance at the Hague, Democracy for Development in Kosovo, and the Open Development Cambodia Initiative. William & Mary law students travel overseas each summer on behalf of the Center to intern with these organizations and contribute their talents, energy, and skills to important international projects.

ODC-LOGOThis summer, I will be interning with Open Development Cambodia (“ODC”) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Cambodia has a tumultuous history and the country still faces enormous economic and political challenges in the national rebuilding process. Transparency and accountability are two important components of this national reconstruction. ODC’s mission is to provide the public with accurate information about Cambodia and its economic and social development. By collecting and analyzing environmental, social, and economic development data, ODC helps to facilitate research and communication between the public, private companies, and governments. As my first year of law school comes to an end, I look forward to applying my legal research and writing skills in the field and engaging with international law issues!

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