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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Speaker Series: Judge Katzmann Comes to Town

willisby Blake Willis, Class of 2018

One of the perks of being in law school, especially at William & Mary, is being able to hear from practitioners about their experiences in the practice of law. During the first week of April, Judge Robert Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit paid a visit to Williamsburg. Judge Katzmann spoke to several groups including a lunch-time talk regarding pro bono work and immigration law, as well as a class lecture regarding legislative and statutory interpretation.

Image result for Judge Robert KatzmannJudge Katzmann has been on the bench since 1999, and has been the Chief Judge of the Second Circuit since 2013. He has published numerous books related to the Courts and Congress and how Courts around the US, especially the Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court approach statutory interpretation – a growing area of scholarship in the law.

As a student, there are few experiences more valuable than listening to a judge, especially one of this esteem, speak about their experiences on the bench. In his discussion related to legislative interpretation, Judge Katzmann spoke with students regarding his theories of interpretation as well as those commonly used by other Judges around the U.S. He also provided insight into his experiences in scholarship and provided tips for students who are aspiring to litigate in their careers. This insight surely did not fall on deaf ears. Students could ask probing questions and interact with the Judge in a non-court setting, which is truly a unique experience.

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