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!

To learn more about our student bloggers, click here.

Questions from the Road

by Faye Shealy

Faye Shealy at the New York LSAC ForumI’m back in the office following an exciting week meeting prospects in VA, DC, MD, PA and NY. It was terrific to meet so many prospects and have the opportunity to share William & Mary Law School information face-to-face. You have great questions and we hope to provide all the answers.

Students often ask about bar passage, and this trip was the week of Virginia Bar results for July 2012. I’m happy to have the answer – William & Mary Law School had the second highest pass rate of all Virginia law schools (88.8%).

The second most prevalent question received last week was about our Legal Practice Program and clinics. First-year William & Mary students begin the Legal Practice Program with legal writing instructors working on objective and persuasive writing. Second and third year students choose from an array of externship opportunities (Criminal Litigation, Federal Government, Judicial, Nonprofit Organization, Private Practice and In-House Counsel, State and Local Government, U.S. Attorney, Virginia Attorney General, and Virginia General Assembly) and clinics (domestic violence, elder law, federal tax, Innocence Project, Legal Aid, Special Education Advocacy, and Veterans Benefits). The William & Mary curriculum is designed to result in practice ready graduates.

Dean Elizabeth Cavallari is out west this week and anxious to meet you in Colorado and Utah. Dean Rhianna Shabsin will be in the midwest next week and at the Toronto LSAC Forum on October 26.

We thank you for your questions and your interest in William & Mary as a great place for your legal education!

Thinking About Law School? We Want to Meet You!

by Faye Shealy

Summer has passed and good riddance to the accompanying heat! Fall is here and the Law School is a very busy place. For anyone with thoughts of legal education in their future – we want to meet you! We welcome visitors and invite you and your family to visit as your schedule permits. Please visit our website  or call 757-221-3785 to arrange for class observation, a student-led tour, and a meeting with an admission dean. There’s no better way to have the William & Mary experience than by joining our students in class, in the library, in the lobby, and out and about in Colonial Williamsburg. There’s also no better way to add emphasis to your personal statement than by meeting face to face with those reading applications. Deans Cavallari and Shabsin join me in welcoming you to our offices for an information exchange.

We will also be traveling throughout the fall to meet prospective applicants. LSAC Forums and Forum Workshops are opportunities to gain a tremendous amount of information. Find us at the following locations:

Dean Elizabeth Cavallari in Atlanta         September 8

Dean Faye Shealy in Miami                         September 15

Dean Faye Shealy in Houston                     September 29

Dean Faye Shealy in New York                   October 12 & 13

Dean Rhianna Shabsin in Toronto             October 26

Dean Elizabeth Cavallari in LA                    November 10

Dean Elizabeth Cavallari in Boston            November 17

William & Mary will also be represented at many Law Fairs and Graduate & Professional School Programs on college and university campuses across the country. We are also happy to schedule phone meetings. We want to meet you! We want you to have a totally different experience from clicking through web pages or flipping through a publication. We are looking forward to seeing you soon and welcome the chance to talk with you about opportunities at William & Mary!

Summer Travel and Recruitment

by Elizabeth Cavallari

George Wythe and John Marshall welcome you to William & Mary Law School.

As we prepare for the Class of 2015 to come to Williamsburg in a little over a month, we’re looking ahead to the Class of 2016!  The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) hosts Law School Forums throughout the summer and fall, and Dean Shabsin and I will be hitting the road this weekend and next to recruit prospective law applicants.

The recruitment forums are typically held on Saturdays and include a law school fair from 11 am until 4 pm and panels and more workshops for law school applicants from 9 am until 11 am.  This Saturday, July 14, I will be Chicago, IL, and next Saturday, July 21, Dean Shabsin will be in Oakland, CA.

If you’re interested in William & Mary Law, come out and see us!

For more information on the Chicago or Bay Area forums or to see the entire LSAC Forum schedule.

Professor Paul Marcus Lectures in Australia and New Zealand on a Comparison of Common Law Nations’ Criminal Justice Systems

by Faye Shealy

Paul Marcus

This spring Professor Paul Marcus has been giving talks and engaging in public debates before university audiences, gatherings of judges and lawyers, and meetings of law students in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand. This fall, Professor Marcus will also be traveling to Ontario, Canada, for another debate.

“Comparing our criminal justice system to those in other common law nations teaches me, and our students, so very much about who we are and what our goals are as a society,” says Professor Marcus.  The topics for these lectures and debates are usually something like “Why Australia [or New Zealand or Canada or England] and the United States share common values, but have very different criminal justice systems.” Professor Marcus’s lectures discuss some of the key differences between the two systems, looking especially at rules of exclusion, the jury function, entrapment, and sentencing.

Countries in which Professor Marcus has lectured or taught include Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

Professor Marcus is invited to lecture around the world and is a wonderful ambassador for William & Mary Law School. Thankfully, he belongs to us, and William & Mary students will be in his classroom for criminal law this fall. Let the admission office know if you wish to join them for a class visit!

Paul Marcus

A lighter moment during Professor Marcus’s debate with Justice Weinberg at a judicial luncheon in Melbourne. Professor Marcus is in the center with Justice Weinberg at his right.

Paul Marcus

Professor Marcus speaking at the Distinguished Speakers Series at the University of Sydney on March 6th.

Paul Marcus

Professor Marcus with fellow lecturers after a vigorous debate before students, professors, judges, and barristers in Auckland, New Zealand.

Exploring Property Rights in China, Part II

by Faye Shealy and Brian Wall

We previously posted about the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference held in conjunction with Tsinghua University in Beijing in October, and are delighted to report that it was a smashing success.  Dean Davison Douglas remarks that the conference “laid the groundwork for many more years of collaboration and exchange of ideas.”  Professor Lynda Butler added, “This was the most exciting conference I have ever attended.”

We are pleased to share a short video about the conference as well as Chancellor Sandra Day O’Connor’s acceptance speech of the 2011 Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize.  William & Mary Law School is truly a remarkable place to study international law (as well as all other areas of the law, of course!), and we hope that you will be interested in applying to join us to participate in many more remarkable international exchanges.

William & Mary McGlothlin Leadership Forum

by Faye Shealy

We are excited to announce the inagural public Plenary session of the McGlothlin Leadership Forum, named in honor of James W. McGlothlin (’62, J.D. ’64, LL.D ’00).  This plenary session, which is open to the public, will feature open exchange, active debate, and analysis of the challenges of the global economy and the political and legal systems that comprise it.  The 2011 McGlothlin Leadership Fellows will be the featured speakers at the plenary session: David Boies, Chairman and Managing Partner of Boies, Schiller, and Flexner, LLP; The Honorable John Snow, 73rd Secretary of the U.S. Treasury and former CEO of CSX Corporation; and William C. Weldon, Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson.  Admission is free and all are welcome; no RSVP required.  The plenary session will be held on Wednesday, November 2 from 2:00-3:30 at Miller Hall (Mason School of Business) on the main campus.

Exploring Property Rights in China

by Faye Shealy


Dean Douglas and several other faculty members are out of the office for a great reason today: the Eighth Annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference in Beijing, China!  The Law School typically hosts this conference in Williamsburg, but this year the Conference is being jointly sponsored with Tsinghua University School of law.  The treatment of property rights figures prominently in both Chinese and American economic and political systems, and the Conference will explore the relationship between property rights, economic prosperity, and individual freedom.  Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Chancellor of the College, was honored today at the conference as the 2011 recipient of the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize.

Congratulations to Justice O’Connor, and best of luck to our faculty!  To our prospective students, remember that property is a required course, and coming to a law school with such a renowned conference is a great addition to your education!

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

by Brian Wall

You may have seen the exciting news that William & Mary will host its annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China this October.  While Williamsburg is certainly an idyllic location to study law, this conference merely exemplifies the strong international law tradition at William & Mary Law School.  Our graduates and current students work and intern all over the world.  For example, you can find William & Mary alumni and students:

  • Working for big law firms from London and Paris to Sydney and Phnom Penh,
  • Doing humanitarian work for International Bridges to Justice’s main office in Geneva, or going to field offices in Burundi, India, Vietnam, or Zimbabwe,
  • Competing in Moot Court competitions at The Hague,
  • Working at State Department and Consular Offices in Paris, Moscow, and East Timor,
  • Researching and teaching at clinics in Belize and Argentina, and
  • Earning doctoral degrees at Cambridge or studying in Madrid, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Auckland, Vienna, Luxembourg, Hong Kong…

Joining William & Mary Law will give you access to a worldwide legal community.  With top professors in all fields of international law and a strong alumni network with a wide range of international experiences, William & Mary can be your gateway to the world!

Good Morning Cambodia!

by Brian Wall

Every summer, William & Mary Law School sends one or two first-year students to intern with the Phnom Penh law firm of BNG Advocates & Solicitors.  Interns work with a variety of international clients doing business in Cambodia as they learn to navigate an entirely new culture and legal system.  This year’s interns, Vlada Soshkina and Andrea Gregory, will be representing the firm on Cambodian radio on June 30.  The broadcast will be streamed online, so feel free to tune in.  Congrats, Vlada and Andrea, and break a leg!

William & Mary at The Hague

by Guest Blogger Christopher Bettis

I had the privilege of being on William & Mary’s team for the ICLN International Criminal Court Trial Competition in The Hague.  Having won the ICC Moot Court Competition at Pace Law School in January, we were at the finals in April.  This tournament was a truly unique opportunity to compete with judges and law students from around the world.  The nations represented at the tournament included Canada, Australia, Ghana, Nigeria, Japan, Hungary, Brazil, China, and India.  Discussing and arguing matters of international law becomes a different experience entirely when you are making your argument in The Hague before judges who have made their careers in the various international tribunals throughout the city.  The entire experience combined top notch competition, great experiences in one of the great European cities, and enlightening interactions with lawyers and law students from across the globe.

Competitors at The Hague

Since this was an ICC-based Moot Court competition, the competition revolved around international criminal law.  The legal and policy concerns that come up in such a competition may have seemed somewhat abstract when we argued them in White Plains, New York last January.  Now, however, we were arguing them in The Hague, surrounded by the courts and tribunals that hear the cases arising out of Rwanda, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, and the former Yugoslavia.  It is one thing to read these court decisions in Williamsburg; it’s another thing entirely to be across the street.

Being one of only four American teams at this tournament was a fascinating experience.  Much about the international criminal regime can seem odd to an American law student or lawyer’s eyes: the various ad hoc tribunals, the mix of common law and civil law traditions and procedures, the at-times convoluted lines of of authority and relationship with bodies such as the UN, the relative newness of much of the case law, and even the courts themselves.  The result can be a bit disorienting as one tries to adjust to so much seeming familiar and unfamiliar at the same time.  Against this backdrop are the broad differences between how things are done in America and in continental Europe, a particularly relevant consideration when the majority of the judges at the tournament are from continental Europe.  Trying to navigate the differences between how things are done in Europe as opposed to the United States was the source of both many of the tournament’s challenges and its most amusing moments.

Meeting law students from across the world was another highlight of the trip: comparing experiences, seeing The Hague together, learning about what it means to be a lawyer and to be part of the profession in other countries.  These experiences outside of the rounds were just another part of why this was such a great tournament.

Hague river