Lexington, Virginia is still for International Law Lovers…


I know it seems a little hard to believe, but, as previously noted, W&L Law in Lexington, Virginia is a great place for students interested in international legal issues. Consider the following:

Recent graduate, Juliette Syn, ’08L, spent a portion of last year in Liberia working with W&L Law Professor Speedy Rice’s joint class of U.S. and Liberian law students, as well as assisting with the ABA’s Rule of Law initiative. For more about Ms. Syn’s work abroad, check out our recent Alumni magazine story profiling her efforts. W&L Law Class of 2009 graduate, Ryan Decker, who participated in Professor Rice’s “Transnational Access to Justice” practicum in Liberia has recently replaced Ms. Syn as our law school’s on the ground liaison. Professor Rice’s practicum is taught in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, along with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and culminates in a two-week trip to Liberia and Ghana (or other neighboring country) to work with Liberian counterparts seeking to fulfill the Practicum’s broad goal of building greater access to justice in Liberia’s criminal justice system.

This practicum is one of several tremendous international law opportunities afforded our students as part of the new third year. Other such classes include the “Transnational Tribunals” which allow students the opportunity to work with the Defense Support Section and the defense attorneys of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the Radovan Karadzic defense at the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), as well as prepare case summaries from Transnational Tribunals for an online case reporter.

Furthermore, through the “Transnational European Court of Human Rights” practicum, students study Human Rights issues through the cases and procedures of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and review potential cases of Serbian individuals for suitability for application to the ECHR. Participating students will likely have the opportunity to travel to Belgrade as well as Strasbourg, France to observe the European Court of Human Rights.

Several third year students and Professor Johanna Bond are currently in Tanzania as part of the “International Human Rights Practicum.” In this practicum students learn how to apply the primary international and regional human rights treaties to real-world human rights problems. Student teams will work in partnership with international non-governmental organizations based in the U.S. or domestic human rights organizations based in Africa to promote human rights and seek redress for human rights violations.

In addition, W&L Law has recently partnered with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative, and the James A.A. Pierre Judicial Institute in Liberia to focus much needed resources on Liberia’s overcrowded prison system. To read more about this program, click here.

This year, we were happy to welcome two LL.M students from Afghanistan into our law school community. M. Asif Ehsan and Sebghatullah Ebrahimi, both graduates of the Kabul University Faculty of Laws and Political Science, are enrolled in Washington and Lee’s Master of Laws (LL.M.) program through a U.S. State Department initiative promoting justice reform in Afghanistan. They hope that exposure to U.S. laws and legal systems will further prepare them to help stabilize their country’s legal sector when they return home. For about this story, click here.

Lucy Reed, president of the American Society of International Law (ASIL) and a senior partner with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, delivered the Washington and Lee Transnational Law Institute Distinguished Lecture for fall 2009 . Ms. Reed’s talk was titled “International Claims Tribunals: Focus on Victims” and you can watch her address here.

And lastly, our Transnational Law Institute has recently announced a number of internship opportunities with organizations operating in the areas of international and comparative law in which our students may be placed. These opportunities include supporting the defense team at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia with the high-profile trial of Radovan Karadzic, working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and assisting the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) We have placed students in all three of these opportunities in the past and their experiences have been very positive.

For more information about international law opportunities at W&L Law, check out our Transnational Law Institute’s webpage and be sure to check back here.

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