By : Fadilla Jamila Irbar
International law is still underestimated. Although courses in international law have standing in law schools, they still looked as soft laws, consigned to the secondary place in the curriculum. Law students could not maximize the learning process only by depending by the courses in class. There are so many other skills and things that need to be established in order to be able to pursue the international legal career.
2. Global Issues on International Legal Career
Here are some of the major Obstacles that have been facing by most of the law students in their ways of pursuing international legal careers:
2. Lack of Resource, Facility, and Information
3. Ability in speaking foreign language (English)
4. Lack of Efforts
However, Nothing is an obstacle unless you say it is (Wally Amos).
How to overcome those issues and survive building an exceptional legal career in an international basis
Opportunities to develop an international legal career are many and diverse in terms of the roles. To help us navigate this complex scene, in order to pursuing a career in international law, we need to improve our legal skills, as well as maintain links to resources.
Working as an international lawyer can be extremely exciting and provide high levels of satisfaction. Grab chance to learn by doing.
Before entering to the legal profession it is advisable to consider what your legal and other interests are, what type of work you might enjoy most and what type of environment would suit you best. There is no single career pathway that suits everyone, so be prepared to investigate the best route for us. We need to read upon the subject, talk to international law academics and practitioners, and build up some experiences. Join Legal Training, workshop and seminar, doing internship, and also joining mooting competition are the ways to get there.
What skills do we need? (2-5) & (1,6,7)
1. Law School and Training
Basically, the very first step that we will be needed to be able to pursue an international legal career is by entering law schools and joins law trainings. It will teach and give us the main idea of what law is and how to interpret it. People outside law school may learn about law, however it will not be the same with the one whom entering law school. The way they think and analyze law s and cases will be different.
2. Flexibility to work in different setting (with fewer facilities), organizations and locations (with perhaps more Spartan conditions)
To be able to work in international environment, some of the most crucial things are the flexibility and ability to adapt with different type of situations and be able to work and cooperate with different type of people. It gives us more probability to being able to be accepted in some places for legal career.
3. Ability to work in a multicultural, multinational environment
Beside flexibility, ability to work in multicultural and multinational environment is not less important. It helps us a lot in the career process especially for several types of jobs that have to move along from one place to another.
4. Language skills
Most of the materials and people that we would to be working with will be people with different nationality. Communication and understanding of the materials and matters are very important in international legal careers. Language skill is not only becoming a supplementary but it has become a necessity. English is the most common one while French is also needed. Both are widely used and are the working languages of the UN secretariat. Additional languages will be beneficial.
5. Excellent legal skills
There are a lot of competitors that we have to face in order to pursue an international legal career. They are not only regular competitors; some of them have their own skills that could become very supporting matter. In order to be able to compete, we do need excellent legal skills, such as drafting, research and advocacy. It will be very needed in our working process if we get accepted.
We do need a self-assessment in order to know our capability and interest in a field. We need to cross check if we are actually fit in and able to work in that position. If we still have some weakness points, then that’s what we need to improve.
A great number of international positions are obtained through networking. A personal approach and introduction would be very helpful in giving us opportunities to gain information that we will be likely to need and even an offer of legal career. Maintain and expand our networking as wide as possible, not only with faculties, local lectures and our collage but also friends and lectures from the other law colleges and universities, lawyers, law firms, and others. Keep in touch with these individuals and shares your ideas, and updates about information related to law field.
Where can we work?
1. International and Regional Organizations
There are some international organizations under United Nations (UN), such as: UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC); ASEAN; World Trade Organization (WHO); etc
There are so many types of courts that are exist nowadays, whether international court or even domestic one. Some of the following are:
a. International Court of Justice (ICJ)
ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). The court is located at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherland), the only UN’s principal organ not located n New York (United States of America). The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are selected by the UN General Assembly and The Security Council.
b. International Criminal Court (ICC)
ICC, governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. ICC is an independent international organization, and is not part of the UN system, seated in The Hague in The Netherland.
c. International Tribunal on The Law of The Sea (ITLOS)
ITLOS is an independent judicial body established by UN Convention on The Law of The Sea (UNCLOS) to settle disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the convention. The tribunal is composed of 21 independent members, elected from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognized competence in the field of the law of the sea.
d. Arbitration Court
e. International Criminal Tribunal For The Former of Yugoslavia (ICTY)/ International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda (ICTR)
f. Domestic Court
Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a very popular government institution in order to pursue international legal career. Few types of legal position are offered there and it could give us a very great link to build international connection and networking.
4. Private Sector
The private sector is a major source of opportunity for international legal practice. The areas of law practiced within law firms, barristers’ chambers and in-house corporations generally fall into private international law and its associated transactions. With the increasing globalization of businesses and the need to be able to offer a client service to match, many of the top law firms have opened offices across the globe and merged with other overseas firms. This is creating opportunities for us to work in variety of international settings on diverse legal problems.
Law students can consider to being academia and researchers as prospective legal careers. We do not have to always to involve in law firms, and court. Using our knowledge and understanding of law can be shared and used by teach and develop them in academic places.
In order to pursue International Legal Careers, there are some obstacles and challenges that need to be faced by the law students. However, nothing is an obstacle unless you say it is. There are some steps that we need to work on such as legal and language skills, flexibility and ability to adapt, self-assessment, and maintaining networking. Therefore we need just need more efforts and researches in order to pursue an international legal career.
Oxford University Careers Service, September 2013 www.careers.ox.ac.uk/intlaw
Yale Law School, Career Development Office, International Public Interest Law 2012-2013 www.law.yale.edu
International Court of Justice, The Court www.icj-cij.org/court
Rome Statute, UN Doc. A/CONF.183/9; 37 ILM 1002 (1998); 2187 UNTS 90
International Criminal Court, About The Court www.icc-cpi.int
International Tribunal for The Law of The Sea, The Tribunal www.itlos.org
Association of Southeast Asian Nations, www.asean.org