Increasingly, students are taking time between college and law school, and this time offers a great opportunity to live, and hopefully work, abroad. Any international experience, even just study abroad or travel, will help students to understand different cultures.
Pre-law public international work experience, particularly in a relevant area, is helpful in landing summer jobs during law school. If you attend law school without any relevant international experience, you can use your three years of law school to try out different types of work and to build international experience.
Consider taking an international law course as a 1L elective or participating in an internationally focused clinic or student practice organization.
Another way to build expertise on an aspect of international law is to do research and writing on an international topic. You can work on a journal, for example, and write a note about an international issue of current importance. While working on Law Review can add prestige to your resume, it is sometimes easier to write on an international topic for a journal with an international focus. For example, HLS students interested in international law often work on the Harvard International Law Journal or the Human Rights Journal.
You can write a significant paper on an international topic. For example, Carol Pier (HLS ’98) wrote a major piece on the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) arising out of her summer work experience that was ultimately published in a comparative law journal. Whether through working on a journal or submitting a paper written independently for publication, having a published work on your resume can enhance your image as an expert in a particular aspect of international law.
Finally, research positions with faculty working on international topics are another way of developing expertise along with enhancing your research and writing skills. Working with a professor can also help you develop a relationship and networking source with a potential mentor in your field.