International Public Interest Law Personal Assessment
What issues most engage you? Human Rights? Environment? Democracy Building? Law Reform? Economic Development? Health? Religious Freedom? Women’s Rights? Reproductive Rights? Children’s Rights? Foreign Relations? Commerce? Trade? Security? Counterterrorism? Arms Control?
Where does it make sense for you to engage in these issues of interest? Do you prefer domestic or overseas work? In what regions of the world do you want to work? Have you traveled or lived abroad? Given current events in the region, does it make sense to go to the country you have identified?
What type of work do you want to do? Research? Litigation? Policy? Community Organizing? Investigation/Fact-finding?
How strictly “legal” do you want your work to be and how do you define “legal” work?
Do you like using nontraditional advocacy tools such as campaign organizing or media work instead of or in addition to litigation strategies?
Do you already have substantial international experience, preferably work experience, to offer?
If you do not already have relevant overseas work experience, are you willing and able to live abroad during or after law school?
Can you live in an area without some of the amenities you may be accustomed to?
Do you have any regional expertise to offer? If not, are you willing/able to develop such expertise during law school?
Do you have any particular skill set (e.g. litigation skills, managerial skills, investigative or fundraising skills) that you can offer in addition to, or in lieu of, regional expertise? If not, can you build those skills during law school?
What type of practice setting appeals to you? Large multi-site organization? Small organization or small branch office of a large organization? Urban? Rural? What work setting do you seek? Do you need to have your own office and computer? Is state-of-the-art technology essential to you? What type of supervision do you prefer? Do you like to work alone or in teams?
How have you described your skills and interests in your resume and cover letter? How will the organization look at you? In other words, what can you bring to the organization?
What languages have you studied? Are you proficient in any languages other than your primary language? Will knowing the language of the country or region in which you want to work be essential to contributing to the work of the office and to having a good experience? Are language skills required by your employer? Can you work on developing language skills while in law school?
Do you have any health concerns that would limit your travel options? Have you looked into medical and health issues involved in traveling to your desired destination, i.e., vaccinations?
Do you have any personal safety or family concerns? Have you visited or spent time in the area where you want to work? Are you familiar with the geographic, political, social, and economic environment? Are you willing to work in a developing country, a country experiencing political unrest, a country with many human rights abuses? Can you emotionally handle work that involves atrocities against other people?
Have you evaluated the risks and benefits of living abroad? How will an international position fit into your long-term career plans?
How will an international career fit into your personal life?
If you are interested in pursuing an international career after law school graduation, are you willing to take a “temporary” position, such as a fellowship, to help you break into this field? For postgraduate work, are you willing to work for less money and in an environment with fewer resources?