It may require perseverance and an entrepreneurial spirit to break into the career area of your choice. Embarking on a public international career is to follow the road less traveled. Yet, as noted in one of the narratives that follow, increasing numbers of students come to law school “to see the world, and serve the public.” Searching for summer employment, for example, can seem complicated when compared to your peers who are headed to private law firms (or even domestic public interest organizations) since many public international employers cannot conduct outreach, do not have funds to pay you, and may not be attuned to the job-search calendar of most law schools.
Take advantage of the unique opportunities you have to explore career options, gain experience, and build skills while you are in law school. Law school provides a myriad of opportunities – classes, clinical classes, research papers, extracurricular activities, winter terms, and summer internships, for you to explore career options and gain experience and skills in the areas that most interest you. Harvard Law School, as well as a growing number of other law schools, provides funding for those wanting to pursue public interest work over the summer. Many schools also offer a host of other wonderful resources: from grants for travel or research, to opportunities to work closely with professors and others on international projects, to access to alumni and other mentors who have pursued public international careers.
Without going overboard, exhausting yourself, or losing perspective on what matters in life, you should apply your entrepreneurial spirit to using your three years in law school to define more clearly what your career goals are within the field of international public interest work. Be sure to get practical experience related to those goals. Taking advantage of opportunities in law school can help you to get your foot in the door for entry-level employment.