January 15, 2015
Jillian Wagman, a 2L, spent her 1L summer as an intern with the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia. The Chambers is responsible for prosecuting individuals responsible for the genocide in Cambodia.
The Chambers allowed Jillian to explore her interest in international criminal prosecution. She was responsible for conducting factual analyses. Her day-to-day work centered on analyzing witness statements and isolating information based on the charges that needed to be proven against an unnamed defendant.
She was assigned to a single attorney when she first arrived. The fact that she was on a long-term project meant that she could conduct a lot of her work independently. However, that was not necessarily the norm for all divisions or interns. Other interns had strictly legal projects, so tended to work more closely with their attorneys on a daily basis. Regardless, all of the interns experienced a collegial work environment and great mentorship.
Jillian valued the accessibility of the attorneys at the chambers. Each attorney hosted a happy hour for the interns: Some would host them at home while others used them as an opportunity to explore the city. The events served as a special “thank you” for their (unpaid) work.
The internship program is relatively big. Jillian estimates that there were 50 interns spread across the various offices. Many of them were international students, although there were several students from various US law schools.
She went to Cambodia using a grant from the Summer Public Interest Funding program as well as the Chayes International Public Service Fellowship. The Extraordinary Chambers is one of the pre-approved placement organizations for the Chayes Fellowship. Both sources of funding allowed her to go to Cambodia without taking additional loans.
Jillian is still interested in international criminal prosecution, but hopes to use her 2L summer to explore something different. She is hoping for a more client-focused project to get exposure to another side of the practice of international human rights law.
Written by 1L OPIA Section Rep Lesedi Mbatha