“International Law” has become such a big buzzword and as a prospective student I didn’t really know what it meant. Does that mean studying abroad? Learning about the United Nations? Looking at different treaties? Interning in another country?
Because there is no one international body of law that governs the whole world, there is no singular “international law.” Countries will sign treaties that agree to laws that will govern contracts and business deals between the nations. The US Government will have different agreements with counties on how to handle government issues, such as visas, diplomats, and extradition. Further, within a field, there are laws that will govern specific interactions with specific countries. For example, what taxes does an American company who has an office in another country have to pay to the US government and to the hosting country? The answer would change drastically depending on the purpose of the office and hosting country.
A helpful way to think about international law is to name a specialty and think about what it would look like to practice it in the US or abroad: to practice real estate law domestically or internationally or drafting contracts internationally or domestically. If an attorney is drafting a contract between Croatia and the US, he or she would have to make sure it complies with both countries’ contract laws or follows an existing treaty about contracts that both countries have agreed to (and just to clarify, I can provide no insight into Croatian and US contract law).
Last semester, I attended a Career Services Office’s panel on International Law where about a dozen different professionals came to share how they practice their specialization internationally: family law, contracts, labor regulation, and human rights. Each professional spoke for a couple of minutes sharing what they do and afterwards we had time to mix and meet. This clearly is a good opportunity to network, but it showed how many different ways we can work in an international context.
So how does this translate to my experience at Loyola? The Law school offers several ways to study abroad, primarily during the summer. China is often popular for students who study business and law because the courses explore Chinese business and it happens right in the beginning of the summer, allowing students enough time to do an internship.
Another way to gain experience internationally is through summer internships. For example, I am spending my summer in Dhaka, Bangladesh researching domestic workers labor rights and helping to develop a program that will offer legal services to communities who live in the slums. Professor Diane Geraghty, who teaches my Juvenile Justice course, does a lot of work with children’s rights throughout the world and put me in contact with an attorney who is conducting research. Through my conversations with her, I was able to connect with BLAST, a trust that provides legal services to people who normally don’t have access to the law.
So even though International Law does not really exist, it is possible to pursue our passion on an international scale and there are plenty of opportunities at Loyola to help us do it!
Questions for Amie? Email law-admissions [at] luc [dot] edu with the subject “Ask Amie” and she will make sure to answer them.