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UH Law Center students learn of global opportunities to practice law

A panel discussion "The Role of Climate Change in Atrocity Prevention," was the final portion of Careers in International Law Day at the University of Houston Law Center.

A panel discussion "The Role of Climate Change in Atrocity Prevention," was the final portion of Careers in International Law Day at the University of Houston Law Center.

Feb. 14, 2020 - To aid University of Houston Law Center students that are considering work as lawyers who deal with legal issues beyond the United States, several organizations hosted Careers in International Law Day last week in the Hendricks Heritage Room.

The Law Center’s Career Development Office, Global & Graduate Programs Office, the Houston Journal of International Law, the International Law Society, the Energy & Environmental Law Society and ASIL’s New Professionals Interest Group presented the event.

“Lawyers today are more likely to encounter a problem that deals with international law in their practice, even if their work primarily deals with U.S. law,” said Elizabeth Trujillo, the Mary Ann & Lawrence E. Faust Professor of Law and founding director of the Initiative on Global Law and Policy for the Americas. 

“With this ASIL-UHLC event, our students learn about ways that U.S. trained lawyers may work either directly in international law or in areas that engage with international issues. Wes Rist’s experience and ‘nuts and bolts’ approach to finding a job international law provides practical information to our students wanting to work in the field.”

Wes Rist, Deputy Executive Director of the American Society of International Law (ASIL), the largest U.S. organization that brings together academics, practitioners, and representatives from government and civil society working in international law, spoke about the need to expand one’s horizons to be successful throughout a career in international law.  UHLC is an ASIL academic partner, which provides students and faculty with access to ASIL’s resources in international law.

“For those who feel a pull towards engaging with the world in their day-to-day work, it can be a very rewarding profession,” Rist said. “It almost always involves working with individuals from around the world, learning how to engage with new cultures and systems of law, and creating lasting relationships outside of one’s typical comfort zone.”

Following Rist's talk, he provided one-on-one 20-minute advising sessions with students who are interested in pursuing a career in international law. For those who were not able to get an advising session, Rist provided his personal email so they could contact him at a later date.

The event concluded in the Hendricks Heritage Room with a roundtable discussion titled, "The Role of Climate Change in Atrocity Prevention" which convened experts in environmental law and international law, illustrating ways that U.S. attorneys may work on problems that draw from two seemingly distinct areas of law that are both U.S. and internationally focused.

Speakers included Rist, Associate Professor of Law and Political Science Zachary D. Kaufman, Dwight Olds Chair in Law Victor Flatt, Lecturer Tracy Hester, and Tom Wilson, a partner at Vinson & Elkins. Trujillo served as the moderator.

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