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Digital Byte: Law Students Looking to Go International

Joy Momin


  • International moot courts offer case studies in cybersecurity, public order, health, and space exploration. Notable: Jessup International Law Moot Court, Lachs Space Law Moot Court, Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.
  • International pro bono work provides meaningful legal experiences, such as processing asylum applications, advocating for media freedom, and addressing cross-jurisdictional human rights violations. 
  • Legal conferences and organizations offer leadership, research, publishing, and shadowing opportunities. These platforms provide networking and support for future attorneys, and some events may be covered by scholarships.
Digital Byte: Law Students Looking to Go International
Tom Werner via Getty Images

One year ago I was starting my final semester of law school in the United States. Craving to return to the fast-pace of international tech innovation, I was searching for ways to apply my business skills, be on the forefront of innovation, and jumpstart my legal career outside of traditional U.S. practice arenas. Today, I write from Milan, Italy, with plans to take my J.D. around the world.

In this Byte, we’ll list some opportunities for hands-on learning that I, myself, ventured into and recommend:

1. Moot Courts. You will find the most creative and witty case studies in international moot courts. The truth is, that in international law, almost everything is fair game. Relevant to changing tides, recent cases reflect plots around cybersecurity, public order, health, misinformation, space exploration, freedom of speech, presenting opportunities to law students to hands-on prep for future challenges. There are many international law moot courts and competitions offered, such as the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition, and the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot.

2. Pro Bono. There are only few things that will open your eyes to reality more than international travel. But since that is not an option while you are in school, international pro bono work comes in close behind. Some of the most meaningful and impactful legal work I participated in during law school was with humanitarian organizations seeking to process asylum applications, advocate for freedom of media, and navigate cross-jurisdictional human rights violations. Make sure to check not only in your home country, but also with foreign NGOs that may be calling for your assistance—many offer paid internships as well.

3. Conferences and Organizations. You made it this far, so you may know the ABA is a great resource. Many groups provide hands-on leadership, research, publishing and shadowing opportunities to law students. One thing law students and young lawyers find quickly after engaging with legal organizations is the network of support afforded to future attorneys. The ABA regularly programs forward-thinking events and creates a variety of learning opportunities – of which some that are in-person can be covered by scholarship.

4. Tune In. There is a whole global network of laws connecting the U.S., and lucky for us, we can easily access podcasts and channels online. I followed international news before I could understand the technicalities, but as I started learning more about how legal frameworks function differently outside the U.S., the intricate web of international jurisdiction became easier to follow. Find your favorite news reporter or high school professor on a podcast to catch-up on recent developments and familiarize yourself with the international socio-legal landscape.

5. Be Fearless. Even if nobody around you is pursuing a career in international law or if your law school is still developing an international program you are not limited and will not fall behind. I recently re-read the first ABA article that I published, and I will never read it again…

It’s pretty cringe—but I remember feeling nervous, excited, and proud the first time I saw my name listed as an author. I remember feeling silly asking brilliant attorneys to go over simple concepts of law in group calls—and now I happily admit that I am a fresh attorney and welcome the kind support. My international moot court team was the first of its kind, and everyone was thrilled about how incredibly far we made it the first time. The only career limitations I ever had to overcome were ones that I let linger in my mind, and now I rarely hesitate to do more.

Don’t think twice about reaching out to get engaged—we’re here to support all the trailblazers!