August 01, 2012

Global Litigator: The Challenges of Working Overseas as a Lawyer for Uncle Sam

Training Pakistani lawyers to strengthen the country's justice system.

Monika Bickert

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At 8:00 p.m. on a warm Saturday night in Islamabad, Pakistan, a dump truck filled with 600 kilograms of high-quality explosives pulled up to a security gate at the Marriott Hotel. Minutes later, the explosives were detonated, creating a crater 20 feet deep and a fire that engulfed most of the 219-room hotel for hours. More than 60 people died in the blast. Hundreds were injured.

Nine days later, in the midst of the multilateral government response to the terrorist attack, U.S. federal prosecutor Christopher Lehmann arrived in Islamabad to begin his one-year assignment as the Department of Justice’s resident legal advisor at the U.S. embassy.

A federal prosecutor with significant international development experience, Lehmann went to Pakistan in September 2008 to help the Pakistanis build the capacity of their justice sector and to generally strengthen the rule of law in the country. The Justice Department had ample experience placing resident legal advisors in foreign countries to aid justice-sector development, but it had never done so in Pakistan. Lehmann would be the first.

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