Let's be honest: what the hell is "International Law," anyway?
Do you remember being a 1L? Do you remember how many of your fellow students said they were going to go into "International Law," almost as if choosing one's practice area was akin to choosing between Mercedes Benz or BMW? Where you one of those students who proudly bandied-about the term, knowing it sounded good to family at Thanksgiving, before the need to actually earn a living took hold and "modified" your dreams and aspirations?
Criminal law, I could fathom. Contracts, I could understand. Business Organizations, IP, Torts, Environmental Law, OK, I can sort of see it. I'm still amazed I survived Constitutional Law and the oblique tests and levels of "scrutiny" and what-not, but hey, whatever, that is a different matter entirely. People actually do get to argue before the SCOTUS, albeit rarely. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
But "International Law?" What was that, exactly?
If only I had the recent glossy brochure from John Marshall Law School at the time to guide me:
"Perhaps you see yourself working with an international agency in the human rights area, or as a large firm attorney negotiating cross-border mergers, or as a customs and trade law attorney managing the compliance issues for a large corporation. There are infinite possibilities when you expand your education and professional life into the global sphere."
Why yes, yes I do see myself this way! "Infinite possibilities?" No wonder everyone was so excited about International Law! Even though I have no idea what the last paragraph even said, sign me up! Makes me want to go back to school for an LLM, as my law degree and bar license has not conferred enough "JD-Advantage" upon me to suit my particular tastes currently.
....aaaaaand JMLS is happy to oblige, with many, many course offerings (Comparative Human Rights Law, International Business Transactions, Lawyering Skills IV: Drafting - International Practice, and Advanced Legal Research - International Law, to name a few). And don't forget the JD Certificate in International Human Rights Law.
The "Hands-on" Experience includes:
* Moot Court
* Research Assistanceships
* Organizations, such as the International Law Society
* Study Abroad
Hmmm....sounds a lot like generic "Law School" to me, but hey, what do I know. The Internships do sound impressive, I must say - U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Office of the VPOTUS, the New South Wales Disability Discrimination Center in Australia, the Independent Commission for Human Rights in Palestine, and "Law Firms" in China, Taiwan, and Europe.
Wait...the brochure says that the Center for International Law can HELP you RESEARCH and IDENTIFY international law internships, but does not provide them out of hand...sounds like YMMV, to me. Not unlike the advertised success stories of the international students who went to JMLS and then went back to their countries of origin and used their built-in connections to score interesting and lucrative "international law" jobs. I'm guessing it is somewhat easier to land a law firm job in Taiwan if you are, well, originally from Taiwan, for example.
All in all, while the course offerings could be interesting, academically, I'm having trouble drawing the clear-cut connection between the advertised offerings, on the one hand, and success in landing the coveted "International Human Rights Attorney" job and the "infinite possibilities" that entails, on the other. How many JMLS alumni, on a percentage basis, are actually doing these preftigious jobs? How many, for example, are practicing before the Hague? The brochure doesn't seem to say.
And I suspect that many, many recent graduates are wondering the same thing as well - and why they thought "International Law" was a realistic option for them in the first place, in retrospect, before Sallie Mae came knocking. Hey, the Law Schools got paid, so live and learn, I guess.