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News Posted on January 16, 2014

ASIL Director Elizabeth Andersen Speaks to King Hall Students on Careers in International Law

Elizabeth (Betsy) Andersen, Executive Director of the American Society for International Law (ASIL), spoke to a large and enthusiastic audience of King Hall students on January 13, offering tips on how to launch a career in international law.  The event was sponsored by the California International Law Center at King Hall (CILC).

Professor Anupam Chander, CILC's Director, introduced Andersen with brief remarks.  He noted the School of Law's long relationship with ASIL, for which King Hall serves as an academic partner, and which has enabled CILC to sponsor speaker events such as the 2011 lecture at King Hall by ASIL President and UC Berkeley Law Professor David Caron.  He summarized Andersen's career achievements, which include serving since 2006 as ASIL's executive director, stints as Executive Director of the American Bar Association's Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative and of Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia Division, as well as clerkships with Judge Georges Abi-Saab of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and Judge Kimba M. Wood of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.

Andersen began her talk by also noting the close ties between UC Davis School of Law and ASIL, which include Professor Chander's service on the ASIL Executive Council.  In addition, Kate Doty '08 is ASIL's publications manager, and Alison Plenge '09 served as an ASIL International Law Fellow before moving on to become an associate at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP.  "We'd like to keep the pipeline of UC Davis folks coming to ASIL as members and contributors to our team," Andersen said.

Andersen said that while many current law students are interested in international law, the constantly changing nature of the field has meant that there is no "well-trodden path" to career success.  She offered examples from her own experiences to illustrate strategies that can help students and recent graduates to enter the field.

Summarizing her advice at the end of her talk, Andersen said, "My tips are: don't be afraid of opportunities, and be ready for those opportunities by learning as much as you can about the field.  Get experience, especially international experience, things that will distinguish your view from all those other people who say they want to do international law.  Develop language skills.  Find some emerging sub area of the field that you're passionate about and that you can become the expert in.  Develop your network, and maintain that network.  Make sure the network thinks you're great, and be entrepreneurial."