The International Career Development Process in Law School

There are opportunities to gain international experience and to learn about international issues throughout law school. There are also opportunities to obtain summer internships, particularly with summer funding programs allowing many law students to volunteer. 

There is no set path leading to a career in this broad field. This is in part because of the great diversity of public international work done by lawyers. Additionally, as in the domestic sphere, international public and nonprofit organizations are shorter on resources than private ones. Because of this, these organizations are less likely to offer formal training for young attorneys and many prefer to hire attorneys with at least three to five years of experience. However, opportunities for entry-level work do exist. 

Breaking into a career in public international law may also require taking short-term positions, seeking work as a consultant, applying for fellowships or grants to fund your work, volunteering, and engaging in intensive networking. Law students can gain valuable professional experience from clinical and other classes, scholarly research, extracurricular activities, externships, internships and other typical law student pursuits. 

Most important is your determination to stick with it and your willingness to be inventive in attaining your goals. Don’t forget to seek advice and support from career and faculty advisers, practitioners in the field, and other students. 

Last modified: October 17, 2014

© 2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.