International Organizations Clinic
|LW.12165 / LW.12166
Professor Gráinne de Búrca
Professor Angelina Fisher
Open to 2L, 3L and LL.M. students
Maximum of 8 students (4 JDs, 4 LL.M.s)
The aim of this clinic is to assist students in developing a fuller set of skills required to address increasingly complex global (i.e. both international and transnational) problems. The seminar portion of the Clinic will introduce students to a range of the different legal, political and regulatory theories informing the legal norms, practice and policy of international organizations. It is designed to help students understand the relevance of inter-disciplinary perspectives to the practice of law in global settings, and to learn the ways in which core cognitive lawyering skills (i.e. mastering legal research tools, developing an ability to integrate factual and legal knowledge, strengthening analytical and reasoning skills, and exercising judgment based on the understanding gained) matter in the practice of international law.
"Thinking like a lawyer” may be more demanding today than it has been in the past, given how complex law and lawyering has become, but it is particularly demanding for lawyers who want to work in an international context. Given the increasing interdependence of legal and economic regimes across countries, lawyers (including domestic lawyers) need a broad set of tools to solve increasingly complex, and sometimes novel, legal problems. There is increasing demand for lawyers with a sound understanding of the institutional, socio-political and economic contexts within which domestic and international legal issues arise and are addressed: how do markets function? How do bureaucracies behave? How do technologies shape change? How do domestic laws interact with international regimes? How do international legal and regulatory regimes and institutions interact with each other?
Drawing on existing scholarshipand ongoing research conducted by faculty and others at NYU, the seminar will focus on themes that intersect with projects in the areas of global governance, such as inter-institutional cooperation; the role of lawyers and private actors in the creation, the evolution and interpretation of international legal norms; the relationship between branches/offices of international organizations; the diffusion of ideas and legal norms; the North-South relationship in international law, amongst others.
Students will be encouraged to think about the implications of their clinical project for the people affected by it or by broader actions or policies that relate to the project, and to consider the perspectives of under-represented or non-represented constituencies. They will also be asked to consider the role of an international lawyer in development of international law, to discuss the professional legal responsibility of lawyers working with international or foreign laws, and to examine the ethics of international law. To this end, the seminar might also feature the occasional participation of members of the U.N. community and lawyers working in the international organizations.
The students will work with the Professors of the clinic on projects with international organizations on a broad range of topics related to global governance. Last year’s projects included advising a major development bank on issues of individual liability for fraud & corruption, working with a UN agency on a framework for local accountability mechanisms for children from marginalized communities, and assisting an international organization with creating indicators to measure states’ compliance with certain legal directives. Although the fieldwork is not an internship, students will have an opportunity to engage first hand in the work of international organizations. If the organization is geographically proximate, students will have regular visits to the IO’s offices; if the location of the IO makes frequent visits not possible, students will communicate with the IO officials by phone or Skype and will visit the organization at least once.
The combination of fieldwork and seminar will enable students to see the relevance of the theory learned to practice.
Students interested in applying for the clinic should submit the standard application, resume, and transcript online through CAMS. To arrange an interview, please use the CAMS system as well. The application deadline for LL.M. students is July 15, 2013. (Please note there is a separate application form for LL.M. students.) If you have questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Angelina Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students who took the Clinic Fall 2012:
Won Joo Choe
Robert Alex Leitch
* 5 credits includes 3 clinical (fieldwork) credits and 2 academic seminar credits.
** Preference will be given to those who have taken (or are taking concurrrently with the clinic) International Organizations with Jose Alvarez.