William and Mary Law School

International Public Service Internships

International Public Service Internships

William and Mary students receive hands-on field experience by participating in international internships all over the globe. Over the past years, our students have interned in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Dominican Republic, England, Ghana, India, Iraq, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Mauritania, Mexico, Myanmar, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Switzerland, and Washington, DC.

The Program in Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding is especially grateful to John and Brenda Scanelli for their generous support of the international public service internship program.

Here's what our international interns have been up to:

nadia abramson

Nadia Abramson worked for the ABA Rule of Law Initiative's Morocco office in the capital city of Rabat.  Her main projects included researching the development of direct democracy initiatives in the Arab World, writing project proposals for handicap rights in Rabat, and assisting in the organization of a media campaign for women's rights.  Throughout the summer, she visited Moroccan Parliament and attended meetings with various diplomats and local criminal defense attorneys to discuss human rights reform in the country.

The most rewarding aspect of the internship for Nadia was the cultural exposure.  Nadia's mother is from Morocco, and it was an enriching experience to explore her family's heritage.  On the weekends, she traveled around Morocco and visited the Atlas Mountains in Marrakech, the marketplace in Fes, and the Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, the second-largest mosque in the world after Mecca.

Amrbia Armstrong

Ambria Armstrong worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) branch in Baku, Azerbaijan, called SEDA (Socio-Economic Development Activity).  She spent a lot of her time working on Environmental Scoping Statements, which were reports required to obtain approval for various infrastructure and construction projects.  Some of these projects included pedestrian bridges, potable water pipelines, and school rehabilitation plans.   The statements required legislative research as well as innovative suggestions on ways to mitigate the negative environmental effects of construction activities in the regions.  She also attended NGO roundtable discussions concerning recent Azerbaijani legislation, and she attended training sessions teaching NGO representatives the procedures they need to follow to comply with the new laws. 

Kelsey Baack

Over the summer, Kelsey Baack worked with the Lithuanian Law Institute, Teise, in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Her work focused on comparative criminal law research for Transcrime and the EU sponsored Fiducia Project.  Because of Lithuania’s unique geographic location between eastern and western Europe, it has one of the largest illicit tobacco markets in the world and represents an interesting emerging problem in international criminal law.  The majority of her research centered around the international markets for smuggled goods and effective approaches to combating these markets.

During her time in Lithuania, Kelsey had the opportunity to attend the Baltic International Criminology Conference; research international criminal law sanctions; assist Teise on many of their domestic criminal law research; develop a better understanding of Lithuanian and European criminal legal systems; develop an understanding of shared legal challenges in the Baltic states and a growing political unease; and prepare a comprehensive comparative legal report on international goods smuggling in the European Union and associated criminal sanctions.

Erica Beacom

Erica Beacom worked in Prishtina, Kosovo with the Center for Legal Aid and Regional Development (CLARD). The majority of her work centered around access to justice issues within Kosovo. Kosovo recently declared independence in 2008 but is struggling for recognition within the international sphere. Due to this bid for recognition her assignments focused on Kosovo’s power to negotiate extradition treaties, ex-officio appointments for criminal defendants, and the distribution of a Letter of Rights to all detained or arrested individuals. In addition to in office research work, she traveled to the seven majors cities within Kosovo observing and reporting on the legal aid clinics that CLARD operates.  She worked with the international law firm PILPG in conjunction with their “Justice for the People” campaign and with various NGOs including PrishtinaREA, OSCE, and D4D.  Erica wrote reports on capacity building within the NGO sphere of Kosovo, attended civil litigation strategy meetings, and met with underrepresented minority groups within Kosovo borders.

 Additionally, with the opportunity to work alongside OSCE came with the chance to participate in structuring a nation wide survey geared to raise awareness of human and affirmative rights available to Kosovar citizens.  Erica was appointed head communication point for CLARD’s involvement with the project and test ran the survey on native Albanians within Prishtina. 

Sarah Blackader

Sarah Blackader worked at International Programs Division of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).  She researched legal topics to help organizations manage projects strengthening rule of law in Serbia, Trinidad & Tobago, the Bahamas, and Nigeria.  Sarah also helped research and prepare materials for a training to reduce backlog in the criminal justice system in the Bahamas.  She provided research on current conditions and laws in several Caribbean countries where NCSC was working to improved the juvenile justice systems, and worked with several staff members on preparing a proposal to start a new program improving police and other justice sector responses to sexual and gender based violence in Egypt.

Kristin Brandt

Kristin Brandt worked for the International Center for Transitional Justice in New York City as a Criminal Justice Program Intern.  She researched and compiled reports on the creation of specialized chambers and tribunals for the prosecution of war crimes in countries such as East Timor, Guatemala, Cote D’Ivoire, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. She also compiled a comparative report on witness protection programs in African, European, and Latin American countries to assist in the creation of a witness protection program in African nations.  Kristin also analyzed the existence of national and/or international oversight mechanisms related to transitional justice which the Vice President included in a presentation to ICTJ donors.

Kristin has continued her work with ICTJ throughout the fall semester working on various projects regarding the protection of witnesses and victims of sexual violence. 

Elizabeth Buner

Liz Buner interned at Open Development Cambodia (ODC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  ODC, an NGO dedicated to providing “open data” to the public, collects and disseminates publicly available data on development trends in Cambodia. This past summer Liz researched economic and environmental development topics currently affecting Cambodia and the Greater Mekong Region, with a focus on the rubber industry and agricultural policy.  She drafted briefs containing the history of each topic, relevant legal and policy information, the current situation, future projections and areas for further research, and presented the information to the office.  In connection with her rubber research, she had the opportunity to visit the northern province of Ratanakiri where she was able to witness the vast expanses of rubber plantations, observe and talk to workers as they tapped the trees, and talk to a number of locals, including an indigenous community, about the impact of rubber expansion on their daily lives.  In addition to her research projects, she assisted with a review to the Economic Land Concessions database to verify completeness and accuracy of information, and assisted with metadata development.

Amanda Campbell

Amanda Campbell interned for East-West Management Institute in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on a USAID-funded project.  The project’s objective is to strengthen the civil society sector in Kyrgyzstan.  As part of this objective, she worked with local lawyers to finalize a draft law on social procurement.  The law will enable the government to contract with civil society organizations to deliver social services to Kyrgyz citizens.  At conferences and in meetings, she observed local and international non-profit organizations in their efforts to strengthen Kyrgyzstan’s democracy by increasing educational opportunities across the country, providing widespread media coverage of political events, and supporting parliament.  She learned about the difficulties post-Soviet states face today and the ways in which non-profit organizations impact burgeoning democracies.  Amanda also helped the project launch its website and draft its quarterly report.

James Damon

James Damon worked at the Zhicheng Public Interest Law Firm in Beijing, China.  He assisted with Zhicheng's Center for Civil Society, where he researched comparative charity and non-profit laws.  Through this experience, he developed an interest in tax law, which he now see as a poweful force for good in society.  He also helped to plan and host a conference hosted at the China University of Political Science and Law.  James loved his time spent living and working in Beijing and feels very fortunate to have been selected for this experience.

Sarah Deuitch

Sarah Deuitch interned at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, Netherlands.  She worked on a team in the Appeals Chamber to draft the Appeals Judgement for Popović et. al.  As the largest criminal appeal in International Criminal Law history, this 900+ page document provided Sarah with a wide variety of experiences.  Not only was she responsible for cite-checking 250+ pages of the judgement, but she completed time-sensitive research projects and legal analysis for the lead attorneys on the Popović team.  Sarah was in charge of total case management, drafting the Procedural History for the judgement, and reviewing the entire judgement to preserve the safety and security of a protected witness.  Working for such a large organization (even while the ICTY is in the process of minimization) was a very eye-opening experience for her.  Sarah really appreciated the legal and personal growth provided by interacting with a wide variety of lawyers and law students from countries around the world.

Kaylee Gumm

Kaylee Gumm spent the summer working for DPK Tetra Tech on USAID’s Iraq Access to Justice Program.  She worked in Baghdad, Iraq, for the first part of the summer and then  relocated to Erbil, Iraq, in the Iraqi Kurdish Region to complete the internship.  The primary objective of the Iraq Access to Justice program is to develop a sustainable legal aid framework in Iraq by working with law schools, Iraq’s attorneys, local NGOs, and government officials.  One of her primary projects was to conduct comparative research on legal aid systems in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.  Kaylee drafted a document of best practices for delivery of legal aid.  She also developed an assessment tool for legal aid clinics to ensure that those best practices are followed.  It was an interesting time to be in Iraq, and Kaylee gained great experience on legal aid development.

Lindy Gunderson

Lindy Gunderson interned for the International Programs Division of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) in Arlington, Virginia.  Lindy performed various tasks for NCSC over the summer, including assignments focused on rule-of-law project proposals, project implementation, and in-house counsel policy and procedure oversight functions.  Her contributions included legal research, proposal drafting, and report editing for projects in the Caribbean, South America, and Eastern Europe, as well as training and visitation programs for multinational audiences within the United States.  Lindy provided legal analysis to NCSC seniors through research on a diverse set of topics, including best practices and accountability standards of American judicial models and on worldwide trends related to regulatory schemes governing those engaged in the legal profession.  She also created a database and internal tracking mechanism to consolidate resources related to NCSC’s registration as a non-profit entity in those countries NCSC formally operates in and assisted in preparing NCSC’s official registration in the Caribbean to support NCSC’s ongoing judicial reform support programs there.

Rosemary Hambright

Rosemary Hambright interned for International Bridges to Justice (IBJ) at the Defender Resource Center in Banlung, Cambodia.  International Bridges to Justice is an international NGO dedicated to eradicating investigative torture by providing legal aid and hosting roundtable discussions with government officials, police, and lawyers.  Rosemary worked closely with a Cambodian lawyer, visiting clients in prison, going to trials, and traveling to remote villages to interview witnesses.  Rosemary studied Cambodian criminal procedure to help International Bridges to Justice reorganize its internal case management system.  She also worked on grant proposal research, document editing, and blogging. 

Ashley Johnson

Ashley Johnson worked at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), in their office in The Hague, Netherlands.  Her work was focused on researching constitutional news and history in order to create tools for constitution builders in various nations.  She collected information on the constitutional history of about a dozen countries to create a resource for comparison and briefed her supervisors on current constitutional changes around the world.  Ashley also researched and analyzed the political and historical factors that influenced the new Constitutions in Tunisia and Kenya as part of a new project focused on assisting governments in determining the best constitutional structure for their nations.  She had the opportunity to provide support in developing several of IDEA’s other constitution-building tools and to attend a session of the International Criminal Court.

Erika Larsen

Erika Larsen spent her summer in Battambang, Cambodia, where she interned with International Bridges to Justice, a non-governmental organization focused both on eradicating torture and ending the use of pre-trial detention as an investigative tool.

While interning, Erika conducted comparative research and attended trials and hearings while assisting lawyers in defending indigent clients.  Erika's duties further included interviewing clients, reporting “Success Stories,” and revamping International Bridges to Justice's database management system.  Finally, Erika aided in conducting Street Law sessions and organizing meetings with leaders of local human rights organizations.

Ross Natividad

Ross Natividad interned with East-West Management Institute’s Open Development Cambodia (ODC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  ODC is an NGO that provides the public with data and research concerning the economic and social development of Cambodia.  During his time at ODC, Ross conducted research and wrote briefs on the laws and policies behind the country’s booming rubber industry and assessed the environmental and human rights implications.  He presented his research findings to local attorneys and experts in the field.

In addition to his research, Ross contributed to ODC’s data collection of foreign investment in Cambodia.  Collaborating with the ODC team, he conducted field trips to rural provinces in order to track undocumented agro-industry projects and interview indigenous communities affected by economic land concessions.

Hannah Needleman

Hannah Needleman worked for the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome, Italy.  As an intern with the Central Asia Team, Hannah was one of three staff members at headquarters handling project proposals, managing field office logistics, and performing research to promote rule of law initiatives in Mongolia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Montenegro.  This included creating educational materials that were provided to 200 Mongolian judges during a large-scale judicial training.  Apart from reviewing contracts, preparing documents, substantiating proposal narratives, she was also responsible for communicating with the field offices as well as donors such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Union, and USAID.  The knowledge that she acquired during her internship at IDLO provided her with lifelong memories and invaluable legal skills.

John Palenski

As a clerk at the Essen District Court in Essen, Germany, John Palenski worked closely with the chief judge for the Commercial Chamber.  In addition to attending court session, John discussed various cases and the corresponding decisions with the judge, while learning about the inner workings of the Court.  Besides clerking in the Commercial Chamber, John was able to work in different sectors of the Court, such as the criminal division and the prosecutor’s office.  Furthermore, he had the opportunity to work with a prestigious law firm, Holthoff-Pförtner.

In addition to working, John’s time at the Court allowed him to develop an in depth understanding of a civil law, specifically the German law system.  Through discussions with co-workers, he gained a not only a theoretical but also a practical understanding of the intricacies of the civil law system.  John’s summer at the Essen District Court was a unique opportunity, as the Court does not usually allow internships and has never had an American clerk, and one, which he will not soon forget.

Krishna Patel

Krishna Patel interned for the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Capetown, South Africa.  Krishna was immediately assigned an independent research project to complete during my time with the organization.  Her work focused on the implementation of transitional justice in post-conflict Liberia, a country ravaged by a brutal 11-year civil war.  Patel pored over mandates in the peace agreement, the transitional government’s orders, and the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to outline and evaluate the most effective transitional justice mechanisms used in the west African state.  Her research and report will be submitted to the African Union commissioner as a part of an in-depth study of transitional justice mechanisms.  Overall, the study will conclude what mechanisms are best, which actors (African Union, UN, and regional economic communities) are best suited for implementing the mechanisms and how to fight impunity.

Meghan Phillips

Meghan Phillips interned in Cape Town, South Africa with People Against Suffering, Oppression, and Poverty (PASSOP).  Originally founded by refugees from Zimbabwe, PASSOP is a grassroots NGO that advocates for the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants in South Africa.  It works to end discrimination against this vulnerable group through projects including: a paralegal assistance program, anti-xenophobia help desks, integration events, monitoring internally displaced persons camps, a gender rights program, and a disabled children support project.  Additionally, PASSOP oversees the LGBTI Refugee Support Project, one of the only projects in South Africa intended to defend the rights of LGBTI foreign nationals.

Meghan worked predominantly with PASSOP’s paralegal program, which assists migrants with issues of documentation, employment, housing, education, and healthcare.  Her main project was to assist asylum-seekers with their appeal affidavits when they had been denied asylum.  This involved reading the decision letter from the Department of Home Affairs, interviewing clients in French or English, researching human rights data, and writing an affidavit that rebutted the reasons for denial made by the Home Affairs officer.  Meghan also assisted with “New Comer Letters.”  In 2012, the Department of Home Affairs decided to accept applications for asylum only in Durbin, Pretoria, or Musina.  Therefore, the New Comer Letter produced by PASSOP asks the authorities to be patient with undocumented migrants while they gather the resources to travel because they are no longer able to begin their application in Cape Town.  Additionally, Meghan helped write grant applications, attended fundraisers, and produced affidavit templates for each of the main countries of origin for asylum-seekers.

Abby Riley

Abby Riley worked at Democracy for Development (D4D) in Pristina, Kosovo.  D4D is a think tank that focuses on socio-economic development, governance, the development of political parties, and the development of inter-ethnic, regional, and international relations.  Abby's biggest project during the summer was extensively researching for and editing a forthcoming "Rule of Law and Security: Indicators and Projections" paper.  She also conducted interviews with Kosovar political leaders to help determine whether parties have adopted a cohesive political ideology at this point in Kosovo's development.  Abby attended round tables with local and international NGOs, helped draft a grant proposal, and was able to attend parliamentary election observations with my colleagues.  At the end of the summer, she researched the legality of the use of witness testimony via two-way videoconferencing in war crimes trials in Kosovo for a European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) judge.  During her time in Pristina, Abby was able to attend a war crimes trial and a trial at the Special Chamber of the Supreme Court.  She was also able to travel to seven neighboring countries during my stay with fellow William & Mary Law student, Erica Beacom.

Shaina Salman

Shaina Salman worked for Tetra Tech DPK in Côte d' Ivoire.  Shaina worked on a USAID-funded ProJustice Program whose objective was to better the administration of justice and access to justice for Ivorians.  Shaina was able to assist with trainings for court personnel on a new law, developed in partnership with the government, on judicial assistance and legal aid.  Additionally, Shaina worked on a "law week" which featured legal clinics as well as a "women in the law" career panel. Overall, Shaina's experience in Côte d'Ivoire was life-changing. 

Parisa Tabassian

Parisa Tabassian worked at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC with the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law team, focusing on Afghanistan.  USIP is an independent, nonpartisan institution established and funded by Congress to increase the nation's capacity to manage international conflict without violence and to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflicts around the world by engaging directly in conflict zones and providing analysis, education, and resources to those working for peace.

Parisa's main assignment was to audit and update the INPROL team's website data on Afghanistan and the rule of law.  The US State Department funds the INPROL website as a forum for rule of law experts, scholars, and practitioners to share information and assist each other to be informed and prepared for rule of law work in the field.  USIP provides general background information on the site about Afghanistan's history, people, culture, politics, and rule of law, and there are discussion forums for INPROL members to contribute as well.  Parisa's main large task during her 10 weeks at USIP was to vet the information on the site, update sections as needed, and write the recent history and current state of affairs sections.  She also compiled an electronic database of more than 500 online rule of law resource materials.  Parisa attended events hosted by USIP about Afghanistan and rule of law and wrote summaries for staff members and blogs for the site highlighting interesting research and program initiatives.  Parisa had the unique opportunity to consult with a former Afghan member of Parliament who is now a refugee in the United States and write blog posts on her behalf about her professional experience and thoughts on the developing Afghan presidential elections.