International Law Career Guide

By Jennifer Sekula
Updated May 2011

U.N. Security Council


Careers in International Affairs, 8th ed., by Maria Pinto Carland, ed., Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2008.
Not geared specifically to law students, this book conveys a sense of employment possibilities and hiring dynamics in international affairs. The chapters devoted to the U.S. government and international organizations are comprehensive, while other chapters (such as those on banking, business, and consulting) contain a sampling of organizations.
OCS JZ1238 .U6 C37

Careers in International Law, 3rd ed., Salli Anne Swartz, ed., Chicago, IL: American Bar Association, Section of International Law, 2008.
This book includes essays by international lawyers practicing in both the private and public sectors. Sample chapter titles are: Practicing International Criminal Law, The Road to an International In-house Legal Career, How Do You Get from Philadelphia to Paris?, and Fair Winds and Following Seas: a Career in Admiralty Practice.
OCS KZ1238 .U55 C37

Careers in International Law: a Guide to Career Paths and Internships in International Law, Washington, D.C.: American Society of International Law, updated annually.
This guide contains essays, in which seasoned practitioners share their experiences and offer advice concerning career paths in public and private international law fields, in areas such as criminal, human rights, international trade, and the environment, international development, dispute resolution, and legal information. Detailed information and descriptions from over 75 organizations and institutions that offer a variety of internships, fellowships and pro bono work are provided, as are procedures for applying to them.
OCS K115 .C47

Germain's Transnational Law Research: A Guide for Attorneys, Claire Germain, ed., Ardsley-on-Hudson, NY: Transnational Juris Pubs., 2006.
Section 1-23 of this looseleaf volume addresses "Career Preparation and International Legal Education."

Serving the Public: A Job Search Guide: Harvard Law School's Handbook and Directory for Law Students and Lawyers Seeking Public Service Work (Vol II: International), by Stacy M. DeBroff, Harvard Law School, updated annually.
This guide details how to look for jobs and work in different areas of public international law. The book includes an extensive listing of over 400 potential employers. It also contains fellowship, summer funding, and bibliography information, as well as information on international work on Capitol Hill, international litigation, development work, and opportunities for international positions in state or local government.
OCS KF299 .P8 P83


Guide to Foreign Law Firms, 5th ed., James R. Silkenat and William M. Hannay, eds, Chicago, IL: American Bar Association, 2010.

Designed to assist American lawyers in identifying legal counsel in foreign jurisdictions, this guide is arranged in six geographical sections, with countries listed alphabetically within each section. Typical information includes name of firm, address, telephone, telex, and fax numbers, names of partners, and other offices, if any.
OCS K68 .G85

International Organizations: A Dictionary and Directory, 6th ed, by Giuseppe Schiavone, New York: Palgrave MacMillian, 2005.
Provides independent information about organizations, including the International Criminal Court, the World Conservation Union, the International Monetary Fund, International Atomic Energy Agency, and United Nations divisions and departments. Serves as a starting point for identifying organizations that are aligned with one's interests.

Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory, Summit, NJ: Martindale-Hubbell (LexisNexis), 2008.
These three volumes list international lawyers and law firms, providing information in a familiar Martindale-Hubbell format. Updated annually.

Yearbook of International Organizations, Brussels: Union of International Associations, 2008/2009.
A compilation of over 22,000 international organizations and their addresses, structures, memberships and publications. Updated annually.

Journal Articles

Aresty, Jeffrey and Andrew S. Breines, "Making Your Mark in International Law", 30 Student Lawyer 22 (2002). (Available in library's periodicals collection.)
This article describes being a lawyer in a small international firm. It details the structure and everyday workings of an office whose clients are spread out around the world, explaining the unique reliance international lawyers have on the Internet as a means of global communication. It gives tips on how to develop the skills needed to succeed in the international law community.

Davies, Kenneth B., Jr.,"Six Uneasy Pieces", 24 Wis. Int'l L.J. 31 (Winter 2006).
This article discusses the impact of technology and globalization on the practice of international law and the the importance of law students to recognize the changing landscape of international law.

Gerson, Donna, "Global Climate Change Offers Hot Career Opportunities: Michael Gerrard, Editor of Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, Is Passionate About Global Warming and the Role Lawyers Can Play in Improving the Environment. (Interview)", 37 Student Lawyer 30 (November 2008).
An interview with a successful individual in the field of environmental law, this article discusses practicing international law at small and large firms as well as government agencies and offers advice to students considering the field. The interview also explores the opportunities offered by the federal government's current and probable future efforts to address global climate change.

Krause, Jason, "Making Space Matter: as Commercial Prospects in Space Grow, a Niche Practice May Be Moving into the Mainstream", 94 ABA Journal 54 (2008).
Describes how the young and growing field of "Space Law" is an offshoot of traditional international law, and outlines the legal framework and future opportunites for lawyers.

Wojcik, Mark E., "Working Internationally: There's No Prescribed Pathway Into International Law, But as You Find Your Way There, Make Sure Your Reasons Are Sound", 36 Student Lawyer 18 (January 2008). (Available in library's periodicals collection.)
A general guide intended for law students interested in an international legal career, this article contains cautionary material intended to clarify the nature of an international legal career, profiles of successful individuals in the field, and a series of recommendations for students interested in the field.


There are numerous legal periodicals that cover the topic of international law. Those listed below are a representative selection of titles that discuss issues related to being a practitioner in the field.

American Journal of International Law
Library has vol. 1, 1907- present.
American Society of International Law.
Westlaw: AMJIL

ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law
Continues: ILSA journal of international law
Library has vol. 1, 1995 - present.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL: Nova Southeastern Univ., Shepard Broad Law Center.

International Lawyer
Library has vol. 1, 1966 - present.
ABA Section of International Law and Practice.
Westlaw: INTLLAW


These groups offer membership opportunities and information about the practice of international law. Some may sponser seminars or conferences on relevant topics.

American Bar Association, Section on International Law and Practice
740 15th St, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Student ABA menbers can join this section online at

American Society of International Law
2223 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
tel: (202) 939-6000

International Law Students Association
25 E. Jackson Blvd., Suite 518
Chicago, IL 60604
tel: (312) 362-5025
fax: (312) 362-5073
jobs website:

Other organizations may be found using:
Encyclopedia of Associations.  Detroit, MI: Gale Research Co., 1961-
Covers more than 100,000 nonprofit membership associations worldwide.  Available on Lexis.

Photo:  Associated Press