Ten weeks – done. Words cannot begin to express how I feel now that my ten-week summer legal internship has come to an end. When you reach the end, you begin thinking about the beginning. In December 2016, I was exhausted after an arduous first semester of law school and I was unaware of the great adventure that awaited in Cambodia. In May, with the first year of law school under my belt, I arrived in Cambodia - eager to use my legal research and writing skills. I can proudly report that I put my newfound skills to use and accomplished many important projects this summer. I discovered new areas of law as I conducted legal research on intellectual property, international law, and the Cambodian copyright legal framework. I wrote an important and ambitious copyright assessment. I participated in board meetings. I assisted with grant writing. I presented my research to regional partners and stakeholders. I formulated questionnaires. I interviewed stakeholders. I synthesized information and I wrote important legal memos. Through these tasks, I worked with dedicated people who are passionate about the future of Cambodia and committed to its continued development. I am grateful for the respect, kindness, and support I have received from Open Development Cambodia.
This past week, my work has consisted of polishing my copyright assessment and preparing for my final presentation. On Wednesday, I gave the final presentation to board members, ODC staff, and other regional stakeholders. I hope that my presentation and assessment can foster communication between local and regional stakeholders and increase collaboration within the open data movement in Southeast Asia. The final statistics for my assessment are as follows: 112 pages, 781 citations, and 35, 231 words. I have appreciated the opportunity to delve into substantive legal research and accomplish such an ambitious project. I have strengthened my legal research and writing skills as well as my legal analytical abilities which will provide a solid foundation for my legal career.
Lauren and I took our final trip out of the country - this time to Hanoi, Vietnam. This trip had special importance to me as I am of Vietnamese descent and this was my first time in Vietnam. Forty-two years have passed since my mother fled the country in 1975. I was impressed by the tranquility, kindness, optimism, and youthful energy of the people and the city. I hope that the United States and Vietnam can continue to work together to heal old wounds and foster new friendships.
I would like to thank several people who have made this summer internship and adventure possible. First, I would to thank Thy Try, Chandara Khun, and the ODC staff for their guidance and support. Second, I would like to thank the Center for Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding at William & Mary Law School, Professor Christie Warren, and Denise and Andrew Koch. Third, I would like to thank all the people at home who have supported me in this endeavor: Jim, Mai, Melissa, Eileen, and my newest follower – Kathleen. Lastly, I would like to thank Lauren for everything and being by my side every step of the way. (well, maybe slightly in front – leading the way)
My legal career will take many turns, but I will always be grateful for my time in Cambodia during the summer of 2017.