This week I learned three important things:
The first being that Geneva is home to some of the most incredible people I have ever met; second, is that resourcefulness and flexibility are the keys to success in the field of international law; and third, is (wait for it) I can actually cook!
One thing I love about Geneva in the summer is the community of interns that live here. The interns I have met so far have been from all walks of life. This week in particular we had a number of different mixers and networking events and, as a result, our IBJ family grew quite a bit. For example, our new friends include the CERN interns, the World Health Organization interns, the UN interns, etc. I spent most of Friday night learning about string theory and quantum physics, and Saturday was consumed by discussions of potential methods for providing women of reproductive age access to treatment for soil transmitted helminth. It is pretty incredible to hear about what each intern is working on this summer and to see how passionate they are about their work. It is also refreshing to step outside the law school bubble for a bit and discuss topics completely outside of my day to day work. Interns aren’t the only superstars living here however. IBJ has also brought in some inspiring attorneys that I cannot wait to learn from throughout the summer. To name a few, so far we have had (law) Professors from Duke, UCLA, and Smith come to share their stories and experiences with us as well as collaborate on various projects we are working on. We have also had the pleasure of getting to know various international attorneys and ask their opinion on some of the prevalent global, legal issues of today. Overall it seems like our CEO, Karen, knows just about everyone on this planet. (Did I mention that she is awesome??)
In other news, the Myanmar training manual is still coming along! We discovered some documents and field research that we believe will be extremely helpful in supplementing what we have already included in the manual, and will be collaborating with attorneys all over the world to finish the training manual in the next few weeks. Throughout this process I have learned a lot about myself and the practice of law in general, and in my opinion two of the most valuable skills (skills I hope to strengthen throughout the summer) when it comes to international research are resourcefulness and flexibility. Often times you may not know what you are looking for or where to begin looking; or perhaps you find exactly what you are looking for but there is no English translation; or you need to reach attorneys in other countries immediately but the time zones are drastically different; but in any situation, it is imperative that you adapt and make it work. We also have to keep technicalities in mind such as, anything we write will likely be translated and thus using direct, active, plain language is even more important and emphasized than it is in American legal writing. Or for example, we have come across different formatting procedures one must comply with in each country like numbering paragraphs, that I would have never even thought to ask about before this job. Further, at least in my personal experience, the law is unfamiliar and in order to know what authority you can use or cite, you must first understand the legal system as a whole (i.e. do they use case law? Have things changed after elections or governmental shifts?). Although these factors can and do complicate things a bit, I also think they make the work I am doing this summer really exciting and interesting. Not only do I get to research various countries legal system’s and the laws themselves, but also the culture as a whole to better understand how to implement and apply the laws. I love that we get to be creative and innovative in the way we are explaining and applying the law. We are constantly challenged to embrace and combine cultural elements with legal knowledge in order to make the greatest impact. Ultimately, I have found great value in taking a more holistic approach to international research and writing, and I plan to continue to take advantage of this opportunity to learn as much as possible about the law and about each unique culture over the course of the summer and throughout my legal career.
Finally, (my friends back home will not believe it) but I have officially found a new hobby: cooking! We had an intern bar-b-que this past weekend and I am proud to say that with Kristi’s and Laura’s guidance, I am on my way to becoming Chef Jenn. We shared an incredible meal and chatted on Laura’s adorable back porch throughout the day on Sunday. The food was unbelievable and truly picture perfect. This was the best way to end an incredible second week if you ask me!
Oh, and I almost forgot! As promised, I will share my highs and lows of the week. For my low, it rained here mid-week and my allergies came back! I would say this is still a high in a way because the rain cooled everything off, and I finally got to wear some of the numerous sweaters I brought along on the trip. Unfortunately the allergies here are pretty terrible and I just hope that they calm down throughout the summer. As for my high, each day when I walk home from work I pass the Jet D'eau and each day within the water there is a beautiful rainbow. The sight of this rainbow is one I know I will never get tired of seeing and it makes me smile every single day!
Well, I’m off to bed but I look forward to sharing more adventures with you all next week!
Until next time,