Effective tips for pursuing a career in international law
International law is a fascinating niche in the legal profession and one that enables you to work on a truly global scale. This can often mean liaising with colleagues in other countries and working for clients who trade globally or for public bodies based in another country. It can also see you working on important global issues and helping to make the world a better place. Those working in international law often take on cases related to human rights issues or international business, for example.
As such, international law is an exciting, glamorous, and rewarding part of the legal profession. However, it is a highly specialized industry and one that needs the right approach to access. But what are the best tips for pursuing a career in the sector?
Pick up the right qualifications first
One of the best tips for moving into international law is to get the right qualifications. This is essential because you access the high-level training needed to work in this specialized industry and acquire the skills needed to work in international law confidently. In addition, you graduate with a degree that employers in the industry are looking for, and one that will qualify you to work in international law roles. The online law program at Cleveland State University (CSU) is one of the best courses to enroll in if you plan to move into this type of career. It not only teaches you all you need to know to reach the top but also enables you to study on a part-time basis while working.
Think about the kind of role you want
International law is a large niche within the legal profession and one that has a range of roles. It is wise, therefore, to think about the type of international law job you want carefully.
This ensures that you not only find your dream role but also know exactly what it entails. You will know exactly the kind of qualifications are required and any other criteria for working in that role.
But what are the most popular international law jobs to think about?
International corporate lawyers are the champions of international business law, and this is one of the most widely known professions.
A mediator is one international law opening you may have heard about before and involves resolving conflicts between two global parties. This can often involve a company in one country and a company in another country coming to you for mediation on a contentious issue.
Harness the power of networking
Once you have the qualifications needed to break into international law roles, it is a case of tracking down the right opportunities. This is essentially no different to hunting down vacancies if you were to target working in family law or employment law.
While online job sites are a useful source for the latest vacancies, networking can also prove effective. Although this might have meant attending physical networking events within international law in the past, digital technology now offers more choices in this area.
LinkedIn, for example, is a popular professional online networking site that makes it easy to connect with people/firms in the industry that could prove useful. Many people will also look at utilizing their own personal professional network when trying to move into international law post-graduation.
Internships can also be effective
Whether you find them through networking or via online jobs sites, internships involving international law work in legal firms are something to look out for. While they might not offer much in terms of pay or a permanent role, they do enable you to gain real-life experience of working in the industry. Even if you get an internship that is not focused on international law, working in a law firm generally is a boost for your resume.
Getting this kind of professional experience can help you stand out from other candidates when applying for future roles. In addition, it is something that law firms value and look out for when recruiting staff.
Brush up on your cultural awareness
As you might expect, roles in international law could well see you working with corporations in other countries or taking on a case that involves collaborating with colleagues overseas. You need to be culturally aware, therefore, when following this kind of career.
Without excellent cultural awareness, you will not be able to work well with colleagues in a global corporation or communicate effectively with people from other nations. Lacking these skills could also see you making embarrassing cultural blunders when working with people from abroad or working for a foreign client.
Due to the global nature of international law jobs, overseas experience and speaking more than one language (French, German, and Japanese, for example) may be requirements. Picking up travel experiences and language skills in advance could help your career aspirations.
Why follow a career in international law?
One of the most attractive things about moving into this sector is the chance it gives to make a global impact. This could be anything from finding a satisfactory resolution between two warring business giants in Europe to helping a government in a developing country put laws in place to help improve its human rights record.
But what else makes jobs in this part of the legal profession so appealing? Common reasons include:
- Attractive salary levels (the average pay for an international lawyer, for example, is around $140,000)
- Varied choice of roles to move into
- Superb job satisfaction
- Chance to work with colleagues all over the world
- Chance to travel or relocate overseas
International law careers — an appealing choice
It is true to say that the legal profession comes with many exciting niches to focus on. International law is certainly one of them, and it gives you the chance to make a real impact on cross-border issues.