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Careers in International Law

then as President of the Australian Law Students Association. I think these experiences helped me to develop skills that are very useful in the work- place – working in teams, negotiating, chairing meetings, and developing and carrying out policy.

Will you tell us about your career path and your cur- rent position, and what led you to these positions?

After completing law school in 2000, I clerked for Justice Kirby at the High Court of Australia. It was an amazing experience, seeing the judicial process and the most complex appellate litiga- tion in the country up close.


From there I went to the University of Cambridge to complete my LL.M. After graduating in 2002, I moved to New York City to intern for Human Rights First (then the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights). I worked in their international justice program and attended the first Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the In- ternational Criminal Court. It was my first glimpse of multilateral diplomacy and negotiation. But it was not an easy time to find permanent work, given that the legal market had bottomed out fol- lowing 9/11. Still, I was fortunate to get a job as a litigation associate with Curtis Mallet-Prevost Colt & Mosle, where I worked on a wide range of commercial litigation, including some Septem- ber 11 terrorism litigation and other matters with an international flavor.

Following a move to London, I then worked for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. I enjoyed my time there a great deal. As with Curtis Mallet, I was surrounded by wonderful colleagues and great clients who exposed us to complex dis- putes. I particularly liked working on international arbitration and some pro bono Alien Tort Statute litigation. But I found it hard to secure as much international law work as I wanted. So when the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) ad- vertised for a legal adviser I submitted an applica- tion and ultimately got the job. (The FCO is the

UK’s ministry of foreign affairs, equivalent to the U.S. State Department).

Since January 2007, I have been an Assistant Legal Adviser in the FCO. We are organized into four teams that are responsible for provid- ing advice to the various policy departments in the FCO. During my time in London, I advised on a wide range of questions of EU law, public law and international law, such as state respon- sibility, international civil aviation, consular and diplomatic law, sanctions and arms embargoes. I negotiated bilateral and multilateral treaties and represented the UK at international meetings and conferences. And I worked on cases before the English and European courts.

In 2010, I took some leave from the FCO to spend more time caring for my young daughter. During that time, I worked for six months at the Office of International Law in the Australian At- torney General’s Department before setting off for Harvard Law School to teach a seminar and workshop on government lawyering and interna- tional law.

I then returned to the FCO in April 2012 to start a three-year diplomatic postings as a legal adviser at the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York. It is one of five foreign postings currently open to legal advisers in the FCO (the others being The Hague, Brussels, Geneva and Stras- bourg). The UK Mission is responsible for deliv- ering UK foreign policy objectives at the UN.

One of my key roles is to advise UK officials and diplomats on issues such as the powers, proce- dures and responsibilities of UN organs, the use of force, international humanitarian law, interna- tional human rights law, international criminal law, international dispute resolution, and treaty law and practice. In addition to my advisory func- tion, I have a share of policy responsibilities, par- ticularly in relation to piracy and the international criminal courts and tribunals. And I represent the UK in the UN Security Council and General

ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 4 » May 2014

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