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Careers in International Law What does a typical day or week look like for you?


At the UK Mission to the UN, my week starts with the Ambassador’s briefing meeting, which gives an overview of the key issues and UN busi- ness ahead. Throughout the week, I stay in close contact with lawyers and officials in London, re- porting on developments, providing advice and seeking instructions on how to deliver UK and FCO objectives. Each day I work with diplomats in the Mission providing advice and making them aware of legal issues they might encounter in their work – it’s a constant flow of emails, tele- phone calls and office meetings. I also attend a range of formal and working-level meetings at the UN, whether to deliver a formal statement for the UK, to negotiate Security Council or Gen- eral Assembly resolutions or other documents, or to receive briefings and exchange views with UN lawyers and officials.


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A large part of my job involves meeting and talk- ing with legal advisers at other Missions to share information, to better understand their view of events, and sometimes to persuade them to see things our way or to reach a compromise. While we may have different views and objectives, it is very collegiate and often collaborative work. It’s a busy and dynamic working environment. As the quintessential multilateral forum, it offers unparalleled opportunities and challenges for in- ternational lawyers.


What most excites you about your work?


Practicing public international law every day! Be- ing a lawyer in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office gives you a front row seat in the arena of international politics. It is a privilege to pro- vide advice to officials and diplomats striving to achieve our foreign policy objectives and to ad- vance the rule of law internationally. In particular, I enjoy international negotiations. Working out what can influence and persuade representa- tives from countries across the UN membership,


How did your experience with Jessup influence your legal career?


It solidified my interest in international law and made me more determined to find a way to do a masters degree specializing in international law and ultimately to practice international law. Jes- sup also confirmed for me that I enjoyed litiga- tion far more than transactional work.


how to craft and present your arguments, when to speak and when to let others speak, is a chal- lenging and (usually) rewarding process.


Would you tell us about your experience with Jes- sup, as a student?


I was a member of the Sydney University Jessup Team in 2000. That year the problem concerned a vaccine developed by a corporation that con- ducted human trials in another state where the population was suffering from the devastating effects of a deadly virus. It raised questions of extraterritorial jurisdiction, corporate responsibil- ity and human rights. Unusually, the respondent contested the jurisdiction of the Court under do- mestic jurisdiction and multilateral treaty reser- vations. I had great team mates and a very sup- portive law school community with no shortage of student and academic volunteers to judge us in practice moots.


We were fortunate to win the Australian com- petition and progress to the international rounds in Washington. We did well in the preliminary rounds but were forced to play-off in the round- of-sixteen against our old rivals, Melbourne Uni- versity, who we had beaten in the Australian final. Much to our disappointment, we lost. It was some solace to us that Melbourne Univer- sity went on to win the Jessup Cup. At least we could say that we had beaten the world champi- ons! Not that I’m bitter or anything…


ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 4 » May 2014


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