Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

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eagletwww
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Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by eagletwww » Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:07 am

Hi!

I am a 1L in a T14

I wondered if there is any way to practice human rights or international public law upon graduation while making nearly as much as in big law? *need to pay off these debts*

What are the top firms in the practice of Human rights and/or International public law?

Have you heard of the firm Cohen Milstein?

My question might seem naive, but as an international law student, I am not very familiar with the job prospects in the US in this field.


Thank you !
Last edited by eagletwww on Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:18 am

if you're flexible about what side of the aisle you're on Gibson Dunn and Hogan Lovells pay top dollar and have very prestigious international human rights practices.

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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by ymmv » Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:56 am

eagletwww wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:07 am
Hi!

I am a 1L in a T14

I wondered if there is any way to practice human rights or international public law upon graduation while making nearly as much as in big law? *need to pay off these debts*

What are the top firms in the practice of Human rights and/or International public law?

My question might seem naive, but as an international law student, I am not very familiar with the job prospects in the US in this field.
These are not fields that big law firms routinely practice, except insofar as defending human rights violations counts as a human rights practice (see above). You might be able to take pro bono (unbilled) cases on behalf of victims of human rights abuses, and some firms are more supportive of large pro bono case loads than others. But it’s not the sort of thing you can build a practice around in biglaw.

“International public law” as a field largely doesn’t exist as law school hopefuls imagine it. It’s not a thing US law much recognizes to begin with.

eagletwww
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by eagletwww » Wed Nov 03, 2021 10:55 am

Thank you so much for your answers!

Story
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by Story » Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:11 pm

If you want to do work to protect human rights, you’d probably have to work at a unicorn nonprofit job or certain federal government jobs in the state department (also rare). None of these jobs pay big-law rates. You probably will never have a salary that can compete with a big-law salary.

But you would be able to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness after working 10 years.

Keep in mind that the above jobs are very hard to get in general and even harder to get right out of LS. Maybe if you go to Yale. Or maybe if you have some pre-LS specialized work experience in the field. Or maybe if you do prestigious clerkships or fellowships. Or all three.

Good luck.

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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:53 pm

Story wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:11 pm
If you want to do work to protect human rights, you’d probably have to work at a unicorn nonprofit job or certain federal government jobs in the state department (also rare). None of these jobs pay big-law rates. You probably will never have a salary that can compete with a big-law salary.

But you would be able to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness after working 10 years.

Keep in mind that the above jobs are very hard to get in general and even harder to get right out of LS. Maybe if you go to Yale. Or maybe if you have some pre-LS specialized work experience in the field. Or maybe if you do prestigious clerkships or fellowships. Or all three.

Good luck.
not sure how many fedgov positions are open to international lawyers, and ngo's generally (though not always) are more reluctant than firms to hire international lawyers b/c of visa issues. Also, with state, you don't really have a ton of control over specific portfolio, at least when you start with L. Even if you can grab one of those very coveted jobs, no guarantee that you'll be doing good guy work.

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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by MKC » Wed Nov 03, 2021 6:31 pm

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:18 am
if you're flexible about what side of the aisle you're on Gibson Dunn and Hogan Lovells pay top dollar and have very prestigious international human rights practices.
loooool

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Slytherpuff
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by Slytherpuff » Wed Nov 03, 2021 6:59 pm

If you want that big law money, how about something like international arbitration instead? It's private sector but still has that international focus.

Another option would be to go into litigation in big law and then leave after a few years (when you're more marketable for some of the unicorn jobs). You can do some internationally-oriented pro bono work at the same time. My pro bono work is all refugee-oriented for example.

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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by Slytherpuff » Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:02 pm

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:18 am
if you're flexible about what side of the aisle you're on Gibson Dunn and Hogan Lovells pay top dollar and have very prestigious international human rights practices.
This case aside, appellate work in general could be a decent way to do "human rights" work in big law. I know that at my firm (well-known appellate practice in DC) Supreme Court pro bono work counts fully as billable hours. Big law appellate lawyers were the ones fighting against the Trump admin travel ban, for example. ...But you have to be willing to pick up some cases on the other side as well, like the Nestle case.

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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:12 pm

I mean to be 100% on the level international law is just law but with annoying conflicts of law problems and with clients in wildly different time zones. My life has gotten way better since dropping the international part of my practice. If u want to help people internationally there are more effective career paths and if u want to help people using the law it's more effective to do it in the US

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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by Slytherpuff » Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:09 pm

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:12 pm
My life has gotten way better since dropping the international part of my practice
100% cosigned

eagletwww
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by eagletwww » Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:25 pm

Story wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:11 pm
If you want to do work to protect human rights, you’d probably have to work at a unicorn nonprofit job or certain federal government jobs in the state department (also rare). None of these jobs pay big-law rates. You probably will never have a salary that can compete with a big-law salary.

But you would be able to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness after working 10 years.

Keep in mind that the above jobs are very hard to get in general and even harder to get right out of LS. Maybe if you go to Yale. Or maybe if you have some pre-LS specialized work experience in the field. Or maybe if you do prestigious clerkships or fellowships. Or all three.

Good luck.
I. Am. An. International. Student. lol

So most of what you are talking about does not apply to me. I do not go to Yale. Said in the initial post that I am in a T14
Last edited by eagletwww on Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Story
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by Story » Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:18 pm

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:53 pm
Story wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:11 pm
If you want to do work to protect human rights, you’d probably have to work at a unicorn nonprofit job or certain federal government jobs in the state department (also rare). None of these jobs pay big-law rates. You probably will never have a salary that can compete with a big-law salary.

But you would be able to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness after working 10 years.

Keep in mind that the above jobs are very hard to get in general and even harder to get right out of LS. Maybe if you go to Yale. Or maybe if you have some pre-LS specialized work experience in the field. Or maybe if you do prestigious clerkships or fellowships. Or all three.

Good luck.
not sure how many fedgov positions are open to international lawyers, and ngo's generally (though not always) are more reluctant than firms to hire international lawyers b/c of visa issues. Also, with state, you don't really have a ton of control over specific portfolio, at least when you start with L. Even if you can grab one of those very coveted jobs, no guarantee that you'll be doing good guy work.
Sorry, I missed the part about being an international student.

To work in fed gov, you generally need to be a US citizen.

Story
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by Story » Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:34 pm

eagletwww wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:25 pm
Story wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 4:11 pm
If you want to do work to protect human rights, you’d probably have to work at a unicorn nonprofit job or certain federal government jobs in the state department (also rare). None of these jobs pay big-law rates. You probably will never have a salary that can compete with a big-law salary.

But you would be able to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness after working 10 years.

Keep in mind that the above jobs are very hard to get in general and even harder to get right out of LS. Maybe if you go to Yale. Or maybe if you have some pre-LS specialized work experience in the field. Or maybe if you do prestigious clerkships or fellowships. Or all three.

Good luck.
I. Am. An. International. Student. lol

So most of what you are talking about do not apply to me. I do not go to Yale. Said in the initial post that I am in a T14
I understood that you were at a t14. I was trying to show you that these jobs are so competitive, you’d probably need to be a Yale grad (or have some of those other qualifications I mentioned previously) to have a shot.

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Barry
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by Barry » Thu Nov 04, 2021 5:15 pm

Apologies mods for writing this as a 3L in the Legal Employment forum, but I felt like this anecdote was relevant to OP's salary question.

This week one of my classes had a guest speaker from a prominent international human rights organization. They were pretty senior within the organization.

Somebody asked about comp and they said something like "If we're looking for a new candidate, say someone with over a decade of experience, stellar credentials (they mentioned clerking, working at a prestigious government agency, or relevant biglaw and pro bono expereince etc.) then we'd probably offer them around $65k in New York." I also don't think the pay gets dramatically better for the senior folks, because the guest speaker said their pay wasn't that high (they brought it up several times). I bet the guest took an insane pay cut when they made the switch as a biglaw partner.

They also mentioned biglaw experience being a big plus for the candidates they interview and suggested that if people are interested in this route they should: a) do biglaw (and save as much as possible), b) do relevant pro bono work while in biglaw, then c) switch to public interest.

eagletwww
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by eagletwww » Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:18 pm

Slytherpuff wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:02 pm
BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:18 am
if you're flexible about what side of the aisle you're on Gibson Dunn and Hogan Lovells pay top dollar and have very prestigious international human rights practices[/url].
This case aside, appellate work in general could be a decent way to do "human rights" work in big law. I know that at my firm (well-known appellate practice in DC) Supreme Court pro bono work counts fully as billable hours. Big law appellate lawyers were the ones fighting against the Trump admin travel ban, for example. ...But you have to be willing to pick up some cases on the other side as well, like the Nestle case.
Thank you so much for your answer

Do you know the firm Cohen Milstein ?

What is the name of your firm in DC? I am very interested in the DC market.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Human rights / international public law firms ? Salaries?

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:33 pm

eagletwww wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 8:18 pm
Slytherpuff wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:02 pm
BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:18 am
if you're flexible about what side of the aisle you're on Gibson Dunn and Hogan Lovells pay top dollar and have very prestigious international human rights practices[/url].
This case aside, appellate work in general could be a decent way to do "human rights" work in big law. I know that at my firm (well-known appellate practice in DC) Supreme Court pro bono work counts fully as billable hours. Big law appellate lawyers were the ones fighting against the Trump admin travel ban, for example. ...But you have to be willing to pick up some cases on the other side as well, like the Nestle case.
Thank you so much for your answer

Do you know the firm Cohen Milstein ?

What is the name of your firm in DC? I am very interested in the DC market.
They advertise their human rights stuff a lot (most of it pro bono) but if you look at their website: https://www.cohenmilstein.com/our-people they have 1 partner and 1 associate in their human rights group. worth taking a shot at, I guess, but as a general rule big plaintiffs' firms like CM would rather take a case in the US because adding the international component just layers on difficulties -- jurisdiction, discovery, availability of witnesses, etc...-- without any real upside.

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