Being a human rights lawyer and trying to avoid the clichés

May 31 2015

Hi all,

I'll keep it short, down-to-earth and life-advice free.

Part I : What I want to give you :

in case you like non-fiction books, you should consider reading the following :
"And the band played on" - from Randy Shilts : great piece of journalism about the aids epidemics in the 80s, how they tracked the virus, how they struggled to rise funds and awareness. You can watch some related movies if you're not that much into reading : "How to survive a plague" and "A normal heart" ;
"No place to hide" - from Glenn Greenwald : great piece of journalism about the NSA spying and Snowden's whistle-blowing. Well documented, it should not be a topic only discussed by conspiracy theorists ; and
(for French speaking readers) "Eloge de la barbarie judiciaire" - from Thierry Levy : an experienced criminal lawyer shares his views on the French criminal judicial system and its flaws - easy to read and suitable for everyone, even though they don't know a thing about law.

Part II : What I want from you as a captive audience

I've been studying a dual degree in law and economics in Paris, decided to chose law over economics. I naturally went to business law, as most dual degree students do (banking & finance). Usually, people quit because of the heavy workload / repetitiveness of the job. I was actually ok with both, had issues finding a meaning though - I have a potential job offer waiting for that I pass the bar exam, and am considering whether I should go for it.

I'm planning to move to Human Rights / Criminal law. However, I have many stereotypes about people working in this area (I'm afraid they'd sometimes be more into ideology than actually fighting for their clients) - though I hope I'm wrong. Anyone in the listserve did this move (business law --> human rights law) before ? Or just work in human rights / criminal law ? If yes, please feel free to reach out and prove me wrong on my stereotypes.

I'd also love to work abroad as a lawyer. Options are limited as I've only studied French law. I've thought of international criminal litigation (ICC proceedings for instance), but I'm not even sure there's more than pro bono in this field. Anyone is making a living out of this or knows someone who is : please feel free to reach out.

Finally, I'd like to say a big thanks to Julie for introducing me to the listserve almost 2 years ago.

Little ad : any French criminal lawyer looking for a genuinely-motivated almost-graduated intern should feel more than free to contact me (no need look me up on linkedin though - Pierre Durand is not my real name).

[email protected]

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