So You Think You Want To Be An International Advisor? (Part IV)


PART IV.  Special Attorney Section

Note: In this section I discuss options those with a law degree may have that the average police officer may not.  If you’re not an attorney you may want to skip this section.

I am an attorney, although as I love to say, I no longer practice law.  We attorneys tend to think we are special so this section is devoted to issues for lawyers.

 As an attorney you may have options which are not available to a lot of people who want to work overseas.  If you have experience working as a prosecutor you probably have the best chance of getting hired overseas.  Rule of Law (RoL) projects always need current or former prosecutors.  Any criminal law experience helps, and if you haven’t been a prosecutor but worked on the defense side, I would still consider applying for RoL positions.  Occasionally positions specifically for defense attorney are available, but those are pretty few and far between as RoL usually focuses on putting criminals in jail rather than defending them.

If you are one of the few attorneys who also has police experience, that will be a double bonus for you because that opens up RoL positions looking for police officers, investigators and managers. Having a law degree will give you a shot at those jobs, too.  They will often pay less than attorney-specific positions, but can still pay well and gets your foot in the door.

Another “foot in the door” position you should consider it the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (http://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/rule_of_law.html ) (ABA-ROLI).   This program looks for attorneys and judges to work overseas for periods of time as short as 90 days.  The problem with this “job” is it is a voluntary position.  You don’t get a salary, but I am told all of your travel and living expenses are paid and the stipend is generous enough to put some money in your pocket.  The great thing about this is it is relatively short term so you can test out whether you like working internationally or not. It also gets your foot in the door, allows you to put some international experience on your resume, and you are able to meet and network with people in the field who might hire you for a paid position.

As an attorney you will also have options outside of the CivPol/RoL area. You should look at USAID and contracting companies that work for them.  They will often be involved in civil-law-capacity-building projects and need attorneys for those.  If you have real estate or have banking/financial experience there are jobs available in those sectors.  You may also have office and project management experience which may qualify you for a job outside of normal law practice positions.  Human trafficking, adult abuse, and about any other liberal, not-for-profit cause out there may be looking for an attorney with an altruistic streak to work in one of their projects.  You are limited only by your imagination and ability to pad your resume.  If you ever “billed hours,” padding your resume should be no big deal for you.

In addition to the companies listeed in the last section there are a number of websites that specifically look for attorneys to fill overseas positions.  You can find them through a web search.

In the final section I will try to answer some Frequently Asked Questions.

Next:  Part V. FAQ

©2012 by Steven Fenner

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