International Law Opportunities

Flags from around the world

From Nebraska to the World and Outer Space

If you have an interest in practicing international law or working outside of the United States, the University of Nebraska College of Law offers you a world of opportunities – and then some. We have some of the most highly regarded professors in the nation in fields related to international and comparative law, and the world’s first degree-bearing law school program focused on cutting-edge space, cyber, and telecommunications law. We can help take you to heights you’ve never dreamed of – right here from Nebraska, the center of the nation.

A Stellar Faculty

Faculty photo

Learn from professors who, collectively, have advised President Clinton on international trade law; served as a top international lawyer in the U.S. Department of Defense, with responsibility for negotiating arms control agreements; advised many governments and space-related businesses on their space programs and won recognition as one of the foremost scholars on international space law in the world today; served as Chief Counsel for Patents and Trademarks to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and in the Office of the General Counsel of the United States International Trade Commission; published one of the most comprehensive book-length treatments of customary international law to appear in the last forty years and wrote an acclaimed book on human rights and humanitarian intervention; achieved international prominence as an expert on the relationship between women and immigration and asylum law; had extensive experience with international agricultural law and policy; and helped the government of Mexico reform its criminal justice system to adopt the use of adversarial trials.

Our Unique International and Comparative Law Curriculum Includes 1Ls

Perhaps more importantly, you’ll be entering a school that knows that for you to be a successful lawyer in today’s cyber-connected world, where business transactions cross borders every day, you need, from the very start of your legal education, to learn the basics of foreign legal systems and international law. Nebraska Law is one of the few law schools in the country to require an introductory course on international and comparative law, “International Perspectives in the U.S. Legal System: Practicing Law in a Global Legal Environment,” in the first-year. The course helps prepare you to practice law in a globe-spanning economy and is taught by three professors, who’ve together made special contributions to the field of international law, having served a President and a Secretary of Defense, and written highly regarded books and articles on international and foreign law.

International and Comparative Law Curriculum photo

After your first year, you’ll have opportunities to take many courses on international and comparative law, including:

  • American Foreign Relations and Policy Seminar
  • Arms Control
  • Comparative Law
  • Comparative Law: International Gender Issues
  • Conflict of Laws
  • European Regulation of Space and Telecommunications Law
  • Export Control: International Traffic in Arms Regulation
  • Immigration Law
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Human Rights Law Seminar
  • International Intellectual Property Law and Remedies
  • International Law
  • International Law II: International Criminal Law and Other Specialized Topics
  • International Satellite Communications
  • International Telecommunications Law: Global Communications and Cyberwarfare Law
  • International Trade Law
  • Introduction to European Community Law
  • National Security Law
  • National Security Space Law
  • National Space Legislation
  • Refugee and Asylum Law and Practice
  • Space Law
  • Spectrum Management Law and Policy
  • U.S. Military Space Law
Programs of Concentrated Study
Programs of Concentrated Study photo

While at Nebraska Law, you can pursue an Individualized Program of Concentrated Study in an international or foreign law-related area of your choice, with faculty approval. In addition, you can follow a program of concentrated study on international human rights law in collaboration with the University of Nebraska’s highly regarded Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. In doing so you can take advantage of the University of Nebraska’s international reputation in the human rights field, earned in large part due to the pioneering work of renowned political science professor David P. Forsythe. Visit here for more information. If your interests soar beyond the atmosphere or involve the brave new world of cyber law, or the law governing the telecommunications systems that keep us globally connected, you can pursue a specialization in space, cyber, and telecommunications law and study with foremost experts in those fields.

Pursue a Joint Degree Program in Political Science

If you are serious about studying global law and international politics or international affairs, you can obtain a joint J.D.- M.A. in Political Science. You can study with UNL’s prominent international affairs specialists in the Department of Politics at the College of Arts and Sciences, including world-renowned experts on transitional justice and bringing the rule of law to countries torn by conflict. You may also be able to create other joint degree programs that take advantage of the University’s many global programs, including an international program on early childhood development.

Obtain an L.L.M. Degree in Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law

After you obtain your J.D. degree (either here or elsewhere), pursue the world’s only LL.M. degree in Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law taught in English. And, you can do so either on our beautiful campus or online, having as real or virtual classmates some of the most talented students and practitioners in these fields the world over. Moreover, you may have the opportunity to study at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France.

L.L.M. Degree in Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law photo

Our Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law LL.M. graduates have gone on to serve in challenging positions. For example, Amber Charlesworth, '11 was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow, a prestigious leadership development program, upon her graduation from the LL.M. program. As a result of that selection, Amber currently works for the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the Office of Space and Advanced Technology (OES/SAT). OES/SAT has primary responsibility for U.S. representation to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), where a wide range of space policy issues are addressed.

The Program in Space, Cyber, and Telecommunications Law sponsors annual conferences in Washington, D.C., Omaha, and Lincoln that bring together top global experts to discuss cutting-edge issues in international space law.

Extensive International, Comparative and Foreign Law Library Collection
Extensive International, Comparative and Foreign Law Library Collection photo

Nebraska Law has an extensive foreign and international law collection housed within Schmid Law Library. These include reporters from England and Canada, as well as a complete collection of International Court of Justice documents and decisions of many other international courts. We have one of the most extensive collections on international space law in the world. In addition, UNL’s Love Library has a wide-ranging collection of official United Nations documents. It also has thousands of additional international works and resources in foreign languages.

The World Comes to Lincoln, Nebraska

As a student, you have the chance to hear visiting lecturers who are working at the forefront of international and comparative law, in both the public and private sectors. Every year the Law College and the University host a stream of notable global figures.

Lincoln, Nebraska photo

Each year, Nebraska Law hosts many distinguished visitors who are internationally known. In just the last three years, Nebraska Law has hosted these, among other, distinguished visitors: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia; Justice Thomas visit in September of 2011Richard Butler, senior Australian diplomat appointed by the U.N. Security Council to report on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction; Larry D. Johnson, Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs at the United Nations (2006-2008), Legal Adviser to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna (1997 -2001), and Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague (2003-2005); and Mr. Fausto Ferigra, a U.N. Human Rights Field Officer.

UNL, as a Big Ten university and one of the nation’s top research institutions, is able to attract leading global experts. The University hosts the acclaimed E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues, which brings many distinguished individuals to campus who have various areas of expertise in global affairs. Moreover, every year in the last few years, UNL has hosted a major global conference on human trafficking, assembling experts from around the world to help solve the escalating crisis in trade in human beings.

Student Organizations Focused on International Issues
Student Organizations photo

As student, take advantage of student organizations interested in international and comparative law, including the International Law Student Association (“ILSA”). ILSA sends a student representative to the annual International Law Weekend in New York City sponsored by the American Branch of the International Law Association. It also hosts informal meetings with local attorneys who practice in international and cross-border law, as well as speakers of national and international prominence. Nebraska Law also has a Multicultural Legal Society and Black Law Students Association, which sponsor many social and professional events aimed at addressing issues of concern to students of different cultural and racial backgrounds.

International Student Competitions
International Student Competitions photo

If you have an interest in international space law or international law, try out to participate in the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. This global competition is organized annually by the International Institute of Space Law (IISL). The 2012 Nebraska Law team won the “Best Brief” One of the Law College awards cases for competitionsaward at the spring competition. The competition is based on a hypothetical space law dispute before the International Court of Justice. Oral arguments are held in Washington D.C. every April, and our own Professor Frans von der Dunk has helped write some of the problems for it.

If your interests lie in client counseling, participate in the International Client Counseling Competition. We are very proud that two former students, Adam Bates and Amy Bartels, won the 2009 International Client Counseling Competition, held at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. In the final round, Adam and Amy beat teams from England/Wales and Russia, getting first place votes from all five international judges to win the competition. They were the first U.S. team to win the competition since 1996. Other countries participating in the competition were Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Sri Lanka, the Netherlands and the Ukraine. More recently, 2012 graduates, Christine Truhe and Audrey Johnson, won the national competition and represented the U.S. in the international competition which was held in Dublin, Ireland.

Immigration, Refugee and Asylum Law

If you are interested in helping immigrants, the Immigration Law Clinic will help you gain practical experience with applying immigration, refugee and asylum law to the needs of clients who are having immigration problems or are seeking asylum in the United States. The Clinic is taught by Kevin Ruser, who has many years of experience representing immigrants and asylum-seekers, and who has authored The Nebraska Criminal Practitioner’s Guide to Representing Non-Citizens in State Court Proceedings.

Study Abroad
Study Abroad photo

Tempting as it is to stay in our gorgeous facilities, you’ll want to venture out in the world and beyond, and that’s where we can help you, too. We offer you the opportunity to spend part of your summer studying at Downing College at the esteemed Cambridge University in the United Kingdom as part of our Cambridge Study Abroad Program. There, you will be able to obtain new and interesting perspectives on the law as well as enjoy new experiences in one of the most important and beautiful academic institutions in the world. The Cambridge Study Abroad Program is a fully ABA-accredited program jointly sponsored by Downing College of Cambridge University and the University of Mississippi School of Law, in affiliation with the University of Nebraska College of Law, the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville School of Law, and the University of Tennessee College of Law.

You can also study abroad in a number of ABA-approved foreign programs. For example, one recent graduate, Jeff Baumert, earned three credit hours studying one recent summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

International Research Opportunities

Students at Nebraska Law can take advantage of a number of opportunities available through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to pursue research abroad. For example, students can apply to the Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs for summer research support. The process is competitive, and graduate students from the UNL College of Arts and Sciences are also eligible, but law students interested in international human rights law have the opportunity to pursue this funding.

International Research Opportunities photo

Nebraska Law students also have the opportunity to apply for a Fulbright grant to help them spend a year abroad conducting research, typically between their second and third years of law school, or immediately after they graduate. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and allows U.S. graduate students to study, teach, or conduct research abroad. The U.S. government selects about 1,600 U.S. students annually to participate in the program.

Tasha Everman with studentOur Office of Career Services has already assisted a number of College of Law students to apply for Fulbright grants and the College of Arts and Sciences has advisors who can help you with the application, including Dr. Laura Damuth, Director of Undergraduate Research and Fellowship Advisor. For example, one of our students successfully obtained a Fulbright grant to study in Lithuania. More information about the application process can be found here.

Jobs Related to International and Comparative Law in Our Externship Program

The College of Law has a very flexible externship program that allows you to explore the work world while receiving credit for it. Students have taken advantage of a number of externships relating to international law, such as working for the U.S. Department of State in Bangkok, Thailand; the U.S. Navy JAG Corps at the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies ("DIILS"); or the U.S. Immigration Court in Omaha. We can assist you in finding and applying for unpaid positions, for example, with the staff of the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague. Recently, one of our students volunteered in Africa for an NGO focused on human trafficking.

Nebraska Law also offers a semester-long externship in Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Department of Defense for students interested in national security, space, cyber, and telecommunications law.

The Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs also offers a number of international externship opportunities, and has funding available to help support them. College of Law students may apply for these externships as well.

Launch Your International Career

Our Career Services Office can help you identify international job opportunities that can help you launch your global legal career. The CSO provides individual counseling, educational programming, interviewing opportunities, written and online resources, and job postings. Our Career Resource Library has many materials on finding and winning international legal positions.

Join the Many Alumni Who Are Pursuing Global Careers
Alumni photo

Many lawyers practicing in international law or globally have launched their careers at the College of Law. For example, Wayde Pittman,'92, is now a Senior Legal Officer with the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Michael Kuzma, '10, is International Development Assistant Manager for the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. He spends much of his time in Japan and other Asian countries helping build partnerships between foreign companies and government programs and Nebraska businesses. Other alumni purusing their international dreams include: Caroline Keating, '13, federal clerk for the chief judge in Puerto Rico; Nathan Eilers, '06, International Trade Compliance at GE Healthcare; Kimberly Hyde, '06, Attorney General's Office in Guam; and, Shaoyu Chen, '05, Covington & Burling LLP.

Many of our graduates have had distinguished careers in space, cyber, and telecommunications law, including Dennis Burnett, Vice President of Trade and Export Controls of EADS North America; Fred Campbell, former Wireless Bureau Chief of the FCC and current President of the Wireless Communications Association; June Edwards, former Associate General Counsel of NASA; and Darren Huskisson, former Chief of Cyber and Space Law for USSTRATCOM (U.S. Strategic Command).

The Possibilities are Limitless

There are no boundaries to the possibilities that await you at Nebraska Law if you dream of an international legal career. Our first-rate faculty, unique and rich international law curriculum, one-of-a-kind Space, Cyber and Telecommunications program, state of the art facilities, and association with a world class research university will help propel you in the direction in which you decide to steer yourself professionally.