Find out what our graduates do
Nudrat Hussain Khan, a career Commerce and Trade Officer, and a prolific writer is currently working as Director General, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Punjab region. Her role involves export promotion, trade facilitation, SME and women entrepreneurship development and liaison with inline national and international organisations. She has been spearheading developmental projects, Delegations and participating in exhibitions. She has served as Executive Director National Insurance Company and General Manager, Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company.
"Today as a USAID Women Leaders in Trade Policy alumni, Acumen Fellow and World bank scholar, and after gazillion trainings and travels, I assumed charged as Director General, Punjab (the first female, hoping to pave the way for many more), I owe all my strength to break the glass ceiling to my UK experience. I have had 30 plus research papers and articles published on the modules that I chose for my LLM in England, and have contributed in initiating developmental projects for women entrepreneurship development, child labour elimination, participatory leadership, and market intelligence. As I climb the corporate ladder, I see myself in positions of additional responsibilities in international economic law divisions of the government and feel confident that my UK qualification and the experience has equipped me to make a difference!"
Read our news article on Nudrat's experience of studying in the UK.
LLM International Development Law & Human Rights 2016-17
Legal and Compliance Officer at TelOne Zimbabwe
LLM International Development Law & Human Rights 2016-17
Associate Project Manager in International Development
With eight years of experience in commercial litigation in a top law firm in Mexico, I felt it was time to scale up my knowledge to an international level by studying an LLM. I found International Commercial Law at the University of Warwick overwhelmingly attractive for two main reasons. Firstly, the programme allows me to choose highly specialised modules within a great variety of options, thereby enabling me to view legal issues from an international perspective and enhancing my career opportunities. Secondly, the worldwide reputation of the university not only signals its education quality, but also gives me access to an elite alumni network with all of its advantages and benefits. Along with these outstanding features, the thorough support provided by the staff of this institution during my admission process was a token that this university is genuinely devoted to the success of its students.
My academic experience at Warwick has surpassed my expectations. Moreover, the benefits I have been enjoying expand beyond academics, making this experience unique. Being part of a large international community of students at the University of Warwick has provided me with the opportunity to meet people from all around the world and learn a lot from different cultures. Additionally, I have been able to achieve a healthy and active lifestyle with Warwick´s top-notch and easily accessible sports facilities. Furthermore, as traveling is one of my favourite hobbies, I also find the university´s location quite a convenient place to easily reach my destinations, both within the U.K. and Europe.
Warwick’s IEL programme provides an excellent platform for me to explore both public and commercial law from a legal, philosophical, political, and economic perspective. The programme’s “law in context” approach enables me to understand the way law is applied in policy making and commercial situations. As part of my study, I assess critically how Brexit, the rise of China, and Trump's presidency affect trade; whilst looking at how the WTO shapes the governance framework of international business relationships in detail. The open academic environment encourages me to apply my business background in understanding how mergers and acquisitions are structured; how tax planning works; how parties negotiate a credit agreement; and how financial regulations operate, for example.
The best aspect of the IEL programme is the unlimited opportunity to engage in high level discussions with not only the academics, but also with other LLM students. The LLM cohort’s diversity in terms of professional experience, nationality, and culture enriches my experience at Warwick and will undoubtedly help me in my quest to travel around the world!
Joining EY Audit and Assurance – Financial Services team in London this autumn as an associate, I will be applying the skills and knowledge gained through Warwick’s IEL programme in my work with financial institutions to assess their financial position, risk management, and compliance process.
Choosing the LLM program at Warwick was one of the best decisions I made. Being the sole recipient of the Women of Pakistan scholarship scheme, I stepped in Warwick with a thirst and responsibility to prove myself. Soon enough, I was swept away with the insightful and intellectual academic curriculum, the hustle and bustle of the campus life, diverse and amazing fellow companions and much more! Life at Warwick will always remain a mix of emotional memories - solid friendships, the ever helpful professors, interesting societies and themed social events and beyond!
Upon graduation, I joined the document review team of paralegals as an intern at the renowned law firm - Hogan Lovells in Birmingham, UK. Having completed the project, I ventured to Dubai, UAE afterwards. Carrying Warwick's prestigious name, I was able to land another internship at another famous lawfirm - Taylor Wessing. Following that, I was lucky to enter the job market quite soon and I joined a leading oil and gas trading house in Dubai. As the legal advisor, I am able to apply my skills and knowledge, absorbed via the LLM degree at Warwick, in a calculated and systemic manner. All in all, Warwick offers individuals the right push and confidence to emerge as competent and seasoned professionals. I will forever be grateful to Warwick for bestowing me with one of the best times of my life!
After being called to the Nigerian Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor, I commenced and successfully completed my LLM at Warwick, after which I secured an internship with the General Counsel Organisation at American Express. I then gained work experience with Barclays Bank London. I was selected to represent the Republic of Ireland in the Council for Digital and Communication Affairs at the 2017 Young European Leadership Conference, where I deliberated on policy proposals to improve EU digital security. I am presently an Analyst with the Guernsey Financial Service Commission, with a focus on Offshore Investment, Fiduciary and Pension Firms. The LLM at the University of Warwick was the perfect boost in my career and I would highly recommend it.
I have very fond memories of my time at the law school - from wonderful supervision and a supportive department, to a diverse but collegiate PhD community. After my PhD, I joined Hogan Lovells and represent clients in high-value international arbitrations, spanning multiple sectors and jurisdictions. I have also undertaken a commercial litigation secondment at a top FTSE 100 company in London. I am also a founding member of a couple of initiatives designed to promote the arbitration practice in Africa, and provide more opportunities for African practitioners. With Africa Arbitration, Africa Arbitration Academy and Association of Young Arbitrators, Nigeria, I organise arbitration mentoring schemes and competitions, as well as trainings designed to equip African lawyers with the knowledge and skills required to excel on a global stage.
The critical prism of the IEL programme was instrumental in helping me discover my passion for international development finance and its legal implications. The International Public Finance module ran by Dr Celine Tan - who was also my dissertation supervisor - directly inspired my journey into the world of public finance.
For over two years now, I have been working with the UK Civil Service as a Finance Fast Streamer. The Fast Stream is a cross-governmental accelerated leadership programme. My previous roles included working with the Government Internal Audit Agency and the Ministry of Justice. I am currently an Assistant Finance Business Partner at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy where I support the teams responsible for the Net Zero programmes, from Clean Growth policies to Green Home Grants.
I apply the critical, multi-disciplinary thinking that I was able to hone at Warwick to my job on a daily basis. The ability to combine my legal knowledge and reasoning with finance proficiency has been crucial in delivering value for money initiatives. The international and multi-cultural postgraduate environment at Warwick hugely enriched my perspective as well, and brought with it some amazing friends from all around the world!
My experience at Warwick Law School had a great impact on my personality and resultantly in my professional life thereafter. My specialization in International Economic Law helped me to understand the inter-relationships between international institutions and specific economic sectors, and the effect they had on national economies. This holistic knowledge of law encompassing international economy helped me immensely in preparing me for a permanent position with the United Nations where I am now on the permanent roster for P-3 legal position to which I was selected after a global competitive assessment test. The Masters degree I earned at the University of Warwick played a very special role in my selection in Indian Judiciary when I was selected as District and Sessions Judge in Delhi where I am currently posted as a Special Judge dealing with the cases under Anti-Corruption Laws.
The faculty at WLS taught me something which is very vital for achieving success – to think and ask questions, and to apply law, not just understand it. The exposure that Warwick Law School gave me, whether in academics or in legal practice or in the position as Joint Head of legal department in Delhi Metro Rail Corporation or presently as a Judge, the University of Warwick equipped me to give my best at all levels in all these positions which is where I stood out from the rest. My Law School experience inculcated the research acumen in me and I could turn out many publications on law as well as a book whilst I was teaching in Army Institute of Law from 2003-06.
The University of Warwick prepared me immensely to adapt myself in a multi-cultural/ multi-lingual set up. The faculty of the WLS stands out from the rest with their research and teaching abilities and their personal interest in bringing out the best in each student. I am and will always be proud of being an alumni of the Warwick Law School.
The School of Law at the University of Warwick applies law in context and this is apparent from the range of modules students can study and the approach to teaching and research. My research interest was the very current issue of legal pluralism, British Muslims and informal dispute resolution. Warwick was the ideal place for this as it required a contextual analysis and approach to the pertinent issues, as well as support from academics who understood the law in context as well as its theoretical paradigms.
Warwick has a real international presence and during my PhD, I was able to participate in a number of international conferences including one at Warwick's Venice teaching campus in Italy. The conference organised by the University of Warwick in conjunction with the University of Copenhagen, drew over 80 legal scholars from around the world. It was a superb venue for the event, and a great opportunity to learn from leading scholars, while taking in the sites of the beautiful city on a boat tour!
Since completing my PhD, I tutored at Warwick Law School and worked as the Coordinator for Global Research Priorities in International Development. This allowed me to remain within the academic environment, participate in conferences and also write papers while I applied for lecturing positions, leading to my current position at De Montford University.
Coming in to the LLM from a non-law background, I was initially nervous about starting my postgraduate law degree! With that said, I was really impressed by the faculty’s integrative approach when giving students feedback and advice – and really, an overall experience - tailored to each student’s aspirations and career path.
I started work as a Senior Associate with PwC UK, providing deal advisory services on M&A transactions. While the role is part linked to my background in Finance and Accounting, the LLM equipped me with an added value of understanding the crossroads between Law and Business, particularly as we work closely with clients and their legal advisors to negotiate deals. Moreover, and particularly from an IEL perspective, the course exposed me to new areas of interest around investments under a development framework. The dissertation was a great opportunity to apply what I learned during the course into an area of specific interest.
Overall, the program has been really rewarding; I have met some great professors, made lifetime friends, and challenged myself to learn new things, all of which are invaluable experiences that I have taken forward!
I currently work as a Senior Adviser at the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, part of the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway. U4 is an institutional partnership of several bi-lateral donor agencies, including the UK FCDO, GiZ/BMZ, Danida, Sida, Norad, Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada and Swiss Development Cooperation dedicated to communicating evidence on countering corruption, one of the biggest threats to sustainable development, to international development actors. Through publications, online courses and workshops, I advise donor-agency policy makers and practitioners on mainstreaming anti-corruption in public service delivery and integrating gender in anti-corruption programmes.
The Warwick Masters in Law in Development (now IDLHR) provided the perfect launch-pad for my career as a law and development specialist. I acquired the knowledge and skills to be part of the extensive governance reforms of the early 2000s in Uganda, including law reform initiatives and building the capacity of justice sector personnel, local government officials and other civil servants to implement rights-based approaches in their work. In 2007 I was awarded a Commonwealth PhD scholarship, and I chose Warwick again because I loved the atmosphere and academic environment.Read More
The PhD was the basis for the work I am now doing as an anti-corruption adviser at the global level. For instance, the Covid-19 pandemic has cast the spotlight on how corruption weakens health systems and has undermined global and national Covid-19 response efforts. I am now U4 lead on a Norad-funded project through which we will work with the World Health Organisation, UNDP, the Global Fund and the World Bank to strengthen transparency, accountability and anti-corruption in health systems.
I spent nearly 5 years of my life at Warwick (1998-1999; 2007-2011), so I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s part of my DNA. The supportive environment and excellent PhD supervision by Prof. Paliwala helped me to finish my PhD on time even though I had two young children. The friendships and professional relationships I established at Warwick continue to enrich my life today.
I am a Contracts Manager within the in-house legal team at LLamasoft, Inc., based in Milton Keynes. Leading the EMEA Legal Department for an American software company, my position involves drafting, reviewing and negotiating a wide range of commercial agreements, including complex, high-value Software License Agreements, Services Agreements and NDAs. My role also includes providing general commercial legal support to the Sales team and the organisation, as well as offering counsel on legal issues such as intellectual property rights and data privacy compliance.
The LLM helped me significantly in getting this job. My LLM degree helped me gain expert knowledge in the areas that are fundamental for the role I now perform such as contracts law, choice of governing law, implications for international contracts, jurisdictional problems, and corporate governance. My degree also helped me acquire significant knowledge in English and EU law, essential for both my current role and my career.
LLM Advanced Legal Studies 2016-17
LLM Advanced Legal Studies 2015-16
After completing my LLM at Warwick, I worked in private practice and investment banking. Whilst working, I came across a research question that fascinated me and I wanted to explore more in detail. Throughout this time, I kept in touch with academics at Warwick. Returning to Warwick for my PhD was an obvious choice. The reputation of your supervisor is the most important factor when choosing an institution since he or she will be integral to your research but also opening doors for conferences and discussions with other experts and practitioners.
Generally, a PhD is not strictly required or beneficial in private practice or as an in-house lawyer; however, it is valued by public authorities and international organisations. Importantly, undertaking a PhD requires and develops essential skills, such as the ability to see through an extensive project, analysing complex legal questions as well as communicating complex issues to a non-expert audience. A PhD also provides you with advanced knowledge that indicates to employers your interest and dedication to a certain topic.Read More
My PhD studies provided me with essential insights required for my work as a lawyer in investment banking in London. As of January 2021, I will relocate to Hong Kong on a permanent basis. I advise on legal and regulatory questions relating to complex financial products. My work requires amongst others the examination of insolvency laws and regulations across the world to understand whether certain legal techniques envisaged in the agreements governing these financial products are enforceable. The PhD developed my understanding of the interrelation of the legal techniques, and insolvency law and regulation.
Whether you should do a PhD in banking, company or financial law is a very personal and difficult decision. The main question you should ask yourself is whether you see yourself examining a question day and night for the next three to four years. It can be an extremely rewarding experience to create knowledge and a PhD gives you time to develop yourself. However, it is challenging at times since you do not see the same immediate benefits as in private practice or in-house. It is a long-term investment. If you are willing to make this investment, Warwick is the best place due to its renowned academics, expertise and interconnection with experts and practitioners in the field of banking, company and financial law around the globe.
My research was in the area of financial regulation. I explored regulatory reform in Kenya, using the UK as a comparator. This included a normative exploration of the increasing use of behavioural insights in regulation, and I considered proposals for the use of ‘nudge’ and ‘nudging’ to improve regulatory outcomes.
I greatly enjoyed my studies at Warwick, especially in light of the Law School’s established structures that ensure that its students are always supported. I found these quite helpful during my PhD journey.
My supervisor, Professor Dalvinder Singh, was always encouraging and patient, and I remain grateful for his supervision and guidance. I also enjoyed and learned a lot from my interaction with friends, colleagues and, and other faculty members on various occasions, both formal and informal. Overall, I found that everyone was always ready to help, and I had everything that I needed, including quiet spaces to work in the dedicated PGR offices, and the library, as well as guidance on where to find required materials. I even requested and got new books purchased where these were not part of the library collection. For anyone considering studying at Warwick Law School, I would highly recommend it!Read More
I currently work at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), an interdisciplinary academic research institute at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, as the regulatory researcher for Sub Saharan Africa (SSA). I lead CCAF’s research on the regulation of alternative finance in SSA, with the objective of providing evidence-based recommendations for policymakers and regulators seeking to develop an appropriate and fit-for-purpose regulatory framework for FinTech in the region. The position is a seconded position with FSD Africa in Nairobi, a CCAF partner in SSA.
In this role, I have the opportunity to create research outputs to support the development of an enabling regulatory environment and increased regulatory and supervisory capacity, which are required to support FinTech market development and, in turn, financial inclusion and economic growth.
My current position as a Trainee in the Enforcement and Sanctions Division at the European Central Bank includes the assessment of reports of regulatory breaches, the investigation of alleged breaches and the preparation of draft decisions of the Supervisory Board for the adoption of enforcement measures and the imposition of administrative penalties. Another part of my duties includes the conduct of legal research.
Being a Greek qualified Attorney-at-law with six-years’ experience in the field of corporate and commercial law specializing in banking law and financial instruments like the securitization of assets, motivated me to apply to the cutting edge ICGFR LLM programme shifting my career towards the financial services sector. In particular, the LLM programme at Warwick offered me a deep understanding of crucial corporate governance issues, completed the picture of financial instruments functionality and their usage as a risk mitigating technique. Furthermore, stemming from a civil law jurisdiction, the LLM programme helped me diversify my skillset towards banking law interpretation in the UK and Europe.
Overall, my experience as a postgraduate student at Warwick has been the cornerstone for a truly geographically mobile career.
In my current role I support the senior executive committees of the organisation, deliver parliamentary programmes both in Westminster and throughout the Commonwealth – primarily for the British Isles and Mediterranean Region, the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Network and the annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference. Outside of work I am a keen writer and the Founder of Aya’s Garden, an online platform dedicated to storytelling and the celebration of marginalised groups and their experiences. I am also the Founder and Creative Director of LALI London, an upcoming conscious fashion brand. I am passionate about investing in the next generation and have been a Youth Leader for a local community group for the past seven years.
My masters was the pivotal moment when my concern for human rights opened the possibility of viable career pathways within law and international development. My LLM prepared me theoretically for the sector and gave me the crucial space to explore and write about issues that I was passionate about. I chose the LLM at Warwick because it had an amazing module selection which I hadn’t seen on other LLM courses. Warwick is continuously deemed an excellent academic institution, which it is. However, my journey and time at Warwick was not simply an academic one. Whilst I was able to grow and flourish as a law student I also got involved with the array of cultural and artistic societies and events that the university has on offer. These experiences gave me great memories and helped to shape me as a well-rounded young person who was ready for the world of work.
Warwick is a reputed institution with the rare combination of amazing industry connection – courtesy of one of the best careers services in the country – and of a deep academic tradition residing in the “law in context” approach the Law School adopts. This results in an impressive tendency to question absolutely everything and to have entrenched beliefs being challenged by the lecturers. The IEL program is also unique and has a strong reputation both in academia and among practitioners.
The atmosphere is extremely relaxed and professors are approachable and motivated to teach. The campus and all of its infrastructures is amazing and the sports’ facilities are incredible. Warwick has a really particular vibe that one needs to live. The people you will meet – staff, lecturers, and fellow students- will change you forever and will teach you so many things from your classes, to the politics of a small Asian country and the drinking culture of Serbia. The diversity of the activities is impressive, although you will probably end up going to one society and spending the rest of your free time between Curiositea and the Dirty Duck (the coffee shop and the pub); and that’s simply all you could wish for! Last but not least Warwick is a young university striving for the best, you might sign up for the 7th ranked university in the country and five years later have a degree from the 3rd one.
I recently enrolled at the University of Oxford for a DPhil (PhD) in competition law. I am carrying out my research on competition law in the era of big data. Interestingly, I discovered that subject while at Warwick.
The interdisciplinary and international approach to corporate governance and financial regulations is the reason I chose to enrol on the ICGFR programme at Warwick Law School. The LLM was complimentary to my undergraduate degrees in international politics and law, and allowed me to pursue my career in corporate social responsibility and responsible investments.
During my LLM I met lecturers and supervisors who gave me continuous feedback and assisted me when I needed help to get a better understanding of the modules taught. Considering I had not studied this area of law before, the support I got was invaluable.
After leaving Warwick, I worked as a researcher doing negative screening of companies, before I got a job as an analyst in Corporate Governance Issues at the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment in London.
LLM International Economic Law 2016-17
While looking at various universities to apply to for my postgraduate studies, I thought Warwick had everything I wanted from a postgraduate experience; a unique and intellectually stimulating course, a beautiful campus, a renowned faculty and a fantastic reputation. Once I got to Warwick, I discovered what I had read and heard about was merely the tip of the iceberg; the Warwick experience far exceeded my expectations and choosing Warwick Law School for my postgraduate studies turned out to be one of the best decisions I made. Like with all good things, it ended far too quickly, but the one-year has provided me with a lifetime of amazing memories, friends and experiences.
I thoroughly enjoyed all the modules; they were all very carefully crafted and kept me engaged. This particular LLM course allows you to broaden your horizons like no other. You will be hard pressed to find an LLM with a module that amalgamates creative writing with human rights law and is conducted by famous authors and a renowned human rights practitioner. I feel the IDLHR course has enabled me to develop a holistic worldview and enhanced my understandings of issues related to development, human rights and law.Read More
This LLM allows you the freedom to always present an alternative viewpoint, you will be encouraged to think out of the box and question mainstream perspectives. Every class was an experience in itself; the modules on this programme are conducted by people passionate about their area of study and who have made significant contributions to their respective fields.
The campus provides the perfect backdrop to the intellectually enriching experience inside the classroom. There are hundreds of societies and sports clubs catering to a very diverse range of interests, I joined quite a few including the Photography Society, Bollywood Dance Society and the Cricket Club. I played cricket at some fantastic venues around England and made a lot of friends in the process. During term time, the campus is buzzing with activity, there is always something going on. However, when I felt like getting away from everything, far from the madding crowd, there were plenty of picturesque spots around campus that were completely secluded.
During the year I got very comfortable around Warwick, to the point where I started missing life on campus when I occasionally left for weekends. The Warwick campus can get quite addictive very quickly, and I still find myself missing Warwick, months after I have graduated.
Warwick gave me a holistic view of the world, opening many doors and leading to internships with the UNDP in Albania, and subsequently working as a Legal Expert for a think tank in Tirana, to now, where I am currently a Special Prosecutor and Legal Consultant at the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan's apex anti-corruption organisation. My performance at NAB has led me to become the youngest member of the team that is currently prosecuting the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family in the Islamabad High Court in the cases stemming from the aftermath of the Panama Papers scandal.
I am currently a second year PhD student at King’s College London exploring how insurance can be used to mitigate the systemic risk of terrorism. My PhD draws upon my LLM dissertation and I believe that the high quality supervision provided by my LLM dissertation supervisor has played an essential role in my success as a research student. I am grateful for the guidance and support the lecturers at Warwick provided, as it ensured that I was able to develop my own ideas and feel able to pursue a career in academia.
Alongside my PhD, I am a visiting lecturer at King’s College London and tutor Law Undergraduate and Masters students on a private basis in London, Covent Garden. My LLM refined and developed my research and writing skills. This ensures that I can communicate difficult concepts in an understandable manner which promotes dialogue and critical thinking. The teaching which I received during my LLM has influenced my own teaching style to enable my high success rate of ensuring students obtain their desired grades.
As an analyst at Limehouse Consulting, I am part of a team of consultants focused on the financial services sector. Our clients range from large UK-based retail banks to global asset managers. My role involves project-management-based consulting engagements as well as marketing and delivering financial technology products for our clients. These include innovative data analytics and robotic process automation tools. For example, I recently helped implement our in-house business intelligence tool into a major Scottish bank, with a view to measuring the end-to-end performance of some of the bank’s key business areas.
The LLM I completed at Warwick has certainly helped me secure my current role. Warwick Law School’s prestige and the calibre of its lecturers are second to none. During my time there I encountered brilliant international colleagues and passionate subject-matter experts whose materials I still refer to in my daily role (in particular, in my case, the banking and financial regulation sections). If you are looking for a rigorous and contextually rich programme, I whole-heartedly recommend the LLM at Warwick. The bonds you will form and the modules you will choose to study will give you the strong foundation you will need for your future career.
While practicing law at a corporate chamber after LLB (Hons), I found myself to have been particularly interested with matters that dealt with employment issues within corporations. An area where two views (pro-employees and pro-employers) can result in completely different scenarios, when corporate governance is taken into consideration. Warwick awarded University of the Year by The Sunday Times basically caught my attention. I then looked up and found that the LLM program was apt for me.
The fact that the campus can literally blend to any mood you are in! From simply purchasing groceries, to watching a movie, quietly listening to opera, partying hard, chatting with friends over a cup of tea, studying in groups, picking the sport of your choice and so much more. The rich library, the Arts centre, Sports Centre, Postgraduate Hub, the Student Union and the bars and cafes all around the campus, are too much to fully enjoying over just a period of one year.
The outstanding dissertation supervision that I received at Warwick, has brought out in me the desire to pursue academia. I am currently engaged in research regarding whether employee participation in corporations would avoid tragedies such as the Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh that took the lives of over 1100 workers. I am conducting the research as part of “Desh, We’re Concerned”, a non-profit research-based civil society organization, focusing on national policy reforms and matters of public interest.
I chose the LLM at Warwick because I was seeking to use my knowledge in law to do something meaningful and help build a better world. My year at Warwick was one of the best years of my life. Two things made it special; inspiring teachers and my fellow-students. I was inspired by meeting lawyers from all over the world and to find that we had so much in common across our different cultures! I also appreciated the common law education system, which focusses less on repetition and reproduction, like the continental one, and more on developing ideas and arguing for them. It is what I always do today when I want to achieve anything.
My studies had nurtured my interest in the international field. My first job was in a Berlin law firm, where I specialised on immigration and asylum law. When the firm asked me to join them as a partner, this was my “now or never”-moment, deciding whether to settle or to search for an international career. It was a “now”. I temporarily left the legal field and went as a volunteer with Peace Brigades International (PBI) – an organisation which specialises in protective accompaniment – to Colombia, a country in armed conflict with high rates of violent persecution of social activists. Accompanying a threatened human rights defender 24 hours a day, you have a lot of time to observe. This is when you learn things about human rights, that you cannot see, when you are busy resolving problems and finishing tasks on time. What I learned was, that you don’t do human rights work to win the struggle, you do it knowing that it will take generations, with many setbacks and pains, and you can never win it alone. But you do it, because you want to.Read More
After four years with PBI, several of my former colleagues recommended I meet with a lawyer who was in the process of founding a new organisation, called ECCHR. We had a coffee and talked. The organisation had no money but a lot of ideas. What they needed was lawyers with hands-on experience in human rights – like me. So, I was in. Networking not only got me this job, but since then, it has been an essential part of my work. Initially I was timid and hated the idea of “networking”. Over time, I grew more open to the idea and found being in touch with interesting people rather helpful.
At ECCHR, I was involved in developing the critical legal training programme – and learned that as lawyers, we should recognise our privileges: law is an instrument of power and we need to use it smartly, and usually counter current, to make it work for human rights. Which we do, at the business and human rights programme at ECCHR. I helped file a criminal complaint against TÜV SÜD in Germany, who presumably contributed to the dam break of Brumadinho in January 2019 that killed 272 people and polluted a river. This year, we filed – together with Mexican organisation Prodesc – a legal action in France under the new French duty of vigilance law against the energy giant EDF in France for building windfarms in Oaxaca without respecting the consultation rights of indigenous communities.
Over the years, I have also worked as a researcher and consultant for the Colombian human rights lawyers collective CCAJAR, as a translator for a university, as a German teacher with young professionals, as a theatre pedagogue with refugees, and currently as a supervisor at Amsterdam University law clinic. I guess there are many ways that we can make sense of the world and contribute in our own way to making it a better place and I am curious to see what comes next. Curiosity is an energy source that can set free a lot of potential. And we all have it in us. Warwick encouraged me to explore this source and taught me to deconstruct my traditional - colonial - concepts of the world and of people, and to re-construct my understanding through and with my fellow students.