Nathan Keller ’19 deployed to Kuwait and Iraq as a Marine Corps infantry squad leader. Classmate Allison Murray patrolled the Arabian Gulf as a Coast Guard executive officer.
Those overseas leadership experiences helped them deftly steer the Berkeley Journal of International Law as co-editor-in-chief and managing editor.
“In the military, you’re acutely aware of the United States’ foreign policy and relationship with other countries,” Keller says. “I think we often don’t realize how important international law is as an institution until something goes wrong on the global stage.”
The journal addresses topics such as the law of armed conflict, the law of the sea, targeting in combat, and how nations define their borders.
“We strive for a diverse array of scholarship—not only in subject matter but also geographically, giving authors from around the globe a forum,” Keller says. “We want to ensure that each issue presents new and innovating ideas.”
Military service fueled a seamless transition to guiding that effort.
“The military weaves effective management skills and leadership experience into every job we perform,” Murray says. “From a very junior level, you have the opportunity to lead … and adapt your leadership style to meet different missions, goals, and priorities. Our journal roles are an extension of that.”
Murray acted as a liaison between the journal’s leadership team and general membership—assigning articles, drafting weekly correspondence, assisting in outreach efforts, and running the board election process.
She also served as co-president of Berkeley Law’s Federalist Society, which has grown each year since she joined as a 1L.
“Although the school has a reputation as a left-leaning campus, my experience hosting events has been very positive,” says Murray, who begins her career as a Coast Guard prosecutor in Alameda this fall. “In the military, you benefit from moving frequently and being exposed to people with perspectives apart from your own. This has shaped my own beliefs and helped illuminate the importance of intellectual diversity.”
Keller, who will work at Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, agrees.
“People at Berkeley Law have been genuinely interested in how my service shaped my viewpoint and always welcome the experience you bring to a discussion,” he says. “I’ve really enjoyed my time here, and I’ve met some of the most impressive people I’ve ever known at the journal—which is saying something after serving in the Marine Corps.”