Mariel Bird (JD ’15)
The Miller Institute’s American Society of International Law Annual Meeting Award represents one of the few opportunities Berkeley Law students have to interact with a large group of international law professionals in Washington, D.C. I was therefore very excited to be given the chance to attend the conference this year, where ASIL joined forces with the International Law Association to present an impressive number of panels hosted by international law practitioners from around the world.
Being particularly interested in issues of international criminal law and transitional justice, I attended several panel discussions specifically focused on the future of these fields. At each event I had the opportunity to connect with panelists and fellow attendees working for international legal institutions such as the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, the International Court of Justice, and the U.S. Department of State. In addition, I attended a reception for Berkeley alumni where I met several former students pursuing careers at NGOs, government agencies, and law firms around the city. Discussing my goals with each of the individuals I met throughout the week, I received fantastic advice and made connections I hope to foster throughout my legal career.
Perhaps the most exciting portion of my time in D.C., however, was having the opportunity to attend the ASIL Women in International Law Interest Group (WILIG) luncheon, honoring the three female judges from the International Court of Justice and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor for their achievements. Having participated in the ASIL WILIG mentoring program this year, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to these powerful women discuss the important work they have individually and collectively accomplished, as well as the barriers they have had to overcome to do so.
Without a doubt, the ASIL meeting represents an important gathering for international lawyers, both new and established, and I am grateful to the Miller Institute for giving me the opportunity to attend. With a little luck, I would love to return next year.