After teaching for over 50 years, Rutgers Law Board of Governors Professor Roger S. Clark, who shared his passion for global issues during his years at Rutgers, has been honored with the creation of the Roger S. Clark Endowed Fund for International Law to promote research, conferences, and symposia in international law. Asma Farooq RLAW '21, the first recipient of a Clark Fellowship. She talks about her experience at the International Criminal Court. Donate to the fund here.
Where are you now and what kind of work are you doing?
I am currently at the International Criminal Court as a legal intern in the Appeals Chamber. The work varies, but generally interns assist the legal team as needed. This opportunity has allowed me to gain experience in legal analysis and research regarding international criminal law, and helped me refine my legal drafting skills through the preparation of legal memoranda, decisions, and orders of the chamber under the supervision of a lawyer on the legal team. I also have had the opportunity to observe court proceedings and witness first-hand how the judges interpret and develop international law.
How did the Clark Endowed Fund help you to have this experience?
The Clark Endowed Fund was a great help in making this experience a reality. Being fresh out of law school, one of the concerns was how I would fund this internship. In the field of international law, and expecially human rights law, internships that offer remuneration are rare. Fortunately, the Clark Endowed Fund helped alleviate some of that stress and I have been able to make the most of this experience by both being able to focus on the work I am asked to do, and being able to network as I work towards establishing my career in this field. I highly encourage students to apply for the fund if they get ahold of an amazing opportunity and are worried about funding. The Clark Endowed Fund was a fundamental part of making this opportunity possible for me.
What was your journey to Rutgers Law School?
I grew up in Canada for most of my life. My family moved to Canada from Kashmir when I was quite young. Seeing and hearing about experiences first-hand in Kashmir is actually what pushed me into the realm of human rights and international law. I did my undergrad at the University of Guelph in Canada, majoring in political science and had some amazing professors that helped me make the decision to go to law school. I knew that for the type of work I wanted to do, law school was the next step for me, and that is where Rutgers comes in. I applied to Rutgers Law School because I had previously heard about some faculty members that specialize in human rights and international law and knew that this was an experience I would love to have. While I knew I wanted to go on to practice international law in the future, I did not know in what capacity. This internship opportunity has been a step in helping me figure that out.
What is unique about Rutgers Law?
I was fortunate that I had such amazing professors and supportive staff during my time at Rutgers Law. From Professor Roger Clark, Professor Adnan Zulfiqar, to Dean Thompson, they were extremely supportive, and the classes they taught were eye opening and always left me wanting for more and wanting to do more. Whether it was concerns about class content or stressing about what my plan was after graduating, I was always comfortable going to my professors and the deans to talk it out. While at Rutgers Law School, I took as many courses as I could in international law and human rights law, and at the same time worked towards obtaining the Business and Corporate Law Certificate. I was always looking for how international law and human rights intersected with other areas of law so I took advantage of the wide variety of courses offered by the law school. Additionally, my fellow peers made my experience as amazing as it was. Joining as an international student, I knew no one at the school and no one in the New Jersey/Philadelphia area, but I made some friends for life during my time at Rutgers Law School. It has been an unforgettable experience and a crucial part of my legal professional journey so far.
Anything else you'd like to add?
One of the things I really took away from my time at law school is the importance of networking. I hear people say this often, but don’t see it in practice enough. Networking starts at the law school itself. For current students, if there is a professor who has experience in an area that you are interested in, do not hesitate to knock on their office door or to send them an email to meet over coffee. I have continued to apply this approach in my professional life and it has helped me meet some amazing people over the years and also currently during my internship. Being in such a niche field, I find that it is helpful to reach out to people whose career paths may pique my interest as I work towards establishing my own career in this field. While everyone’s path is unique, considering various perspectives help us make decisions as we forge our own paths.