Alumni Spotlight: Emily Christiansen J.D. ’12
August 26, 2014
What has your career path been like after Lewis & Clark Law School?
After graduating from Lewis & Clark in 2012, I sat for the New York State Bar and then moved to D.C. to search for a job in international law. While in D.C. I attended an event where I met one of the partners of Kessler Topaz. This particular partner offered to forward my resume on to some attorneys he knew that were working in international law in New York. After I sent him my resume I was asked whether I had ever considered moving to Philadelphia and began speaking with the firm about the possibility of me joining their operation. Kessler Topaz specializes in representing large institutional investors in securities fraud litigation and increasingly the firm has been working on cases outside the United States. I was hired as an associate attorney and my focus became almost entirely non-U.S. cases. Since I’ve been with the firm I’ve been responsible for researching securities laws and group litigation procedures in a variety of countries. I’ve monitored legal developments around the world and have routinely advised clients as to whether they should join a particular action in a particular country, search for local counsel, liaise between local counsel and our clients, and draft proposals. I’ve also put together presentations and conference panels on topics like corporate social responsibility.
How did your Lewis & Clark Law School education prepare you for your career?
Being hired into my position at Kessler Topaz was definitely a result of being in the right place at the right time and having the right skills and experience to meet a need. The firm was looking for somebody to focus on the international dimension of securities fraud litigation and the courses I took at Lewis and Clark, my participation in Jessup Moot Court, and my externship at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia prepared me for that. Although none of the courses were directly on point to what I ended up doing at Kessler Topaz, they provided me with a basic framework for understanding other legal systems and cultures and taught me how to research laws in other countries.
Do you have any advice for students considering the Global Law Certificate?
If you think you want to pursue a career in international law after law school then you should definitely consider the Global Law Certificate and make sure to take a wide variety of courses in international law and seek out an international law related externship.
What was your foreign externship experience like during your time at Lewis & Clark?
I externed in the Trial Chambers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and it was an incredible experience! Working at the ICTY prepared me well for some of the demands of my position at Kessler Topaz. I developed skills for researching international law and gained experience working in a legal system that operates differently from legal systems in the U.S. While there, I made many contacts and formed many friendships with people from around the world, many of whom I’m still in contact with.