Emily Christiansen


Degree: JD ’12

What are you up to these days?

After graduating from Lewis & Clark in 2012, I sat for the New York State Bar and then moved to Washington, 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 Meltzer & Check LLP. 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 joined I’ve been responsible for researching securities laws and group litigation procedures in a variety of countries. I monitor legal developments around the world and advise 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, review pleadings, and help clients understand and successfully navigate the legal process. I also put together presentations and conference panels on topics like corporate social responsibility.

I am now a partner with the firm and my work has branched out into new areas. For example, I have served as counsel for the claimants in Theodoros Adamkopoulos and others v. Republic of Cyprus, an investment treaty arbitration brought under Cyprus’ bilateral investment treaties with the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union and Greece.

How did you get your job?

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.

Some of my courses also gave me a strong foundation in areas of law that I’ve applied in practice, including Professor George Foster’s International Dispute Resolution course.

What advice would you give to a graduating student who's looking for a job?

If you think you want to pursue a career in international law after law school then you should definitely consider the International Law Certificate and make sure to take a wide variety of courses in international law and seek out an international law related externship.