Adjunct Spotlight: Victoria Ernst

An Alum Teaches International Law with Her WCL Mentor

Assistant Dean for Adjunct Affairs William Snape recently caught up with alum and adjunct Victoria Ernst ’19, who co-taught the law school’s summer course on the United Nations International Law Commission with Dean Emeritus and Professor Claudio Grossman.

Victoria Ernst
Victoria Ernst

Snape: We are always excited to have alumni teaching at AUWCL. First question: who were your favorite professors during law school?

Ernst: I really enjoyed all my professors. I think one of WCL's biggest strengths is how much the professors care about their students and want them to succeed. Some of my favorites were Claudio Grossman, David Hunter, Paul Williams, Fernanda Nicola, Bernie Corr, and Andrew Popper.

Snape: What have you been doing since you graduated?

Ernst: I passed the Oregon bar, and I also graduated with my M.A. in International Affairs and International Law from SIS in May 2020. I worked for the European Parliament, both at the liaison office in Washington D.C. and at the headquarters in Brussels. In D.C., I followed U.S. legislation and policy and reported back to the parliamentary committees on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Industry, Research and Energy, and Foreign Affairs. I also prepared comparative law briefers on U.S. and E.U. law, and started a comparative law blog with the Head of Unit in Washington, D.C., Joe Dunne. In Brussels, I worked as part of the negotiating team for the Legal Affairs Committee on legislative negotiations between the Parliament, Council, and Commission. I also worked as a stagiaire (equivalent of a U.S. law clerk) for Judge Paul Nihoul at the General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg.

Snape: What is it like teaching with such a renowned and legendary professor, i.e., Claudio Grossman?

Ernst: Professor Grossman was one of my favorite professors at WCL, and I feel extremely lucky to be teaching with him this summer and have more opportunities to learn from him. I have really enjoyed working with him as his legal assistant at the International Law Commission for the past four years because I learn something new literally every day. He has a way of guiding students to the correct conclusion without being explicit about it, resulting in those "a-ha!" moments. I hope I can learn how to create that dynamic myself.

Snape: Tell us one interesting thing about yourself, law-related or not.

Ernst: Before law school, I worked in horticulture at a plant nursery and tissue culture lab. I am an expert in hazelnut genetics and pollination, and I have planned out hundreds of acres of hazelnut orchards in Oregon's Willamette Valley. And, of course, that is how you and I met: with my involvement in the WCL Program on Environmental and Energy Law (PEEL).  I miss our fun hikes!

Snape:  Thank you and good luck this summer!  You and all alumni are always invited to our hikes!