AUWCL Hosts International Legal Education Abroad Conference: Making an Impact!

Nomi Goheer, Rachel Gordon and Scott Lyons
Pictured above: Nomi Goheer ’08, Rachel Gordon ’12, and Scott Lyons ’04

From February 23-24, American University Washington College of Law’s Office of Global Opportunities hosted the 2017 International Legal Education Abroad Conference: Making an Impact! The conference brought together key faculty and administrators from across the nation and globe to discuss common challenges and develop best practices for addressing some of the most pressing issues in the dynamic area of international legal education abroad.

Three D.C.-area alumni joined the conference for a panel discussion titled, “The Impact of Study Abroad: Reflections of Program Alumni in the Workforce.” The panel consisted of Scott Lyons ’04, professor at the Naval Post Graduate School and Africa Project Lead on Defense Institution Building a the Department of Defense; Nomi Goheer ’08, associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP; and Rachel Gordon ’12, international programs coordinator at AUWCL, spoke to attendees about how their abroad experience helped shape their path toward international law careers.

Panel Discussion

Lyons and Goheer both studied in Hong Kong through AUWCL programs at the City University of Hong Kong and Chinese University of Hong Kong, respectively. Lyons later went on to participate in the AUWCL Chile Summer Abroad Program and work with the law school’s War Crimes Research Office, while Goheer opted to pursue a dual degree with American University’s School of International Service, which peaked his interest in international economics, business, and trade.

All agreed that core lawyering skills such as research, writing, and understanding substantive areas of law are key to succeeding with a career in international law. Along with practical experience abroad, language skills, and personal development skills like networking, teamwork and collaboration, they say that top job-seeking candidates also demonstrate interests with internships or other professional experiences as well as openness and flexibility.

Both Lyons and Goheer met as part of a group of external advisors from law firms, the private sector, government, and NGOs, who joined in 2013-14 to help AUWCL identify key areas of competency on which law students should focus if they are interested in becoming a global lawyer. Termed the Global Legal Skills Initiative (GLSI), the program provides JD students with a roadmap to becoming a global lawyer.

Other key topics discussed at the conference included implementing the new ABA Standard 310 for programs abroad, experiential learning in a global context, using data and information to enhance study abroad programs, how the local culture of a country influences the study abroad experience for law students, and international internships and externships. 

For more information on the 2018 International Legal Education Abroad Conference, the law school’s study abroad opportunities, and Global Legal Skills Initiative, visit