Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Andrea Shemberg '97: Quixote in Pragmatist's Clothing

Andrea and Franco
Andrea and husband Franco at a recent surprise party given by their friends in Bologna

Andrea's current work is the outgrowth of an internship she held while pursuing a Master's of Science in Human Rights at the London School of Economics. She worked with a professor from the University of Essex to produce a report analyzing a pipeline contract between the Turkish government and BP. Andrea says the report exposed inherent conflicts between the covenants Turkey had undertaken in the contract with respect to its legal obligations under international human rights law.

She found the project particularly rewarding "because BP has now openly admitted that they have failed to take human rights into account when negotiating the terms of the agreement. They have now drafted a Deed Poll that is an attempt to address some of the concerns we expressed in our report, and they have agreed in principle that future contracts should integrate human rights concerns from the start."

In September Andrea began working for Amnesty UK full time as the legal advisor for the Business and Human Rights Group in its campaigns department. Her position is linked to the Turkey project specifically and the eventual launching of an international campaign to try to convince international public lenders and private corporations to integrate human rights safeguards into the agreements between states and corporations underpinning foreign direct investments. Andrea says, "The campaign will most likely be aimed at putting pressure on international lenders to make the contracts for lending and credits transparent and create momentum for lenders to institute a human rights pre-lending assessment."

In November, Andrea will be giving a presentation in Stuttgart to a meeting of USEUCOM (U.S. European Command) at their "Hydrocarbon Security Planning Conference." The meeting relates to USEUCOM's role in securing the Caspian region and specifically their role in securing the region's hydrocarbon infrastructure. USECOM has invited three human rights non-governmental organizations to discuss their human rights concerns in the region and those concerns specifically relating to the pipeline. This marks the first time USEUCOM has invited outsiders to such a meeting. Company officials will also be there.

Andrea's work schedule has been very flexible, allowing her to work from her permanent home in Bologna, Italy and fly to London for a week each month. Andrea has made her home in Italy since 2001. She originally worked as a researcher, fundraiser and program planner for Avvocato di Strada, Italy's first free legal clinic for the homeless. Her work is chronicled in a chapter within Defending the Rights of the Homeless: A Year of Experiences with Avvocato di Strada. A desire to work more broadly in the field of human rights led her to the London School of Economics.

Andrea hiking
Andrea hiking in the Dolomites in Northern Italy last summer

Andrea's London School of Economics class included 30 students from 16 countries. Among her professors was Christine Chinkin, who visited the Moritz College of Law in Fall 2002 to give the Schwartz Lecture. In addition to two international law courses, Andrea studied with professors from anthropology, philosophy, global governance, international relations development, and from the Civil Society Institute.

Andrea says, "I think even more than the coursework itself, the year was so interesting because my colleagues were so interested in learning. We had informal discussion groups every week and even when we got together socially our favorite topic of conversation usually involved understanding things we had read regarding human rights."

This intense pursuit of knowledge and skills is the quintessential Andrea. As a Moritz student, Andrea was a founder and first Executive Director of the Pro Bono Research Group (PBRG). The first student-run organization of its kind in the country, PBRG conducts research for legal services attorneys representing clients that might otherwise go unrepresented. She served as managing editor of the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, won first place in an OSBA essay contest for professional responsibility, and graduated with Order of the Coif honors. She speaks Italian and Spanish.

Throughout her experiences abroad, Andrea has remained in close contact with the College. Be it emailing the Dean or running into William B. Saxbe Designated Professor of Law Mary Ellen O'Connell at The Hague, Andrea is always anxious for news from home. Classmates and friends may reach Andrea here.