3L dreams of career in international criminal law, human rights
By: Madeleine Thomas
Giving a voice to the voiceless has long been the driving force behind 3L Shahed Al-asadi’s work. As an undergraduate journalism major at The Ohio State University, Al-asadi quickly realized that she wanted to bring about legal change to the very injustices she covered as a reporter.
Now she hopes to pursue a career in international human rights or international criminal law, with a long-term goal of working for the International Criminal Court or in a human rights branch of the United Nations. Helping others is an intrinsic part of who she is, she said.
“I’m a Palestinian-American and a first generation American. While I was born in a country that seemed privileged by the world, I always spent every single summer up until the civil war in Syria,” she said. “I was always interested with lending a hand and realizing how privileged people are here and in other first world countries.”
Al-asadi spent the semester before law school interning at the Columbus Council of World Affairs and for Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio). Moritz was the only law school she applied to on an early decision basis.
“Everyone here is your biggest supporter,” she said. “Once I got accepted, I didn’t apply anywhere. I stopped all the other application processes and hit the road. This is a place that I love and knowing how strong the alumni network was as an undergrad, I knew it would be just as amazing coming out of law school and would help propel my career.”
The courses Al-asadi has taken with Professor John Quigley—an expert on international human rights, the United Nations, and the Arab-Israeli conflict—have been especially beneficial to her as she starts to map out her career. Human Rights Law and Middle East Conflict, her two favorite courses, detailed the inner workings of the International Criminal Court and the United Nations, including how war criminals are prosecuted and which organs of the United Nations work specifically in human rights law.
“As a Palestinian, I’m super interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Growing up, conversations around my family dinner table were about what was going on in Palestine,” Al-asadi said. “Professor Quigley’s classes really put my future in focus.”
In the meantime, as she works her way up to a career in international law, Al-asadi is building a solid foundation working in the public sector first. She externed last semester in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, and currently externs at the Columbus City Attorney’s Office in the Prosecutor Division. At Moritz, she also serves as managing editor of the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law and as vice president of the Student Bar Association.
“The extracurriculars that I have engaged in give me inspiration, continue to renew my energy and passion, and are the reason why I came to law school,” she said. “Seeing the gratitude on other people’s faces—that’s what I want to do in the legal world when I engage in human rights law and international law later in life, on a bigger scale.”