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UN experience solidifies career aspirations for law student

May 31, 2011

UN experience solidifies career aspirations for law student
Katerina Minaeva stands in front of the Vienna International Centre where she interned with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law during the summer of 2010.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work at the United Nations has confirmed Katerina Minaeva’s passion for international business law.

The second-year Western law student’s realization came after spending last summer on an international exchange to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Vienna, Austria.

Katerina says she would never have been able to participate in the internship without the generous support of Larry J. Innanen who donated $50,000 to create the Larry J. Innanen International Student Internship in Economic Law. The award supports summer internship placements in an organization with an interest in economic law issues such as UNCITRAL or the World Bank.

Initially intimidated to intern at the UN, Katerina soon became confident in her role. Her work with UNCITRAL included researching materials for the Secretariat’s legal officers and compiling memos referenced at a panel discussion on the Rule of Law at the UN General Assembly held in New York. She also prepared a report on prevention and sanctions of corrupt practice found in government procurement.

Katerina had a chance to draft UNCITRAL’s contribution to a legal publication, called the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs, that will feature analytical studies of decisions taken by principal organs of the United Nations over the last ten years.

“The internship was an amazing chance to learn about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the creation of UN conventions, model laws and guidelines of international trade law,” says Katerina. “I also worked alongside brilliant legal officers and interns from around the world. These networks and friendships are invaluable to a career path in international law.”

This year, Western Law will offer 13 international internships and 31 exchange opportunities. International internships enable students to access a global network, a unique work experience and a potential career path in the international sphere. Students who live abroad also gain cross-cultural awareness and build greater independence and confidence.

Katerina, who speaks Ukrainian, Russian, French and conversational Spanish, was motivated to pursue law at Western because of its broad offering of internship and exchange opportunities. She will graduate in 2012 following an exchange semester at the National University of Singapore and hopes to embark on a career with international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.

This article appeared in the Spring 2011 edition of Impact Western
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