For those who want to make a difference, a career in human rights law is an honorable and worthwhile pursuit. Human rights lawyers work to promote the dignity and worth of all people by shaping public policy and educating lawmakers. They also provide legal representation for those denied their fundamental human rights. A law degree can help you achieve your goals as a human rights lawyer, but there are other steps that you should take as well. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the information needed to be successful in this field so that you can decide if it’s right for you.
1. What Is a Human Rights Lawyer?
You should have a passion for human rights if you want to be an influential lawyer in this field. Lawyers who focus on human rights work to promote justice and fairness worldwide. They also protect people from oppression, attack, and other violations of their fundamental freedoms. Human Rights lawyers are motivated by three shared values: dignity, equality, and freedom. These values can be found in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the General Assembly adopted in 1948.
Human rights lawyers work to prevent oppression and discrimination from occurring worldwide. They also fight to ensure that all people’s basic human needs are being met domestically and internationally. Lawyers in this field dedicate themselves to protecting the rights of individuals, groups, and foreign nationals. Human rights lawyers also shape public policy who work inside governments worldwide. This includes working for local agencies, nonprofit organizations, U.N.U.N. agencies, and other government institutions dedicated to promoting justice and equality within their countries.
2. What Does a Human Rights Lawyer Do?
A human rights lawyer ensures that their clients have access to justice. They use the law as a tool to challenge acts of violence, racism, persecution, and other forms of injustice. In many cases, they will also work with government agencies or nonprofit organizations to develop policies that will support human rights.
Human rights lawyers handle various cases, including family law, immigration law, and international law. They also work with refugees who have been displaced from their homes due to persecution or war. Lawyers specializing in this field may be involved with government regulations about the treatment of people inside prisons or mental health facilities. They may also be involved in legal proceedings brought before regional human rights courts.
3. What Education Do You Need to Become a Human Rights Lawyer?
To practice law, you need to obtain the Juris Doctor (J.D.J.D.) degree from an accredited law school within your state or province. There are many pre-law programs available at colleges and universities that can help you get into law school. You will need to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to gain admission into a four-year J.D.J.D. Program. Law schools are looking for analytical, logical, and sound reasoning. Extracurricular activities such as internships or volunteering may also improve your chances of being accepted.
Law school typically takes about three years to complete and includes a mix of core courses and electives. You will be required to take classes in civil procedure, contracts, constitutional law, criminal law, property law, legal research and writing, torts, evidence, professional responsibility, business organizations, real estate finance law, trusts and estates, and taxation. These classes will help you develop the skills needed to succeed as a human rights lawyer.
4. What Is it Like to Work as a Human Rights Lawyer?
Human Rights lawyers perform many different tasks each day, depending on their expertise. They may represent clients in court, meet with government officials, draft legislation, or work with nonprofit organizations. Lawyers in this field usually specialize in an area such as immigration law, international law, civil rights law, criminal defense, family law, legal research, writing, etc.
As a human rights lawyer, you may be responsible for representing your clients at administrative hearings held before the government. This includes courts that deal with deportation, workers’ compensation claims, and veterans affairs. Lawyers may work with government agencies to draft laws that will support their clients’ rights. Some lawyers specialize in nonprofit organizations or international law. You can expect to be involved with a variety of cases that require the use of critical thinking skills so you can determine the best solution for your client.
5. What Are the Long-Term Career Prospects for Human Rights Lawyers?
According to U.S.U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for lawyers, is expected to increase by 9 percent between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). This rate is faster than the average growth projected for all other occupations in all industries. There is expected to be an increase in demand for legal services due to the aging population and because legislation will continue to play a significant role in society.
6. What Salary Can You Expect as a Human Rights Lawyer?
According to the U.S.U.S, the median annual wage for lawyers was $118,160. Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2017. The median wage is when half of all workers earned more than that amount and half earned less. It may be challenging to get an accurate salary figure for human rights lawyers because they can offer services outside their community or region.
A job as a human rights lawyer will let you work on some of the most exciting and challenging cases in the world. Because there is such a need for legal services, you can earn a good salary.
7. What Skills Do You Need to Become a Human Rights Lawyer?
Some of the skills you require to become a human rights lawyer
· Critical thinking skills – You will need to assess your client’s case and determine if it violates human rights.
· Creativity – Lawyers in this field may need to draft legislation or suggest solutions for NGOs, and you should have creative problem-solving abilities.
· Communication skills – To present cases effectively, you must explain them in a way that juries or judges can understand.
· Interpersonal skills – Lawyers are required to work closely with other members of the legal community, so establishing good relationships is essential.
· Research and writing skills – Lawyers need to search for applicable laws, prepare cases, and draft documents.
· Analytical skills – Lawyers need to interpret laws and apply them to their clients’ cases.
8. What Are Some of the Challenges You Might Face as a Human Rights Lawyer?
Some of the challenges you may face as a human right’s lawyer are:
- Lawyers in this field may need to serve more people without enough time.
- It is challenging to get funding for human rights cases because many lawyers work pro bono (without pay).
- You will always need to look for new legislation or case law to help your clients.
- You may face a lot of hostility from opposing parties or the government’s lawyers because you are fighting for your client’s rights.
9. What Are Some of the Benefits of Being a Human Rights Lawyer?
Some of the benefits you might experience as a human rights lawyer
- You will get to learn about many different cultures and meet people from all over the world.
- You may be able to represent your country in legal proceedings at the United Nations (U.N.U.N.).
- You can use your law degree to fight for women’s rights, worker’s rights, or child rights.
- You can make a significant difference in your clients’ lives.
- You may have the opportunity to work for an NGO you are passionate about.
- You may work outside of your home country.
10. What Is the Work Environment Like for a Human Rights Lawyer?
Most human rights lawyers are employed by the government, nonprofit organizations, or universities. However, you may have some opportunities to work with private law firms that are also committed to helping others.
Human rights lawyers will often be required to travel for their jobs, so being flexible about your location would be an asset. You will usually need to work full time.
11. Best Law Schools to Become a Human Rights Lawyer
When you think of the top law schools in the country, they probably don’t come to mind when thinking about human rights work. But several law schools give an excellent legal education while also focusing on the field’s international nature.
Many good law schools around the world provide programs in human rights law. Some of our favorites include
- Harvard Law School (Boston, Massachusetts)
- Columbia University (New York City, New York)
- American University Washington College of Law (Washington DC)
- The Hague University of Applied Sciences (The Hague, Netherlands)
- The University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Ontario)
- McGill University (Montreal, Canada)
12. Courses to Study Human Rights Law
If you are looking for a more flexible way to learn about straight human law, check out the following top online courses:
Human Rights: An introductory course by Academy-lectures The course is taught by experts in the field and gives you a solid introduction to human rights law. It will teach you about the three primary sources of international human rights (treaties, customary norms, and general principles) as well as essential concepts such as juts cogens norms and the impact decisions of international courts have on national legislation.
The Diplomat’s Guide to International Human Rights Law by edX- This course builds an understanding of how international human rights law provides a common standard to judge states’ behavior. You will learn about international human rights treaties, the role of the U.N.U.N. in promoting respect for human rights, and how to advance international human rights through diplomacy.
International Human Rights Law by futurelearn.com: If you want to see how human rights law is applied in a real-world setting, this course created by the University of Kent will help you out. You will learn about international protection from torture and unfair trials, as well as the role that non-governmental organizations play in upholding human rights both domestically and abroad.
Free Human Rights E‑Course by humanrights.com: This course by human rights.com is a great way to learn about human rights from the comfort of your own home. You will get an introduction to international human rights law, including how it protects our freedoms and opportunities in areas such as education, work, marriage, and healthcare.
So, if you’re passionate about human rights and want to make a difference in the world, becoming a lawyer is one of the best options. It’s a challenging but rewarding career path that can open up many opportunities for you to help people and make your voice heard. We hope this article has helped give you a better idea of what it takes to become a human rights lawyer and what the job prospects are like. Are you ready to start your journey?