My whole life has been centered around doing the most good. As a strong advocate and member of the effective altruism community, I’ve constantly sought out finding a career that allowed me to contribute something meaningful to the world. I considered government policy, medicine, and even computer programming before finally settling on the career that best suits my interests, personal attributes, and gives me the best career capital to make the biggest impact. I finally settled on law.
My first experience with the field of law came when I was asked to be part of an awareness campaign for a pro bono initiative. We worked to find members of the community who needed free legal aid in Calgary, AB. I quickly discovered that the practice of law is not the superficial profession that the media often portrays it to be. Law is about real people, and upholding their rights. The lawyers I worked with performed their duties with the utmost integrity, they showed compassion for their clients, the volunteers, and the community at large. I was equally surprised to learn that I looked forward to our conversations. Talking about our clients and the work we were doing brought out a sense of comradery and I found myself immersed in the cases, their outcomes, and the whole process. By the end of the campaign, I knew that I needed to practice law and that it would be the way I could contribute to society.
At the time, I was also completing a Master’s Programme in International Relations at NYU. As part of the program, I wanted to learn more about the impact that international organizations had at the intergovernmental level. Thus, I was thrilled to be offered an internship with the United Nations (UN) Peacebuilding Support Office at UN headquarters. During this internship, I supported the Peace Building Commission (PBC) by drafting background analyses, coming up with talking points, and writing meeting summaries. Notably, I was able to support the drafting of the PBC funding strategy for the 2020-2024 initiative. This experience taught me about the relationships between the UN and its’ Member States, and how the whole process worked. My superiors also gave me the trust and freedom to be creative and think outside of the box in order to adapt to changing situations. Furthermore, I was able to see the impact of the department of legal affairs on the UN community. They ensured that our department could work within an established legal framework so that together they would have a global impact. I was thoroughly appreciative of the opportunity to learn about global affairs from the perspective of the UN, and what I can do to contribute.
Ultimately, I believe that law is a field where one has the career capital to have an impact and make changes to the world around them. It’s a field that allows one to advocate for the common man, play a role in big-international decision making, and to do the most good.