On April 6, 2019, the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) held its Spring 2019 Young Professionals' Career event at the United Nations Foundation located next to the White House. Roncevert Almond, Partner and Vice President at The Wick Group (TWG) addressed participants in the “Careers in International Law” dinner along with Martina Vandenberg, Founder and President of the Human Trafficking Legal Center.
Ambassador Keith Harper, former U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Human Rights Council, served as the keynote speaker. Prior to his station at the United Nations, from 2010 to 2014, Ambassador Harper served as Commissioner on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. He also served as a Chair for Native American policy in the 2008 Obama for America presidential campaign and then as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team. Ambassador Harper is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. The ambassador described the arch of his professional experience and his approach of taking the path less traveled at critical times in his legal career. He also described his time at the United Nations during the Obama administration and the importance of U.S. leadership in human rights.
During the international law discussion, Mr. Almond described his career path and the overlooked importance that international law plays in the everyday lives of Americans and individuals cross the globe. He stressed five important features to becoming an international lawyer: First, in order to be an international lawyer, you must become a good lawyer, period. This comes through hard work, research, and writing. Second, aspiring lawyers must find their goals and passion in international law, and move their careers forward accordingly. Third, young lawyers must resolve to plan their work and then resolve to execute their plans. Fourth, lawyers must develop and maintain mentors and supportive networks. He asked the young professionals to consider: who sits on their board of directors, who do they turn to for advice? Fifth and finally, he stressed the importance of remembering the client. Mr. Almond observed: “If you want to be an international lawyer, you need to have clients with international legal problems that require resolution.” For any lawyer, a career, direction, and professional responsibility start with the client.
Ms. Vandenberg described her background and the establishment of The Human Trafficking Legal Center in 2012 with generous support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) Fellowship Program. The former Rhodes scholar noted how at different parts of her career she had to reinvent herself or to create new solutions where ones did not previously exist, for example, while spearheaded investigations into women’s rights and human rights violations in the Russian Federation shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Both Mr. Almond and Ms. Vandenberg stressed the importance of writing and publishing in career development. Mr. Almond, for example, serves on the editorial board of The Air & Space Lawyer, the premier publication for practitioners in the field, and as a contributor to The Diplomat, a journal on international affairs. He has also co-authored the book Aviation Regulation in the United States, a treatise on U.S. law and international law governing aviation.
TWG is a multi-disciplinary legal and consulting firm that provides specialized services to clients with aviation and transportation-related interests worldwide. TWG advises clients around the globe on achieving their civil aviation development objectives, whether achieving compliance with international regulatory standards or representing transportation-related clients in a broad range of legal matters.
For more information about TWG’s legal services and aviation consulting practice, please contact Roncevert Almond at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 457-7790.