Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Internship puts public affairs student to work on international legal affairs

Jamisen Rueckert


Two years after graduating in 2007, Jamisen Rueckert Brazys became staff attorney for the Supreme Court of the Federated States of Micronesia. Read more

Donation made stipend possible

The summer internship was the first time Rueckert had lived in Washington, D.C. She worked in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

"It was exciting to be in the heart of Washington, to walk by the White House every day," Rueckert says.

A stipend from the La Follette School made possible with a gift from a friend of the school went a long way in helping Rueckert be able to accept the unpaid internship.

"That support made a huge difference to me," Rueckert says. "I am very grateful for alumni and friends who can support the school to provide opportunities like this."

Jamisen Rueckert got a taste of her dream job last summer and an idea of what it takes to land it permanently some day. The La Follette School student interned with the Commercial Law Development Program, housed in the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of the General Counsel in Washington, D.C.

"CLDP works with the governments of developing nations to improve the rule of law in those countries," Rueckert says. "A good legal system encourages economic development because business owners know that the courts and police will function to protect their investments."

The program provides technical assistance to developing nations through consultative services and educational programs that take place in host countries and in the United States. Rueckert helped plan an intellectual property adjudication forum in Pakistan that brought together judges, government officials and intellectual property professionals.

She also worked with a delegation of business and government officials from Bahrain who came to Washington, D.C., to explore options for implementing a corporate governance code in their country. As part of this program, Rueckert accompanied the visitors to the Securities and Exchange Commission and arranged a meeting between an official at the Small Business Administration and her Bahraini counterpart.

CLDP works primarily on strengthening commercial and business laws in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, but it is starting to branch out to South Asia, Rueckert says. The agency is considering expanding to Latin America, which is Rueckert's area of expertise. She is working on a dual degree in law and international public affairs with an emphasis on international development.

Rueckert prepared a 107-page report that identified programs in five Latin American countries that seek to improve intellectual property rights, good governance and judicial capacity. She described the existing programs and identified possible areas where CLDP could provide assistance.

In working with the attorneys and specialists who operate CLDP's programs, Rueckert came to appreciate the need for a new attorney to get solid experience before going to work for an agency like CLDP.

"Most of the attorneys had prior legal experience before coming to CLDP," Rueckert says. "Working there, I learned that you really need to understand the way law works in practice before you can help others utilize it in a way that advances their goals."

To that end, Rueckert plans to practice law after she graduates, ideally with a firm that has some international business. She plans to take Indiana's bar exam in February because she will be moving to the Indianapolis area after graduation to join her fiancé, who is enrolled in a graduate program there.

"Long term, I'd love a job like what I experienced at CLDP that combines policy and legal work with international travel," Rueckert says. "But first, I'm going to get some more experience."

— article last updated November 1, 2010