MLaw students examine legal training on a global stage as Cutler Fellows


By Jordan Poll

Students from 11 leading American law schools gathered recently to explore the future of public and private international law for the sixth annual Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program. At this two-day event in Washington, D.C., students heard from prominent legal professionals and public servants, including The Hon. Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals; William H. Webster, former FBI and CIA director; and Ivan Šimonovi´c, the UN assistant secretary-general for human rights and special adviser to the secretary-general on the responsibility to protect.

Michigan Law was represented by LLMs Sara Hayat and Marcos Kotlik, 3Ls Christian Robertson and Stephanie Zable, and 2L Jeffrey Bristol. They were accompanied by Professor Kristina Daugirdas.

The sixth cohort of Cutler Fellows collectively represented 23 countries, including Argentina, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Pakistan, and the United States. “It was a great experience, particularly the opportunity to connect and network with the people who will likely be my professional peers in the future,” said Zable. “Having these types of experiences is critical because it allows us to broach and challenge our ideas with peers who have similar education but have a wide variety of different backgrounds.”
Throughout the conference, students worked closely with faculty advisers from each of the participating law schools—including the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the University of Virginia, and Yale University—on research papers tackling issues ranging from financial law to international courts and institutions.

“I was not only able to interact and discuss my research with leading practitioners and peers, but also become part of a network that pursues the rule of law as a common goal,” said Kotlik. “By participating in this type of event, future legal scholars become fully aware of the complexities of current international dynamics and better prepared to claim a relevant role in domestic decision-making and global debates.”

Students engaged in small group discussions exploring how legal training can be used for the public good. They were facilitated by Joseph Klingler, an associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Foley Hoag LLP; Eric Lorber, senior adviser to the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the U.S. Treasury Department; and mentors from other institutions including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and New Markets Lab.

“Interactions between members of academic and professional spheres are essential to addressing the theoretical and practical challenges affecting the protection of fundamental rights worldwide,” said Kotlik. “This was the perfect opportunity to establish strong links with key players in the study, development, and implementation of international law at all levels.”