Amal Clooney tells young lawyers: 'Scrap the ten year plan'

Published April 24th, 2016 - 01:00 GMT
Amal with Dallas TV anchor Shelly Slater. (Twitter)
Amal with Dallas TV anchor Shelly Slater. (Twitter)

Amal Clooney, whose academic achievements are often overshadowed by her marriage to that famous guy, was in Texas at her first-ever public speaking engagement in the US. Clooney was the special guest speaker at the 2016 WINGS luncheon, organized by the 'New Friends, New Life' charity that supports with women who have been sexually exploited and trafficked.  

The sold-out event raised over a million dollars to provide access to education, financial assistance, and support for women and children to overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty and limited opportunities. “A lot I’m hearing about what New Friends, New Life does is giving hope, bringing hope to them just to show you’re there,” she said. “It’s about being resilient and not giving up.”

With over fifteen years of international experience in law, the 38 year old told Dallas TV anchor Shelly Slater that although her public life has changed dramatically since she married George Clooney, her passion for human rights continues to be a driving factor and is what makes her good at her job.  Yet despite all of her impressive accomplishments, she is not immune to being star-struck and feels that she is still on a journey.

As a young intern, Clooney was a clerk with then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor  (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States) at the US Court of Appeals. "She is one of the best, most amazing women I've gotten to watch", Clooney said.

She also worked on the notorious Enron case at Sullivan & Cromwell, and assisted Judge Patrick Robinson on trial against Slobodan Milosevic, who was accused of war crimes and genocide.  The case against the former president of Serbia, was a turning point for Clooney. "It showed that no one is above the law, and since then, other heads of state have been brought to trial," she said. "It set a new stage of international justice that hadn't been met in 50 years." 
Clooney spent last spring in New York, as a visiting professor at Columbia University School of Law. Her advice to her students? Ditch the ten year plan.  "It’s better to see where the work takes you", she said. Doing meaningful work was a recurrent theme in her talk. She stressed that if non-profit or pro-bono work made a difference to one person, then it was worth it.  
She also acknowledged the double-edged sword of fame, but was determined to use the constant spotlight to bring the issues that matter to her most to a new audience. "Knowledge can be empowering," she said. 






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