Globe Trotting

Field Placement Program delivers coveted experience and wisdom around the world
Quincy Blair near European Parliament in Brussels
Spencer Perry with his dog Shadowfax in The Hague’s Old Town section
Brock Williams enjoying the wildlife in Nairobi

WORLDVIEW: 3Ls Quincy Blair (near European Parliament in Brussels), Spencer Perry (with his dog Shadowfax in The Hague’s Old Town section), and Brock Williams (enjoying the wildlife in Nairobi) all savored their time in the Field Placement Program.

Kenya is nearly 10,000 miles from campus, but 3L Brock Williams found a purpose there that hit close to home.

One of a record 228 students in Berkeley Law’s Field Placement Program this school year, Williams worked with the United Nations Environment Program Law Division in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

“The United Nations and what it aspires to has long inspired me,” he says. “I was excited to work with this organization, especially on some environmental agreements I’d only learned about in class.”

Field Placement Program students spend a semester doing legal work at a nonprofit or government agency, supervised by a lawyer, for academic credit in the Bay Area, around the country, and across the world.

Williams’ projects addressed recognizing the rights of nature, avoiding and mitigating space debris pollution, and supporting multilateral environmental agreements. He lived in a pool house cottage and walked less than a mile to his office.

“People from around the world live in Nairobi, and I loved interacting with so many different cultures, seeing animals I’d only seen in zoos, and experiencing the city’s amazing culinary offerings,” Williams says.

Long interested in international human rights, 3L Quincy Blair applied after seeing a report on prison conditions in Italy conducted partly by the nonprofit No Peace Without Justice, which protects and promotes human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. She emailed the organization — which led to an interview, a written evaluation, and eventually a placement in Belgium.

Blair helped run social media accounts on ecocide, published daily news reports to the organization’s website, ran a biweekly news radio show in Italian, and pursued grants. She also drafted reports on European Parliament meetings and helped coordinate an event on the harmful effects of global warming and natural resource exploitation in the Amazon region.

“The skills I learned will be invaluable as a lawyer: how to write persuasive arguments, synthesize complex information in a concise and coherent manner, and use our platforms as lawyers as a tool for advocacy,” Blair says.

After spending years working to reform criminal justice systems, 3L Spencer Perry found an optimal field placement fit at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague, Netherlands. He investigated ethnic cleansing operations, assisted prosecution strategies for national governments, and developed legal research resources for war crimes prosecutors.

Perry biked to the tribunal each day through woods and over canals — a stark contrast from working in a place that confronts genocide and how a community addresses its perpetrators.

“It presents a hope that cycles of violence can be broken and evil can be held to account in a courtroom instead of a battlefield,” Perry says. “I was challenged every day and felt a deep sense of purpose and fulfillment. This field placement made me a better advocate and a better person.” — Andrew Cohen