Dr. John Hall
, professor of law and Director of the International Law Program at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law, spent his spring break helping students advance with international professional experience. He traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to secure summer internship opportunities for students in social justice and human rights non-governmental organizations.
“I am in Phnom Penh for ten days over spring break. I came with a list of organizations that I wanted to meet with, and have had several more recommended to me since arrival. Many of the NGOs have met my criteria. A few have not.”
Fowler School of Law International Law Program
has been sending one or two law students a year as summer interns to human rights organizations in Cambodia, including
Legal Aid of Cambodia
Open Society Justice Initiative
. In response to the growing student interest, there is a need to increase the number of internship opportunities for Fowler students.
Due to the fact that an organization’s glamorous website might not be an accurate portrayal, it’s not ideal trying to set up internships by email. “There is nothing as important as visiting the offices, shaking hands with the staff, talking with the director and actually engaging the lawyers who will supervise my students. You can’t do that from a computer terminal thousands of miles away,” said Dr. Hall. It is unusual for a professor to travel to another country in order to organize internships the way he has done.
Dr. Hall’s trip was very successful in securing a range of exciting internships for Fowler students and
several students will be spending the 2014 summer in Cambodia
. “These are extraordinary opportunities for students interested in human rights, social justice and legal empowerment,” he said.
In the summer of 2012,
Fowler law student Stephanie Lincoln (JD ’14) traveled to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to work for the Open Society Justice Initiative
. She said the experience left her with “a greater appreciation for the judicial independence that exists in the court systems of the United States.”
Cambodia is a country with a rich culture, a tragic recent past and poor human rights track record. Fowler students will be exposed to legal issues and social problems inconceivable in the United States. Those students that have completed an internship in Cambodia have returned with a deep appreciation for the value of a life that incorporates service to others. “Whatever areas of law they may end up in, interns will carry with them a profound understanding of the value of law, of the role that lawyers can play to change the world for the better and an understanding that service to others may provide the foundation of a meaningful and rewarding life,” Hall said.
Dr. Hall has been working on and off in Cambodia since 1993. When he was a first year law student he spent the summer as an intern at Legal Aid of Cambodia. “This was a life-changing event for me, and I am determined that my students should be given a similar opportunity,” he said.
Dr. Hall is a noted authority on the human rights situation in Cambodia. He has published several articles and more than a dozen op-eds on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and attempts to bring leaders of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime to justice. His op-eds in the
Wall Street Journal
and elsewhere have exposed serious mismanagement and corruption at the Tribunal. In addition, his law review articles have focused on the dire human rights situation in Cambodia, labor rights in the garment industry there and the various legal efforts to prosecute Khmer Rouge commanders for Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide. For example, he published ”
The ILO’s Better Factories Cambodia Program: A Viable Blueprint for Promoting International Labor Rights?
” in the
Stanford Law & Policy Review (
Vol. 21, No. 3, 2010); the ”
Human Rights and the Garment Industry in Contemporary Cambodia
” in the
Stanford Journal of International Law (
Vol. 36, No. 1, pp. 119, 2000); and ”
In the Shadow of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal: The Domestic Trials of Nuon Paet, Chhouk Rin and Sam Bith, and the Search for Judicial Legitimacy in Cambodia
” in the
Columbia Journal of Asian Law (
Vol. 20, No. 1, Fall 2006). He was also very involved in the creation of the interdisciplinary human rights documentary film program,
Destination: Documentary at Chapman University