Human rights lawyers generally deal with litigation associated with torture and abuse. As their name suggests, they deal with all litigation associated with violation of human rights. Most people who pursue this career path have a passion for protecting people’s civil rights.
Becoming a human rights lawyer
To be a human rights law, you first need to complete an undergraduate degree in law. Pursuing courses in human rights history, gender injustice and immigration law is an added advantage. However, there is no undergraduate degree offered that is called human rights law.
You will just have to become a lawyer then specialize in human rights cases. After graduating, experience in an established law firm can help gain experience. Participation in school law clinics, internships and being affiliated with human rights organizations also fosters exposure.
Pursuing a master’s degree in human rights can increase your employ-ability in this highly competitive field.
To be successful in this career path you will need impeccable interviewing skills. This helps you during the interviewing of potential witnesses and victims. The ability to read emotions and gauge people’s reactions will be useful.
Communication skills will also be useful in dealing with clients and media outlets. Human rights lawyers also need to be thoroughly organized in order to be able to effectively manage their cases.
An analytic and creative mind is also an added advantage in this line of work. Perseverance is key as it takes time before someone makes a name for themselves in this industry.
Career prospects and salaries
This field is highly competitive because it has less job openings as compared to other branches of law. This is probably because organizations and law firms dealing with this field are few. It is however lucrative.
An entry level human rights lawyer can earn up to $50,000 per year. This value can shoot up to $90.000 or more upon experience. Though it is tough to break through the competition, it is highly rewarding.
People who pursue this path are considered to have a deep desire to serve and derive enjoyment from protecting others. If one has a passion in human rights but does not have a law degree, a position as a mediator, arbitrator or conciliator can prove just s rewarding.
At the end of the day, all human rights lawyers, mediators, arbitrators and conciliators simply serve as conflict resolver.