The Catholic University of America

At podium, Jessica Heywood, director of the law school's Office of Career and Professional Development, introduces L-R: Admir Serifovic, 2002; Hon. Jonathan B. Kramer, 1994; Leslie E. Velez, 2002; Karen A. Tramontano, 1982; Cortney O'Toole Morgan, 2001; and Casey Richter, 2006.

International Law Positions Not Found in the Want Ads

It's advice that law students cannot hear often enough: network, network, and network.

The message was given again on Feb. 3 by six CUA law alumni who returned to discuss careers in international law with current students in the Slowinski Courtroom. The panel, one of many such events organized this semester by the Office of Career and Professional Development that focus on obtaining postgraduate employment, offered students expert advice and suggestions for identifying and then going after that all-important first job.

The panelists, who brought diverse professional backgrounds, specialties and experiences to the discussion, quickly arrived at a consensus suggestion: do not rely on legal job sites or other postings to secure a position.

In fact, only one of the alumni guests had landed a job that way. The others said that networking was the key to their successful careers. Put yourself in situations where you can meet other legal professionals, they urged, and then make a point of staying in touch with the appropriate people.

The panelists were introduced by OCPD director Jessica Heywood and included:

  • Karen A. Tramontano, 1982, a principal at Dutko Worldwide. Tramontano oversees the firm's international government affairs practice on three continents. She has played a critical role in shaping some of the most important global policy issues of our time, including NATO and EU expansion, U.S. visa policy, regional and bi-lateral trade agreements, as well as world-wide poverty reduction strategies. From 1997 to 2001, Tramontano served as deputy chief of staff to President Clinton. Additionally, she currently serves as senior advisor to Juan Somavia, director general of the International Labor Organization in Geneva.
  • Admir Serifovic, 2002, founder and managing attorney of The Serifovic Law Firm, P.C. The firm serves clients throughout the U.S. and around the world in all aspects of U.S. immigration and nationality law. Prior to founding his own law firm, Serifovic practiced immigration law with an international business law firm on the U.S. border with Mexico. He has extensive experience with the visa application processes at U.S. consulates abroad. Serifovic is fluent in Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian languages.
  • Hon. Jonathan B. Kramer, 1994, administrative law judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals. Approved for appointment as a veteran's law judge by President Bush in 2008, Judge Kramer holds hearings and renders decisions on behalf of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in appeals concerning claims for benefits.
  • Leslie E. Velez, 2002, director for access to justice/ legal programs, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Velez manages and directs legal programs for LIRS which include national oversight of affiliated legal service programs to meet needs of particularly vulnerable populations including asylum-seekers, torture survivors, and immigrants in detention. She also oversees and coordinates the ten agencies participating in the Detained Torture Survivor Legal Support Network.
  • Cortney O'Toole Morgan, 2001, associate in Barnes/Richardson's Washington, D.C. office. Her practice focuses on all aspects of international trade regulation. Morgan is proficient in Japanese and serves as vice chair of the ABA Section of International Law and Practice Customs Subcommittee, among many other professional affiliations in international law.
  • Casey Richter, 2006, is an associate in Neville Peterson's Washington, D.C. office, where he focuses on customs law, trade regulation, and litigation. Prior to joining Neville Peterson, Richter interned at the United States Department of Justice in the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division. Prior to law school Mr. Richter spent two years teaching English as a second language in Chile. He is fluent in Spanish.