2019 LL.M. Public Interest and Government Fellowships

Shira Palti ’19 LL.M. Awarded LL.M. Public Interest and Government Fellowship at the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

Undergraduate and Graduate Degrees: Joint LL.B. and B.A. in Middle Eastern history, gender studies, and American studies and LL.B. from Tel Aviv University

Experience: Tel Aviv District Court, law clerk; Israeli Ministry of Justice, Office of the Deputy Attorney General, pre-intern; Tel Aviv University, research and teaching assistant; Columbia Law School, research assistant

Motivation: “At the core of my legal interest lies the relationship between human rights, criminal law, and immigration. What these legal fields have in common is the need to protect individuals at critical moments when they face the tremendous power of states and multinational corporations. During my LL.M. studies, I took part in theoretical and experiential courses, clinics, and externships on these topics, including Advanced Human Rights, the Immigrants Rights Clinic, Comparative Constitutional Law, Economic Migration, and the Constitutional Rights Enforcement: Capital Punishment, Life Imprisonment, and Post-Conviction Relief externship. I acquired a broad understanding of the challenges human rights advocates face in their attempts to protect the rights of minorities and disempowered individuals in their interaction with the criminal justice system, immigration agencies, and security authorities. In the future, I hope to pursue a career in human rights advocacy, focusing on both domestic and international law. As an Israeli, I feel an obligation to take the first step in this route by promoting human rights in Israel and in the Palestinian territories.”

Goals: “Regarded by many as one of the most important actors in the field of human rights in Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) monitors Israeli security and law enforcement and helps ensure they respect the human rights of the Palestinians. Joining the legal team of an organization that has so much experience in human rights litigation and advocacy is the best way for me to learn how to translate my academic experience into practical work. During my time at PCATI, I intend to be part of the efforts to ensure that the right not to be tortured or treated in a degrading manner—a fundamental right recognized by several international human rights treaties—is respected and enforced in practice.”

The office of Social Justice Initiatives (SJI) guides Columbia Law School students who want to pursue public interest work throughout their academic careers and after graduation. SJI also assists in the process of applying to prestigious postgraduate fellowships. Read about other 2019 LL.M. public interest and government postgraduate fellows.

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Published on June 4, 2019