On the evening of October 25, the Catholic Law International Law Students Association (ILSA) hosted guest speaker Laura Bramon Hassan for a virtual discussion about her work and its interaction with legal systems. Hassan is a global child protection expert with twenty years of experience working with the U.S. Government, international agencies, and civic, tribal, and faith leaders to address violence against children in the United States, Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East. She has testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress and spoken at the University of Notre Dame and the Religious Freedom Institute on topics including human trafficking, child marriage, genocide, and the intersection of human dignity and international development.
To begin the program, Hassan outlined the arch of her career—beginning her career in journalism and working in radio for BBC then shifting to alternate between journalism contracts and international consultancies (which included volunteering in Bolivia with women in prostitution, many of whom were trafficking victims), before landing a position with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and then World Vision.
Hassan, who is not a lawyer herself, explained to the group, “All of those kinds of things would be open to you—any of those things—if you have an interest in them because of the skill set you’ve already gained as critical thinkers and you’ve honed and refined in a unique way as a lawyer. But you will have other jobs open to you that were never open to me because you will be able to litigate. People will trust you to analyze laws, interact with judges, and interact with the criminal justice system in a deeper, more in-depth way.”
After providing detail on how her career was shaped, Hassan pivoted to speak more specifically about how law and juridical structures impact some of the work that she’s currently doing—primarily her work with tribal law and Canon law in Southern Africa and her research on the intricacies of civil law in that area. With the time that remained in the hour, Hassan answered questions from the group.