Amal Clooney has risen to fame over the years and made a name for herself well before marrying Hollywood star George Clooney back in 2014. She is a human rights barrister who rose to fame by representing high-profile clients such as Julian Assange and the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Specialising in human rights, public international law and international criminal law, she is qualified to practice in both the UK and the US and is also an activist and author. She is also trilingual, speaking English, conversational Arabic and French and is a visiting professor and senior fellow at Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute.
Practising at Doughty Street Chambers, Clooney represents clients before both national and international courts. If this wasn’t impressive enough, Clooney also gives legal advice to both governments and individuals. In 2019, she and her husband founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ) which aims to fight for justice for victims of mass human rights abuses worldwide.
Clooney served as counsel to the UN enquiry on the use of armed drones led by the Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights. She also notably advised former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan while he was part of the UN’s envoy on Syria among a slew of other impressive achievements.
But how did she get to this point?
Despite her success, Clooney was not born with a silver spoon in her mouth – she spent the first 2 years of her life living in Beirut, Lebanon in the midst of a civil war but her family moved to London when she was 2 years old.
Her legal studies properly began when she went to study at Oxford University on an Exhibition scholarship, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jurispendence in 2000. She then went on to do a Masters’s in Law at the New York School of Law in 2001 where she received an LLM. While she was there, she worked clerkships in the International Court of Justice and also the United States Court of Appeals. She also did a clerkship at Sonia Sotomayor’s office who is now a U.S Supreme Court Justice.
In 2002 she was then admitted to the bar in New York and following this, she worked at Sullivan and Cromwell in New York for 3 years.
Subsequently, she moved to The Hague to work as a Judicial assistant in the office of the Prosecutor at the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Clooney was then called to the Bar of England & Wales in Inner Temple, London and then began working for Doughty Street Chambers in 2010.
She is an inspiration to many young lawyers and in her speech to Vanderbilt graduates back in 2018, she urged them to: “Be courageous. Challenge orthodoxy. Stand up for what you believe in. When you are in your rocking chair talking to your grandchildren many years from now, be sure you have a good story to tell.”