Karen Seif, J.S.D. candidate

Education: LL.B. & Masters, Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, Paris; L.L.M., Queen Mary University, London; LL.M., Berkeley Law 2015
Affiliations: BHSA JSD rep, Officer of the International Bar Association – Public Law Committee

My area of focus is on international commercial courts with a particular emphasis on Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. I’m from the Middle East, so I have a natural interest in doing research that highlights what goes on there and how it relates to the international scale.

The strength of the JSD program is that most of its scholars are experienced attorneys, who have studied law in the states as well as internationally. That makes us uniquely positioned to do comparative legal research.

Obviously, this is an excellent law school. But excellence is a given at any top law school. What distinguishes Berkeley Law is the people that are here. There’s a particular culture that is incredibly generous and supportive of research and self-growth. I have benefitted so much from the mentoring of my academic advisor, Professor Laurent Mayali, and other professors at Berkeley.

They are great examples to follow. Not only do they generate knowledge through research, but they are equally committed to disseminating it through teaching and connecting it to legal practice. I similarly balance my research with teaching, which I really enjoy. I have taught every term of my doctoral program, both at Berkeley and abroad.

Being at Berkeley is stimulating because it is a place where important conversations happen that affect the country and the world. It’s really something to listen to discussions going on right on your doorstep. From the Black Lives Matter movement to free speech, Berkeley is at the forefront of the conversations that matter.

Editor’s note: Karen was recently selected as an American Society of International Law student fellow. She will represent Berkeley Law at the annual conference in Washington, DC, which brings together academics, practitioners, policymakers, and legislators, to discuss a topic relating to international law in practice.