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Pathways to the Profession: Paul-Angelo dell’Isola L’24

September 08, 2022

This summer, Paul-Angelo dell’Isola L’24 interned with Bredin Prat in Paris, France, gaining valuable experience in international arbitration.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to intern at Bredin Prat this summer on the firm’s arbitration team. I assisted the international arbitration (IA) group in representing sovereign states in investor-state disputes before international tribunals, and I developed legal research and advocacy skills in international law along the way.

Through the Global Legal Practice Fellowship, I worked in Paris and learned about investment arbitration from Bredin Prat’s top-notch IA team. This experience has been invaluable in developing the knowledge base and skill set I will need to succeed in IA, at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and beyond.  

As an international JD student with professional experience in the U.S., I wanted to conclude my first year of American law school by broadening my understanding of what an international litigation practice looks like and how to best prepare for it. After consulting with Caroline Ruhle in the Office of Career Strategy, I decided to “go home” to France over the summer to work in a “foreign” jurisdiction. Having attended the Annual Meeting of the American Society of International Law as a 1L, at the encouragement of Lauren Owens from Penn Carey Law International Affairs, proved instrumental, because I learned about the practice of international law from the very community of attorneys I was about to join. 

Thanks to the generous Global Legal Practice Fellowship, I was able to intern at Bredin Prat in Paris. The city is a global hub for international arbitration and home to a vibrant and cosmopolitan community of international law practitioners. The international arbitration team at Bredin Prat is involved in both commercial and investment arbitration, acting respectively as counsel to parties from different jurisdictions resorting to arbitration to settle contractual disputes and as counsel to sovereign states or investors asserting claims grounded in international law to vindicate their interests. 

While at Bredin Prat, I was staffed on three investment disputes, each one involving a sovereign state and an investor from a different state. The cases I worked on dealt with state actions having allegedly harmed business activity in the transportation and energy sectors. The claims were brought under Bilateral Investment Treaties, which are treaties between two nations that vest private parties from one nation with a right of action against the other. From a procedural standpoint, all three disputes were adjudicated before ICSID – an international forum and set of rules for settling disputes between investors and sovereign states.  

International arbitration is a complex legal discipline requiring specialized knowledge. My experience with Jessup International Law Moot Court as a 1L and Professor [of Law William W.] Burke-White’s introductory class in international law provided me with a firm base to initiate my research tasks. With the help of dedicated attorneys and other interns at Bredin Prat, I was able to conduct legal research and draft memos and portions of legal briefs on different procedural and substantive issues.

My experience this past summer has helped me identify the skill set I need to hone while in school and has informed my choices of coursework for the rest of my time at Penn Carey Law. Conducting research on cutting-edge issues in investment law has also sparked my interest for new procedural issues in international law and shed light on the current challenges to the international investment legal regime posed by climate change.

Most importantly, I have met great attorneys, both junior and senior, who have become mentors and were excellent resources as I participated in On Campus Interviews. 

Read more student and alumni “Pathways to the Profession.”