Skip to main content

Advancing International Human Rights

August 22, 2023

Natalie Malek L'25
Natalie Malek L’25

As a Global Justice Fellow and Mead Fellow, Natalie Malek L’25 worked for the UK-based international human rights organization, Reprieve.

Through the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s Global Justice Fellowship and the Mead Fellowship, I had the opportunity to travel abroad and work for Reprieve, a human rights organization based in London. The team consists of attorneys and activists who fight for justice by advocating for their clients through strategic litigation, working with policy makers, and seeking to influence the court of public opinion. Reprieve works with a wide range of clients, from wrongfully accused prisoners on Death Row in the United States to survivors of human trafficking in Syria.

As an Advocacy Fellow working with the policy and media teams, I worked on a variety of assignments supporting Reprieve’s current casework. My work included drafting briefs to help attorneys gain an understanding of UK parliamentary members’ stances on humanitarian issues and researching journalists who may be open to advocating on behalf of clients.

Foundations for an International Law Career

My background in journalism and human rights helped prepare me for this work. I also honed many skills throughout my first year at Penn Carey Law; these were directly transferrable to my role at Reprieve. In the Legal Practice Skills course taught by Senior Lecturer Silvia Diaz, I learned how to effectively research and analyze legal doctrines, a tool relevant far beyond U.S. borders. I also honed my communication abilities as I learned how to distill complex legal concepts into clear and concise information appropriate for a workplace environment that includes legal and non-legal professionals.

During my second semester, I also elected to take “International Law” with Jacques DeLisle, Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law & Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China. In that course, I gained an understanding of the various bodies of law that govern the international political landscape. I also learned about the many ways in which international policy-making institutions create guidelines that permeate domestic spheres around the globe. This foundational knowledge was essential in my work at Reprieve as human rights covenants like the ICCPR, which bans torture and inhumane punishment, are relevant to the organization’s big picture operations.

Outside of the classroom, my broader experiences at Penn Carey Law prepared me for success. As the Academic & Professionalism chair for the recently established Penn Middle Eastern Law Student Association, I collaborated with other members and learned how to build an organization from the ground up. This taught me how to effectively communicate, lead, and problem-solve—pertinent skills which I brought to my role at Reprieve.

My summer at Reprieve has confirmed my interest in pursuing a career in the international legal sector. Gaining exposure to high-stakes international matters has been incredibly rewarding, and I look forward to bringing this experience with me throughout my legal education at Penn Carey Law and beyond.

Pathways to the Profession highlights Penn Carey Law students and post-graduate fellows as they launch impactful legal careers. From summer internships in the private sector to public interest post-graduate fellowships, these firsthand accounts of substantive legal work demonstrate the myriad opportunities available to Penn Carey Law students and graduates as they hone their skills and advance their career goals.

Natalie Malek L’25 is from Chicago and is pursuing a career practicing in the international legal sector.

The Mead Fellowship is made possible through the generosity of Scott Mead L’82.

Explore more of our students’ Pathways to the Profession.