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Feb 28, 2018
by Sarah Sexton
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Salzburg Cutler Fellows – Applying Legal Training to Public Service on a Global Stage

Students from 11 top US law schools discuss issues ranging from financial law to international courts and institutions Participants and faculty members of the sixth Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program

Speaking to 54 law students at the United States Institute of Peace on Friday, February 23, Seventh Circuit Chief Judge Diane Wood began her remarks with a reference to a scene from the 1993 film Jurassic Park

As a car full of visitors to the park speeds down a dirt path to escape a charging T-Rex, Wood narrated, the camera zooms in on the warning written on the car’s side mirror: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” 

“I’m here to tell you today that the same message – perhaps not with such dire consequences – holds for international law,” Wood said. 

Wood’s remarks opened the sixth Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program, which gathered students representing 23 countries – including Argentina, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, and Pakistan – in Washington, DC to discuss the future of international law and public service.

While international legal frameworks put in place since World War Two have fostered the effortless flow of ideas, goods, and services around the world, Wood said, challenges have also emerged, including drug trade, online financial scams, and human trafficking. 

“The borderless world has some sinister consequences too,” Wood said, “but these are things that we are dealing with right now in the courts.” 

Over two days, February 23-24, the Cutler Fellows engaged with prominent legal professionals and public servants, including Judge Wood; Ivan Šimonović, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect; and William H. Webster, former CIA and FBI director.  

The Fellows also worked with faculty advisors from each of the participating law schools – University of Chicago, Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, University of Michigan, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, University of Virginia, and Yale University – to sharpen their research papers tackling issues in international law ranging from trade and investment law to the law of war.

Faculty representatives Matthew Waxman of Columbia Law School and Alex Whiting of Harvard Law School engaged in a luncheon discussion with the Fellows, focusing on the role and recent developments of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Whiting spoke from his experience in the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC from 2010-13. 

On Friday evening, former FBI and CIA director Judge Webster joined in a conversation with John B. Bellinger, III, former US Legal Adviser, reflecting on recent events in the United States and calling for the restoration of the values of public service and fierce integrity across party lines. 

On Saturday at NYU Washington, Šimonović offered the Fellows advice based on his own work in diplomacy, justice, and international institutions. Recalling his experience as a member of the Croatian Delegation at the 1995 Dayton Peace Talks, Šimonović said, “Always remember the importance of cultural context in international negotiations.” 

The Fellows were also joined on Saturday by mentors from institutions including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and New Markets Lab to discuss how legal training can be used for the public good. Two mentors, Joseph Klingler and Eric Lorber, described their journeys from their participation as students in the Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program to their current work as an associate at Foley Hoag LLP and senior advisor to the Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the US Treasury Department, respectively. 

The Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program was established in memory of Lloyd N. Cutler, the Washington “superlawyer” who served as White House Counsel to Presidents Carter and Clinton. Cutler also served as Chair of Salzburg Global’s Board of Directors for a decade and advocated passionately for mentoring young leaders with a commitment to shaping a better world through law and rule of law. 

Since its founding in 2012, the Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program has carried forward Lloyd Cutler’s legacy and continues to empower rising legal professionals from around the world. 

Following this year’s Program, one student will be selected to travel to Salzburg, Austria – the home of Salzburg Global Seminar – in May 2018 to serve as rapporteur at this year’s high-level meeting of the Public Sector Strategy Network, a multi-year initiative at Salzburg Global run in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court and apolitical.


The Salzburg Cutler Fellows Program is held under the auspices of the Lloyd N. Cutler Center for the Rule of Law. The annual program collaborates with 11 of the leading US law schools. This year's program was sponsored by NYU Washington and Arnold & Porter. More information on the session is available here.