When a difficult legal market convinced Joseph "Eli" Roeschke (VLS 2009) that he would have to use his law degree creatively, he turned a potentially negative situation into an opportunity to explore a career in international law. As Eli noted: “There are plenty of rewarding opportunities, the work is extraordinary, and the impact you can have on the world stretches well beyond the reach of a traditional legal career."
Eli’s interest in international law first developed in 2007 when he participated in the VLS Rome Study Abroad program, and was further strengthened by his experience in the VLS C.A.R.E.S. Clinic. After graduating from VLS, Eli pursued an LL.M. in public international law at the University College of London, where he completed his studies in late 2010 with a dissertation on International Refugee Law. During Eli’s time in Europe, he also attended the well-regarded summer program at the Hague Academy of International Law.
After he completed his graduate work, Eli was offered a prestigious legal internship with the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he has been living since December 2010. He currently works in the Office of the International Co-Prosecutor at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), where he assists in the prosecution of the senior leaders of the former Khmer Rouge regime, who were responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1 to 2 million people through systematic executions and starvation during the 1970s. At the conclusion of his internship, he will work for the Executive Office for Immigration Review, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice in Los Angeles. Eventually, he plans to return to the United Nations to continue a career in public international law.