Rising 2L Connie Ortiz: “Visita Profesional” with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

"I'm in paradise right now," says the rising 2L about her experience in San José, Costa Rica.

Rising 2L Constanza “Connie” Ortiz talks about her experience at UC Hastings and her experience at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San José, Costa Rica in the following Q&A:

Where are you from?

Miami, Florida.

What inspired you go to law school?

I aspired to get a degree that would allow me to level the playing field for more people like me in my direct community.

Are you focusing on any type of law and why?

International Public Law.

What have been some of your highlights at UC Hastings?

I am very thankful for the relationships I’ve managed to make with some of my professors—I don’t think I would have survived my first year without them.

What are you doing this summer?

This summer I am living in San José, Costa Rica completing a “Visita Profesional” with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. I have been assigned to work with the Division of Supervision and Compliance.

How did you hear of and get to participate in this opportunity?

The Court is an important institution for Latin Americans. I have spent a lot of time in my parents’ respective countries and likely learned about it in my youth while listening to the news. I was able to participate in this opportunity by applying to be an extern to the Court last November. I highlighted my international work experience and multilingual capacities. Additionally, I got a stellar recommendation letter from one of my professors at Hastings.

What’s the absolute best part of your summer gig?

I feel super lucky to have been selected to be part of the smaller Compliance Division at the Court. This team works with the “soft law” challenges the Court faces and manages the expectations not only of the world at large but also the community that is being affected. I’ve really enjoyed seeing this process through and have enjoyed working with people from all over the world.

What did you hope to learn through this experience?

I’d like to gain a better understanding of whether “soft law” institutions like the Court are capable of making sustainable change in the region.

What was been enriching about this experience?

It’s been really gratifying to see that I can function as a bilingual professional outside of the United States.

How has what you learned in the classroom prepared you for this opportunity and how will this experience help you with the rest of your law school experience?

The system within which the Court functions is completely different than the one we learn about at school; however, having an understanding of our own common law system has been useful to have as a point of reference.

Did you learn something about this type of law or practice that people wouldn’t really know about unless they had this experience?

I believe so because we really have no reason to learn about these kinds of institutions unless we take a very specific course on it.

Would you recommend this experience to a friend and why?

Absolutely! I think this work experience is great for anyone that wants to show that they can work in an international setting.

Do you miss San Francisco and UC Hastings?

Not really, haha! I’m in paradise right now.