Summer Externship in Argentina: Cherise Bacalski

Cherise Bacalski, second-year law student at BYU, had the opportunity to expand her legal experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina this summer as an extern for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS).

As a first-year law student, Bacalski developed an interest in International and Foreign Law. Upon hearing of the ICLRS externship program, her interest was piqued and a simple admiration for international law turned into a definite career option for the future.

“I would love to work in international or foreign law, so hopefully a future employer will value my experience and time in Argentina,” Bacalski said.

While in Argentina, Bacalski had the opportunity to attend the 13th Annual Conference on Legal & Policy Issues hosted by the University of Buenos Aires Law School and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She participated in legal panels and attended lectures by prominent Argentine and American professionals including Supreme Court Judges and presidents of the American Bar Association.

“I believe I was one of the only law students in attendance not from the University of Buenos Aires, and so I had the unique opportunity to meet some great people and represent Brigham Young University,” Bacalski said. “I was glad I made the effort to go and represent our campus.”

One of the most rewarding projects Bacalski worked on was a report for the Area Legal Counsel in the Philippines regarding the recent change of the marriage law in Chile. While she found this information interesting and educational to work on, the language curve was her most difficult obstacle and she embraced the challenge head on.

“Luckily, I find translation to be one of the most interesting intellectual pursuits I know of, and I enjoyed every minute of the curve,” Bacalski said.

Bacalski’s externship in Argentina cemented her love for the law as she made valuable connections between real life experience and academic classwork.

“It’s exactly as I expected—an exercise in translation, whether that be from Spanish to English, client to jury, lawyer to judge, or legal terminology to compliance regulations. I love it,” she said.

Bacalski also plans to take her experience with the Latin American marriage laws and create a legal comparison between the reformed marriage laws in Chile and the current marriage laws in the Phillppines today. Her biggest hope is for her research to be of some help to these countries.