Boyert '13 Tackles Judicial Transparency in Cote d'Ivoire

9/6/2012 | Facebook | Twitter | Email
Boyert '13, middle row third from left, and her mother, Jonni Boyert, middle row left, with King Mannan N'Douffou V and his royal court of the Krindjabo kingdom

Kristen Boyert ’13 spent the last five weeks of her summer break in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, interning and writing a comprehensive report on the history of human rights violations in the context of violence and the suspension of the country’s judicial system. Her work also included ways to mitigate corruption in the judiciary, and suggestions to codify such preventative measures in the country’s constitution.

The report in its initial form has been widely circulated in Cote d’Ivoire and with other groups, including the U.S. Embassy, and Boyert is continuing to develop a subsequent draft for potential publication with Professor Alexandra Harrington, who helped her secure the summer placement. Albany Law School funded the internship.

Boyert wrote the report through an internship with Transparency Justice, an NGO focused on improving judicial transparency in the Cote d’Ivoire, which has been undermined by civil conflict for the last decade, including several recent political arrests and attacks by unidentified gunmen against the national army.

Boyert with Madam Thérese Amichia and family

“The experience was character building, and certainly challenging on more than just an academic level,” said Boyert. “Many records have been burned or lost throughout the conflict, so in many ways, the judicial process in the Cote d’Ivoire is starting from scratch.”

No stranger to travel, Boyert has visited 18 countries – some twice – over the past 20 years, including China, Turkey, Cuba and Egypt. A native of Atherton, Calif., she said that she knew in her senior year of high school that she was hooked on law. She earned her undergraduate degree in Classics from the University of Southern California.

Before crossing the country to attend Albany Law School, Boyert worked for several years, including stints with a venture capital firm in the Silicon Valley, the Guess? corporate office and the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. She was eager to explore a career in international or human rights law, she said, which prompted her to fulfill her long-standing desire to attend law school.

During her second year at Albany Law, Boyert participated in both the Domestic Violence Prosecution Hybrid Clinic and the Family Violence Litigation Clinic. She is currently a senior associate editor for the Center for Judicial Process and an associate editor for the International Law Studies organization on campus. She expects to graduate with a concentration in international law.

Boyert in traditional Baoulé clothing with Judge Manlan Ehounou

“International law is something that I’ve always been interested in, and my experience in law school thus far has amplified that interest greatly,” said Boyert. “There are several things I’m interested in pursuing upon graduation, not the least of which is helping refugees and victims of human rights violations.”

"Kristen's internship with Transparency Justice is a fine example of the impact that Albany Law School's students can and do have at the international level,” said Professor Harrington. “This internship required Kristen to use her considerable legal knowledge, research and writing skills along with the interviewing skills that she has honed at Albany Law to navigate the intricacies of an overseas legal system and vastly different society.”

Professor Harrington continued, “She did this admirably and has received glowing praise from her supervisors at Transparency Justice, who were consistently impressed with her analytical and interpersonal skills. Through her internship, Kristen was a fantastic ambassador for the law school and the education it provides."

“When studying the Classics at USC, one of the ideas we often talked about was a citizen’s duty to the State. You have an obligation to contribute, to do good deeds, and use your knowledge for the betterment of society,” concluded Boyert. “That notion really stuck with me, and will continue to guide me in life and in the practice of law.”