Interning in Costa Rica, DeMarco ’17 Experiences International Law from Other Side
Anthony DeMarco ’17
Anthony DeMarco ’17 came to Albany Law knowing that he wanted to make international law a part of his future. He sent an application to the New York State Bar Association during his 2L year in the hopes of being accepted to an international summer internship experience before the start of his final year of law school. After sending his application, along with a few country preferences, it was ultimately a firm in Costa Rica that chose DeMarco.
“I applied in January and received the email in February that I got in. Right when I opened it I knew I would accept the opportunity and go to Costa Rica,” DeMarco said.
DeMarco was the first student from Albany Law to make the journey to Costa Rica as a part of the international internship program.
During his 2L year, he worked at the Immigration Law Clinic on campus. The Immigration Clinic allowed him to gain perspective on the domestic side of international issues. He argued in front of a family court judge for one of his clients, defending them in a case that he and a classmate had been assigned to work on for the semester. Experiences such as this furthered his confidence that international law was an important topic to him — one that he should continue to explore.
After accepting the internship in Costa Rica, DeMarco was put into contact with the managing partner at Pacheco Coto, the multinational law firm where he would be working. The managing partner helped DeMarco arrange transportation, housing, and dates for the trip.
Pacheco Coto has offices all around the world, including sites in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and other countries. The office DeMarco worked in was large by Costa Rican standards, with 18 attorneys on staff. This would be equivalent to a midsized U.S. firm.
On a typical work day, DeMarco arrived in the morning to work on large contracts, noting the differences between international transactions and those he is used to seeing in the U.S. He was an asset to the company because of the resources and information he brought with him from back home. Using his laptop, he had access to search engines such as Westlaw and LexisNexis, useful tools in researching U.S. standards of law that the Costa Rican firm would otherwise not have access to.
“Part of the reason I came to Albany Law was because of its international program.”
For the first few days he was there, he was asked to focus on terrorist sanctions that the U.S. has in place. Since Costa Rica is a loyal business partner to the U.S., DeMarco explored present and future dealings to ensure that the countries Costa Rica dealt with would not cause them to lose U.S. business. He was particularly interested in the interplay between U.S. and Costa Rica, learning from Pacheco Coto’s responses when conflicts would arise between the two differing sets of laws.
Outside of his time in the law office, DeMarco was able to explore Costa Rica. He traveled to the Atlantic coast for a weekend, to the small beach town of Cahuita.
“One of the hardest challenges I had to overcome was the language barrier. It was frustrating at times not being able to communicate freely. The beginning was hard but by the end of my five weeks I didn’t want to leave,” DeMarco said. “They valued having a fluent English speaker around. I was able to pick up on the language a bit after being immersed in the culture for a few weeks.”
DeMarco was the first student from Albany Law to make the journey to Costa Rica as a part of the international internship program. This trip was DeMarco’s longest out of the country, and longest out of the country alone. One of the most important things DeMarco feels that he has gained from this experience is a greater international perspective, having worked on international cases with international clientele.
“Part of the reason I came to Albany Law was because of its international program,” DeMarco said. “If a student is interested in international law, there are definitely classes they can take, along with a growing international program. I’d recommend this international summer experience to anyone who thinks they might be interested.”