Amal Clooney

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Human Rights Lawyer

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    Amal Clooney: Biography at a Glance

    • Amal Clooney is a globally renowned lawyer specializing in international law and human rights, and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School.
    • Amal frequently represents victims of mass atrocities, including genocide and sexual violence, and has acted in many landmark human rights cases in recent years.
    • She and her husband, actor George Clooney, founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice which works in more than 40 countries to actively investigate war crimes, monitor trials targeting women and journalists, and fight against a global trend of authoritarianism.
    • With a rare combination of intellectual depth and pragmatism, she has appeared before the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the European Court of Human Rights, and various courts in the United Kingdom and the United States.
    • She is co-author of The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law, which offers a comprehensive and systematic overview of international jurisprudence. Her latest book, Freedom of Speech in International Law, provides key recommendations for how international standards should be applied by both states and social media companies.
    • A powerhouse barrister in international law, Amal is a sought-after speaker on social justice, global policy, philanthropy, and women’s empowerment.



    Amal Clooney is a barrister who specializes in international law and human rights. She represents clients before international courts, including the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, and the European Court of Human Rights. Alongside court work, she provides advice to governments and individuals on legal issues in her areas of expertise.

    Ms Clooney is ranked in the legal directories Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners as a leading barrister in international human rights law, public international law, and international criminal law. She is described as ‘a brilliant legal mind’, a ‘first-class international lawyer’, a ‘natural lead advocate’ who is ‘tactically first class’ and ‘a rare combination of intellectual depth and pragmatism’. The directories also spotlight her ‘superb advocacy’ and ‘commanding presence before courts’ and describe her as ‘a dream performer before international tribunals’. They also emphasize that she is ‘fantastically innovative’, very sophisticated in pushing the boundaries with an ability to galvanize ‘heads of state, foreign ministers and business … in a way that is very effective’ for victims of human rights abuses. ‘She is described in the legal rankings as having a ‘passionate commitment to the law and compassion for the people it serves’, ‘one of the finest advocates for the rights of victims in the sphere of international criminal prosecution’ and ‘in a league of her own at the Bar’.

    Ms Clooney frequently represents victims of mass atrocities, including genocide and sexual violence. She has acted in many landmark human rights cases in recent years including the world’s first and only trials in which ISIS members have been convicted of genocide against Yazidis. Ms Clooney also represents over 400 Yazidis in the first civil case in a U.S. court seeking to hold ISIS financiers responsible for supporting the terror group while it was committing its well-documented genocide.

    She has represented Armenia in a case involving the Armenian genocide and was recently counsel to 126 victims of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, at the International Criminal Court. She has also led a Legal Task Force on Accountability for Crimes Committed in Ukraine, established at the request of the government of Ukraine to advise on delivering justice for victims of crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. And she is a member of the Working Group on Compensation for Damage Cause to Ukraine, a group of international legal experts appointed by President Zelenskyy to advise on legal mechanisms for survivors of the conflict to claim compensation. In 2021 she was appointed Special Adviser to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

    Ms Clooney also represents political prisoners around the world and has helped to secure the freedom of journalists arbitrarily detained for their work across the globe. In 2020 Ms Clooney was the recipient of the Gwen Ifill Award for ‘extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom’ from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    Ms Clooney served as a senior advisor to Kofi Annan when he was the UN’s Envoy on Syria, as Counsel to the UN Inquiry on the use of armed drones, and as a rapporteur for the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute on the independence of the judiciary. She is a member of the UK’s team of experts on preventing sexual violence in conflict zones and the UK Attorney General’s panel of experts on public international law. From 2019-2021 she also served as deputy chair of an International Bar Association Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom chaired by former UK Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger.

    Prior to joining the London Bar, Ms Clooney completed a clerkship in The Hague at the International Court of Justice and worked as a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. She was admitted to the New York Bar and practiced as a litigation attorney at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York.

    Ms Clooney is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School and a Senior Fellow at the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute. She has co-authored the leading textbooks The Right to a Fair Trial in International Law and Freedom of Speech in International Law, published by Oxford University Press.

    She and her husband George co-founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which provides free legal support to victims of human rights abuses in over 40 countries. One of their initiatives, TrialWatch, shines a light on injustices by monitoring criminal trials and advocating for the rights of imprisoned journalists, LGBT persons, women, minorities, and human rights defenders. Another flagship initiative, The Docket, gathers evidence of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity to trigger prosecutions and civil suits and advocates for the rights of victims in those trials. The foundation’s most recent initiative – Waging Justice for Women – uses strategic litigation to advance women’s rights in Africa.


    The interview with Amal was spectacular. The audience hung on every word. The words most used to describe the evening—inspirational, motivating, classy, unexpected, educational. She was gracious, and open, and kind, and that made the night even more special.

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