Amal Clooney is one of the most talented lawyers of her generation but despite her amazing accomplishments, it was only when she started dating actor George Clooney in 2013 that she appeared on the public’s radar.
Amal and George Clooney at the 'Our Brand is Crisis' film premiere in Los Angeles
Clooney has represented a host of high-profile clients - from former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange - and used her human-rights expertise to advocate for the cases of imprisoned journalists and Yazidi women abused under ISIS.
Despite her legal prowess, newspapers, tabloids and fashion magazines have often brushed off Clooney’s work to focus on her looks, her husband and her pregnancy.
Rather than let her newfound fame stand in the way of her career, Clooney has used it to raise awareness of human-rights abuses taking place around the globe, proving to the world that she is a lawyer first and a celebrity second.
It would take an eternity to list all the amazing things Amal Clooney has achieved so here’s an inspiring snapshot of her greatest accomplishments:
Amal Clooney speaking at the UN Headquarters in New York
Turning Her Life Around After Fleeing the Lebanese Civil War
Clooney and her family fled to London in 1982 during the violent civil war in Lebanon. Despite the difficulties that came with being a refugee in a new country, she flourished in the UK and was an ambitious and talented student.
“My own family is from Lebanon, and they also ran away from a war, and were lucky enough to be accepted by a European country,” she recalled during a talk with Syrian refugees.
Clooney received her Bachelor's degree in Law from St Hugh's College, Oxford in 2000 and went on to complete a Masters of Law (LLM) at New York University School of Law. She passed the New York bar exam in 2002 and worked in the field of criminal defence at the New York firm Sullivan & Cromwell.
Amal Clooney arrives at Doughty Street Chambers before a press conference in London
Working At the International Court Of Justice in The Hague
Following her time in New York, Clooney changed her focus to international law and moved to The Hague in the Netherlands. After completing a judicial clerkship, she worked in the Office of the Prosecutor during the Special Tribunal For Lebanon, which investigated the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri in 2005.
Clooney also participated in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which was established to try and prosecute those responsible for the horrific crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel receives Amal and George Clooney
Becoming the Star of International Human Rights Law in London
In 2010, Clooney was recruited by the prestigious law firm Doughty Street Chambers in London where she trained to become a barrister focusing on human rights. She participated in many high-profile cases including the representation of Canadian Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy who was imprisoned in Egypt, the repatriation attempt of ancient Greek sculptures by the Greek government and the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
Her place as the most famous human-rights lawyer was cemented during her speech at the United Nations in 2016.
“We know that thousands of Yazidi civilians have been killed and that thousands of Yazidi women have been enslaved by a terrorist organisation, IS, that has publicly proclaimed its genocidal intent,” Clooney said during her speech. “We know that systematic rapes have taken place, and that they are still taking place. And yet no one is being held to account. It is time that we see IS commanders in the dock in The Hague, and I am honoured to have been asked to represent Nadia and the Yazidi community in their quest for legal accountability.”
Amal Clooney out and about in New York
Using Her Fame to Support Communities around The World
Clooney has spoken out about the effects her newfound fame has had on her life and career. Rather than focus on the negative aspects, however, she has used her fame to draw attention to causes that are close to her heart.
“There is lots of my work that takes place behind closed doors that is not ever seen,” she told the BBC. “I think if there are more people who now understand what's happening about the Yazidis and ISIS, and if there can be some action that results from that, that can help those clients, then I think it's a really good thing to give that case the extra publicity that it may get.”
She co-founded the Clooney Foundation for Justice with her husband in 2016 in order to advance justice for victims of war, offer vulnerable children the chance for an education and support refugees struggling to find a safe place to call home. As a former refugee herself, Clooney’s work has come full circle as she fights to give victims of conflict the same opportunities that helped her become the successful lawyer she is today.
There she confirmed her representation if Yazidi genocide victims at the hands of the Islamic State, including Nobel Peace Prize nominee and survivor Nadia Murad.