Al-Naemi, a member of the first team from the University of Qatar to compete in the Willem C. Vis Moot Court Competition in 2011, chose Duke Law for the Intellectual Property program.
1. Where is home? What is it famous for?
Home is the (sometimes too) sunny Qatar; a gulf country tiny in size, but not in impact. Judging by all the requests for “jars of black gold”, it’s safe to say that it’s famous for that, even though our main export is natural gas. Recently, however, Qatar got major exposure as the host of the upcoming 2022 World Cup as well as its humanitarian efforts, mainly in Lebanon, Libya and Syria.
2. What do you like most about Duke so far?
The moment I first realized I’d like this place was when we were being handed our Orientation Week packets and Ms. Suzanne Brown recognized us all and called each one by name. It made me feel like I was going to be valued and surrounded by people who care about us beyond pure academics. I like the gorgeous campus, the huge course offering and, most importantly, my LLM classmates. It’s amazing to be able to care for so many people in such a short time. I already know I’ve made some life-long friends.
3. What is your plan after graduation? How do you think the LLM will help with your career?
I’m currently a teaching assistant at Qatar University College of Law. I plan to continue doing that after graduation. Not only will the LLM help advance my career in academia, but it’s also exposing me to different styles of teaching and academic life, which will help me figure out the way I want to approach my own. IP is a new, fresh field in Qatar and it would be very interesting to practice and be one of a select few. On a personal level, and having been a perpetual student so far, my German lessons have been stalled more than once, so I’m hoping I’d finally be able to spare the time to do it properly.
4. What advice would you give to international students hoping to study in American law schools?
I wouldn’t say it’s so much advice as things I’ve learned in the past few months:
- It’s not a walk in the park and as soon as you get your head around that, you’re more likely to be just fine;
- Just because it’s “open book” and “unblocked” doesn’t mean it’s easier;
- No matter how “bad” and “fresh” they are, everyone ends up pulling a 12-hour shift at the library at least once. Nerds surround you. You are one of them. Accept it;
- LLM students come from all over the world. Literally. It can take some time to warm up to people but, soon enough, everyone ends up being a big weird family; and
- Peopleofwalmart.com is real life.
5. You were a member of the first team from the University of Qatar to compete in the Willem C. Vis Moot Court Competition in 2011. How do you think that experience prepared you for your LLM program at Duke?
It taught me that it doesn’t matter what other people are doing. I already knew that group work can be a nightmare, but if someone is slacking and not taking their work seriously, it doesn’t mean that it’s okay for me to do that as well. It also taught me that I should believe in myself a bit more because I can be kinda awesome sometimes and I should own that. Hard work and confidence are especially important when you’re at a top law school with top students. The main thing I learned at Vis Moot, however, is that it’s important to enjoy what you’re doing in order to do it well. While the LLM program is demanding, it’s difficult to appreciate the experience without a change of pace every once in a while. An episode (or three) of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo never hurt nobody.