PUBLISHED:November 10, 2021

LLM student chosen for fellowship with top international arbitration court


Alshaymaa Alharbi LLM'21 will work for one year as assistant legal counsel at the Permanent Court of Arbitration's international bureau in The Hague.

Alshaymaa Alharbi LLM’21 has been selected for a fellowship with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague, the Netherlands.                              Alshaymaa Alharbi

The year-long fellowship program is designed for recent law graduates and young legal professionals. According to the program website, recipients “gain experience in the operations of the PCA’s International Bureau, with an emphasis on both the practical and legal aspects of international arbitration.” Fellows are known as assistant legal counsel in their role.

“I am thrilled that I have received a fully funded post-graduation fellowship and excited to start a new experience,” Alharbi said. “I’m also incredibly grateful to the Al-Babtain Foundation for their generous grant and making this unique opportunity possible.”

Oleg Kobelev, associate dean of International Studies, said that the PCA is the oldest institution for international dispute resolution in the world and one of the most prestigious. It provides dispute resolution with the aid of multiple entities, including states, state organizations, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties.

“The Permanent Court of Arbitration is an extremely well-regarded tribunal,” he said. “My understanding is that Alshaymaa is the first LLM student and the first Saudi – and the first student from Duke in recent memory – who was offered an opportunity to work there as a fellow. In my 10 years of career advising experience, many students, both JD and LLM, expressed interest in the PCA.”

He added, “Alshaymaa has proven herself to be a natural leader, an outstanding student, and a warm and supportive classmate. We are very proud of her accomplishments and cannot wait to see the great things she will accomplish in her legal career after Duke.”

Jabrina Robinson, director of LLM career development and outreach, said that Alharbi “is known for her dedication, tireless hours in the Duke Law library, and giving 110 percent to everything she pursues. It is not a surprise that she was selected for this prestigious fellowship program.”

Robinson noted that Alharbi has “taken full advantage of her Duke Law experience” by extending her LLM program from two to three semesters so that she can take more courses and enjoy more in-person interactions with faculty, staff, and students. Alharbi will graduate in December 2021 and begin her fellowship in January.

Before starting at Duke Law in August 2020, Alharbi worked as legal counsel at Dr. Mohammed Al-Muhanna and Partners in Saudi Arabia. She graduated from Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh in 2015. While completing her studies, she also started a nonprofit organization to provide free legal assistance to indigent clients. The nonprofit, called Support Your Sibling, was the first program of its kind in the country. It now has nearly 500 volunteers and four advisory committees.

While at Duke, Alharbi has worked on the Duke Law Journal and volunteered in the Community Enterprise Clinic. She has also worked as a teaching assistant at the Summer Institute on Law, Language, and Culture (SILLC) and a private equity extern at DUMAC. After graduation, Alharbi would like to become an arbitrator, so the fellowship at the PCA should provide valuable experience.

“I am excited to move on to the next step in my career and gain experience in the operations of the PCA’s International Bureau, with an emphasis on both the practical and legal aspects of international arbitration,” Alharbi said. “I am looking forward to continuing my journey in dispute resolution by working in the oldest international dispute settlement institution in the world.”