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COMMITTEE SPOTLIGHT: Think expansively, International Law and Organizations Committee Chair urges

NEW BRUNSWICK – For more than two decades, Catherine van Kampen has been committed to pro bono service in underserved communities and championing social justice, particularly for immigrant and refugee women and their children, which has helped her personally and professionally in allowing her to do work outside of her traditional duties. As chair of the International Law and Organizations Committee, she aims to help attorneys broaden their horizons, especially those who don’t have international experience. Events like the upcoming Annual International Law Conference on the Status of Women, held in New York City on March 8 and co-sponsored by the New Jersey State Bar Association, are great opportunities for attorneys to think more broadly, van Kampen said. She gave an interview with the NJSBA recently on the upcoming program, New Jersey’s role in international law and her plans as a committee chair.
What kind of law do you practice and where?
I work in securities fraud at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP in New York City. I manage large settlements recovered by the firm. I ensure the proceeds of these settlements are returned to the people and institutions from whom the funds were stolen. I have extensive experience in complex litigation and litigation management, having overseen attorney teams in many of the firm’s most high-profile cases during the latest financial crisis. 
Why did you join the International Law and Organizations Special Committee?
I have always been interested in international law. As I am fluent in Dutch, I have been involved in cross-border litigation and worked as a foreign-language attorney on cases involving corporations from Belgium and the Netherlands. This committee aligns with my interests both commercially and from the human rights perspective, as I also do a significant amount of pro bono work for refugees, immigrants and victims of international terrorism.
As chair, what are your plans for the International Law and Organizations Special Committee in the coming year?
This year I have focused on the rights of refugee and immigrant women and children under international law, the cyber exploitation of women and children by global social media companies and the online explosion of hate and anti-Semitism against religious, ethnic and racial minorities. I firmly believe online hate in the digital and virtual realms translates to violence in the real world. Sadly, you will find proof of this in many corners of society. We need to pay more attention to these developments and ask our government representatives to do the same.
What do you envision for the future of the International Law and Organizations Special Committee?
I would love to have more NJSBA members join the committee, especially young lawyers and law students so they can have the opportunity to become engaged in the larger world.
Why is New Jersey an exciting place to practice international law?
New Jersey is an important state in many respects for international business and international law. From maritime and aviation law to big Pharma and finance, New Jersey is an incredibly important state from an international law perspective. Plus, New Jersey is close to New York City and has a very diverse population with an international background. These are all positives for New Jersey.
Talk about the upcoming International Law Conference. What is the focus?
The conference will commemorate International Women’s Day and the International Day of Women Judges and will be held in conjunction with the United Nations’ 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The objective of the conference is to have critical conversations about the status of women and girls around the world, with a focus on how laws and policies have contributed, for better and for worse, to their current status.

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