“It is an Opportunity for Young Lawyers to Gain Insight into the World of Human Rights Law”

Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

Four years ago, we launched the Gerald Nagler Human Rights Traineeship for lawyers at the beginning of their careers. The traineeship takes place at the headquarters of Civil Rights Defenders in Stockholm and provides a professional experience for future work with human rights. Here you can read more about this year’s trainee – Anna Zotééva.

Why did you apply for the traineeship?

During my studies, I worked with the law as a tool and wanted to continue on that path. As both a Russian and Swedish lawyer I was particularly interested in Civil Rights Defenders as it is an important advocate for human rights both in Sweden and internationally.

What are your main tasks as a trainee? 

My work is multifaceted and covers many areas of law. I work a lot on individual cases, for example on discrimination, whistleblowers, and basic procedural guarantees/safeguards, such as access to judicial review. I am also involved in a research project on evidentiary issues in relation to the rights of people accused of crimes, where I got to interview judges, prosecutors, and lawyers and write a report on what the legal situation in Sweden looks like. I also provide advice to individuals and do legal investigations in collaboration with the department’s Legal Director and expert lawyers.

In addition, I am responsible for organising and implementing the Nordics’ first Rule of Law Forum, an event where lawyers from the Nordics and the Balkans will gather with the aim of increasing their knowledge of rights jurisprudence and the challenges associated with it.

Why have you decided to focus on human rights in your work? 

It is the most enjoyable job a lawyer can have. We shed light on structural societal problems through the legal cases that we pursue, while at the same time helping individuals assert their rights against stronger actors such as the state or employers. I work in the area between law and politics and therefore have the opportunity to influence the development of society with my knowledge. In addition, I come into contact with a variety of legal areas and therefore develop quickly as a lawyer.

What can the Gerald Nagler Human Rights Traineeship mean in terms of opportunities in the future? 

It is one of the few opportunities for young lawyers to start working with human rights law early in their professional careers. During this period, I have learned a lot about what it is like to work at a non-profit organisation, but I’ve also come into contact with lawyers who work in government or law firms, which is why I now have a better overview of different workplaces for lawyers. The work as a trainee is a valuable qualification that opens doors to work at non-profit and international organisations and is assessed as qualified legal work by the Swedish National Courts Administration when, for example, applying for a notary position.

What would you like to do after the traineeship? 

I want to continue working with rights issues. I find rule of law and procedural guarantees or safeguards to be particularly exciting areas.

Anna Zotééva

Anna has a law degree in both Sweden and Russia. During her studies in Sweden, she started working with the rights of people with disabilities through the project “The law as a tool” which was run by the Independent Living Institute. Anna was also an intern at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, where she analysed the political and constitutional development in Russia. During the fall of 2019, Anna was an intern at Civil Rights Defenders and started her traineeship in January 2020.

The Gerald Nagler Human Rights Traineeship 

Gerald Nagler

The programme, which has been made possible through the support of Civil Rights Defenders’ founder and honorary chair Gerald Nagler, is aimed at lawyers at the beginning of their careers. The applicants should have a documented interest in human rights work, as well as relevant work experience. The programme contributes to increasing the number of Sweden-based lawyers who engage in human rights work. In the long run, the programme contributes to a higher level of knowledge about human rights related issues among lawyers working in different sectors. The traineeship is a full-time position and runs for a year at a time. 

“To engage young and educated lawyers who want to devote themselves to human rights is important. It is our privilege to award scholarships through the Gerald and Monica Nagler Foundation in order to strengthen Civil Rights Defenders’ important human rights work”, said Gerald Nagler.

The recruitment is conducted in collaboration with the leadership consultancy company Pelago AB. The company offers their services pro bono in order to help find future human rights lawyers and give the applicants important experience for future recruitment processes.  

Would you like to apply for the traineeship? 

Read more here. Please note that the traineeship requires you to be able to speak and write Swedish fluently. 

Read more about the previous trainees 

Anna Zotééva is the sixth trainee who has been part of the Gerald Nagler Human Rights Traineeship programme. Read more about the previous trainees below: 

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