Florian Knerr LL.M. ’14 To Clerk for International Court of Justice

Lawyer From Germany Says Clerkship a Dream Come True
Florian Knerr

Florian Knerr LL.M. ’14 of Germany has earned the Law School's World Court Fellowship.

April 17, 2018

Florian Knerr, a 2014 LL.M. graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, will clerk at the International Court of Justice, the primary judicial branch of the United Nations, in the upcoming year.

He will take part in the International Court of Justice University Traineeship Program as a UVA Law World Court Fellow. The award comes with a $55,000 stipend to assist with travel and living expenses.

“I feel that the ICJ fellowship will be the highlight of my academic career,” Knerr said.

He will clerk for Judge Nawaf Salam of Lebanon starting in September at The Hague, Netherlands.

Knerr, who grew up near Zweibrücken, Germany, studied law in Munich from 2005 to 2011 and passed his first state exam there.

He came to UVA Law in 2013 and took classes primarily in international law, legal theory and legal philosophy. He took advantage of the school’s partnership with the neighboring U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, which allows some UVA students into classes designed for military lawyers seeking LL.M.s.

“Taking classes at the JAG School was particularly interesting for me, since I got to discuss international humanitarian law with people who had actual combat experience,” he said.

Knerr said working with UVA Law’s Philip C. Jessup International Moot Court Team as a student and coach provided him with skills, such as arguing in the field of international law and politics, that helped him on the path to his clerkship.

“I have always been interested in litigation in public international law, partly because of my extensive experience in the Jessup moot court,” he said. “Working at the real court in The Hague has been a dream for me ever since I started studying international law.”

After graduating from the Law School, Knerr worked at the Institute of International Law at the University of Munich as a research assistant. From 2016 on, he served a two-year clerkship that will end with the second state exam.

Following the ICJ fellowship, Knerr aspires to become a judge in Germany.

“I think that UVA Law challenged me to think deeper about the law,” he said. “I feel like that was a perfect addition to my German legal education, where it’s more about structure and detail.”

Knerr added, “I have to say that I had some of the best teachers of my life at UVA Law.”

Past UVA Law fellows at the World Court include Gulardi Nurbintoro LL.M. '14, Subarkah Syafruddin LL.M. '16, Karen Janssens LL.M. '14, Antonios Antonopoulos LL.M. '11, Caitlin Stapleton '09 and Annalise Nelson '07.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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