Student Profile: Harnelle St. Cloud, Class of 2023

Harnelle St. Cloud applied to 16 law schools to accomplish her career goal of practicing international law. She chose Vanderbilt because of its strong International Legal Studies Program. “The school’s International Legal Studies Program played a big part in my decision to attend VLS,” she said.

Harnelle St. Cloud, Class of 2023
Helen Strong Curry International Legal Studies Scholar

Harnelle spent her childhood in Haiti and attended high school in the U.S. before earning her B.S. in political science at Kennesaw State University. Before applying to law school, she confirmed her interest in a legal career by working as a paralegal in New York and Atlanta and spent four months interning at the United Nations in New York.  “My time at the United Nations solidified my desire to practice international law and understand how human rights and international law intersect to strengthen human rights standards,” she said. “When I looked at law schools, I found that Vanderbilt has one of the top international law faculties in the country, and the professors here are highly respected in their fields.”

As the Helen Strong Curry International Legal Studies Scholar for the Class of 2023, Harnelle had an opportunity to attend the Vanderbilt in Venice Program, which she considers one of her best law school experiences. “Professor Newton went out of his way to make the program an engaging and memorable learning experience, and it was an opportunity to build relationships with other students interested in international law,” she said.

During summer 2021 she worked as an appellate intern in the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office. As a 2L, Harnelle gained substantive legal experience in the Immigration Practice Clinic taught by Professor Karla McKanders and worked as a research assistant for Professor Tracey George on a Freedom of Information Act litigation project. “The faculty at Vanderbilt Law is nothing short of exceptional,” she said. “Professors here are committed to your professional development and invested in your success.”

Harnelle is also active in several student organizations. She is currently serving as president of the International Law Society and as the academic excellence chair for the Black Law Students Association. “BLSA has given me the opportunity to connect with students who understand what it’s like to navigate law school as a person of color,” she said. “And I was thrilled to be able to shape this year’s program offerings for the the International Law Society and use my position to increase awareness of global events and international legal issues.”

Harnelle will spend her summer 2022 at Dechert in New York City, where she will work in their litigation practice group. ”This fall, I’ll step into the role of treasurer for BLSA, and plan  on taking Professor Newton’s International Law Practice Lab[I am taking the lab in the fall],”  she said. “I look forward to my remaining time at VLS!.”