International law provides powerful tools for ending wars, writing
constitutions and prosecuting war criminals, tools that are often
outside the reach of those who need them most—warring parties
or embattled countries emerging from years of protracted conflict.
Leaving the State Department after working on some
of the toughest legal challenges of the early s, attorney Paul
Williams was determined to see that such parties had access
to the highest quality legal advice available, and for free.
Together with a former State Department colleague who shared
his passion for the rule of law, Williams founded the Public
International Law and Policy Group (PILPG), a global
pro-bono law firm that marshals the services of some volunteer
lawyers from major international law firms, and deploys
them around the globe. In February, Ploughshares Fund
made its third grant to PILPG for its Peace Fellows program,
which enables outstanding young international lawyers to provide
these services. Paul Williams spoke with Ploughshares Fund’s
Deborah Bain from his office at the American University
in Washington DC, where he holds the Rebecca Grazier
Professorship in Law and International Relations.