While walking inside the UN to deliver a passionate address persuading member states to take appropriate legal action to stop ISIS, Amal Clooney was photographed by the paparazzi. It didn't take long before the photos popped up online, but instead of seeing headlines accompanying the photos in praise of her speech, the attention was aimed primarily at her baby bump. Like Tina Fey did at the Golden Globes in 2015, many came to Amal's defense by citing her extensive list of impressive accomplishments as a way of saying, hey, there's a lot more to her than simply a pregnant stomach.
Since 2010, the 39-year-old barrister has worked for Doughty Street Chambers, where she's specialised in international criminal law, public international law, and human rights. Before that, she spent time as a defence attorney for one of the world's most well-respected law firms, Sullivan & Cromwell, in New York. We could go on and on about all of the incredible things Amal has done throughout her career, but in the interest of time, here's her highlight reel:
- Amal Clooney, Human Rights Warrior: Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko found herself embroiled in a terrifying political scandal in 2010 when she was arrested and accused of a number of crimes. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the EU, EU member states, the United States, Russia, and Canada all voiced their concern that the accusations against Yulia were politically motivated. She proceeded to be illegally detained in the Ukraine for a number of years, which included hunger strikes and left her briefly wheelchair-bound with severe back problems. Amal and the rest of Yulia's legal team claimed that the "Judicial system and justice are totally non-existent in Ukraine today," and succeeded in obtaining Yulia's release on Feb. 22, 2014.
- Amal Clooney, Protector of Journalists Everywhere: In 2013 Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, an Egyptian-born Canadian award-winning journalist serving as Al Jazeera English's International Bureau Chief in Egypt, was arrested by Egyptian authorities along with two of his colleagues for broadcasting "false news." He was found guilty and sentenced to seven years at a maximum security prison in Cairo after an unfair trial, which began the long, drawn-out legal battle to win back his freedom. Despite a journey that included a controversial sentencing from a retrial judge, Amal worked tirelessly representing Mohamed until his eventual release and pardon in September 2015.
- Amal Clooney, Advocate For Victims of Sexual Violence: Amal spent a few months working closely with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in an effort to spotlight the sexual violence that occurs in war-torn countries. While attending a meeting with UNICEF UK campaigners in May 2014, she spoke eloquently about the necessity for intervention. "Under international law, the widespread or systematic rape of children in conflict zones can amount to a crime against humanity," she said. "Those who carry out these horrific acts must be held accountable . . . We need to ensure there are systems in place that will enable child survivors to come forward and access the justice they deserve."
- Amal Clooney, Crusader Against ISIS: Amal is using her newfound fame to hold the Islamic State accountable for the sexual enslavement and trafficking of thousands of girls and women they've perpetrated. She's specifically representing human-trafficking survivor Nadia Murad, and told BBC News at Six's Fiona Bruce that her celebrity status is actually helping. "There's a lot of my work that takes place behind closed doors that is not ever seen," she said. "I think if there are more people who now understand what's happening about the Yazidis and ISIS, and if there can be some action that results from that, that can help those clients, then I think it's a really good thing to give that case the extra publicity that it may get."
- Amal Clooney, Trusted Adviser to Kofi Annan: Before the horrific war raging in Syria escalated to what it is now, UN envoy Kofi Annan held a conference in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the fighting in Damascus. The former UN Secretary General hand-picked Amal for his team.
- Amal Clooney, Noted Philanthropist: George and Amal started the Clooney Foundation for Justice in late 2016 as a way to fight "for the rights of individuals unfairly targeted by oppressive governments through the courts." Through their efforts, the Clooneys hope to not only find justice for victims of war, but also provide educational opportunities for vulnerable children and refugees trying to rebuild their lives. Amal herself is a refugee — she and her family fled Lebanon in the late 1970s to escape a brutal civil war — so the organisation no doubt hits close to home.