October 27, 2014 12:00 PM

Amal Clooney gets things done. A little more than two weeks after her Sept. 27 wedding to a certain Oscar-winning actor, she was back to business, matter-of-factly using her brand-new last name. Arriving in Athens on Oct. 13, the jet-setting international attorney was set to meet with Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras in an effort to mediate one of the world’s biggest cultural-property disputes. While her other half, George Clooney, also returned to work, promoting his upcoming sci-fi adventure Tomorrowland at New York Comic Con on Oct. 9, Amal was tackling a complex legal case involving priceless Greek sculptures dating back more than 2,000 years and a centuries-old fight between Britain and Greece over ownership. In other words, just another day at the office for the fiercely smart and ambitious newlywed, who coolly navigated princess-level pandemonium when she touched down in Greece. “She is calm, highly intelligent and extremely dedicated,” a colleague tells PEOPLE. “This case shows she is going to be her own woman. Her career is continuing as it was before this minor interruption.”

That “interruption” was anything but minor: Weeks later guests are still raving about—and recovering from—the four-day wedding extravaganza in Venice in which George, 53, and Amal, 36, became Mr. and Mrs. Clooney. “The whole experience was incredible,” says London hairstylist Max Coles, whose handiwork during the festivities transformed Amal’s every runway-worthy look into a mane event. “It was the epitome of a fairy-tale wedding.” Adds a family member who attended the celebrations: “It was out of this world. From our first arrival to our day of departure, nothing was missing. Everyone felt incredibly pampered.”

To be sure, Amal’s lifestyle has changed a smidgen or two from her bachelorette flat in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood. Clooney has doted on his “lovely bride,” as he has called her, at his estate on Lake Como and around the world during their yearlong courtship. During the couple’s 10-day honeymoon, the British press began buzzing that they may have purchased a Georgian estate on the River Thames recently on the market for $12 million. (Clooney’s rep has not commented.) What’s clear to those closest to them is how happy they are together, wherever they are. “My favorite part of the wedding,” Clooney’s good friend Bill Murray told PEOPLE, “was that those two people found each other in life.”

Inhabiting the spotlight with such easy grace—and a style so on-point she makes fashion editors weep—the former Amal Alamuddin emerged from the glamorous affair not just as a breathtaking bride but as a new star in her own right. “It is like she just walked into the role,” says William Schabas, a law professor at Middlesex University in London who knows Amal professionally. “She looks like she has been doing this all her life. It is quite extraordinary.”

And she has left no doubt as to how she plans to harness her place in the spotlight. Most recently she has advocated for victims of sexual violence in conflict through her work with UNICEF. Her latest case, which involves the Parthenon marbles (often referred to as the Elgin marbles, classical sculptures taken from Greece to Britain in the early 1800s), “is very difficult and shows that she is not shying away from controversy,” says a legal source.

Then again, “shy” is not a word anyone who knows Amal would use to describe her. Rather, “she’s supremely self-confident,” says Schabas. “Some barristers in her field are very low-key; others engage in high-profile campaigns with some public advocacy,” he says. “I sense that in her new activity around the Parthenon marbles, she is aspiring to that role. Like Lady Diana, she’ll be asked to promote the great causes. And her husband is on the same wavelength.”

Yes, she is married to one of the world’s biggest movie stars, but in legal circles, she’s the real headliner. “Fame has not turned her head,” says her colleague. “Mr. Clooney’s money has not caused her to slack. She is picking up where the honeymoon temporarily left off. She is back with a vengeance.”

The dedication comes as no surprise to those who have watched her rocket up the ranks—and is one of the reasons Clooney fell hard and fast for her, friends say. But beyond her intellect, the Beirut-born, London-raised Oxford grad is hardly the buttoned-up barrister that her pedigree might suggest. “She has a devastating sense of humor,” says a close family member. The younger daughter of Ramzi Alamuddin, a retired businessman, and Baria, an editor at Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat (see box), “she speaks three languages, and, like many Lebanese, it’s a mix of Arabic, English and French,” says the relative. “Sometimes all three in the same sentence!” Growing up, the young Amal came by her style naturally. “She has always had it, since she was a teenager,” says the family member. “She was always very elegant.”

Of course, that style has evolved over the years, culminating in the picture-perfect Oscar de la Renta wedding look she wore to walk down the aisle. “I’ve never seen a more elegant wedding dress,” says the relative. “So glamorous. And she becomes more glamorous each day. That is Amal’s elegance. It comes from within. She projects her feelings, and you could see on her face that she was happier each day [of the wedding celebration]. I think it showed on George as well.”

And the wedding afterglow is still going strong. At the event for Tomorrowland, Clooney “seemed very relaxed,” says a colleague, “and very happy.”

The ease with which the star has transitioned from longtime bachelor to married man has many wondering if another new chapter could be next. Although Amal has always been very career-focused, “I’m sure she wants children,” says the family member, adding that she is close with her sister Tala’s children—including niece Mia, 12, and 6- year-old twin nephews Jad and Sari—and the sons of her half brother Ziad. “She’s a doting, pampering aunt,” says the relative. “She has a loving heart.”

For now, though, the newlyweds are plenty busy. It’s likely they’ll call multiple locales home—including L.A., London and Lake Como—while furthering their work on various projects. George is producing the upcoming comedy-drama Our Brand Is Crisis, starring Sandra Bullock, and Amal continues to tackle tough cases like the one in Greece. “It is still early in her career, and she has already done some great things,” says Schabas. “She understands that she has the potential to go right to the top of everything.”

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