International Law

Posted: June 9, 2008 in The Big Move

One would think that a person who decides to move his family 2,000 miles away, incur significant debt, and change the entire direction of his professional life would have a pretty good idea where he’s headed with it all. In my case, one would be wrong.

Not to say there hasn’t been significant thought devoted to “the big move.” Oh, has there been significant thought devoted. And not to say that I have ever wavered in regard to our decisions. From that special moment when Jody and I came to the simultaneous conclusion that law school was the path to travel to that equally special moment when we determined that the School of Law at Pepperdine University was THE place for us, I have felt confident that we were pursuing something good.

It’s exactly what I’m pursuing that has been the least bit elusive.

I have been confident for quite some time that I am going to Pepperdine because I am destined for a career in peacemaking. Pepperdine is the national leader in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (specializing in words like mediation, arbitration, and negotiation). I feel certain that this is my future.

But what form will that take? Mediating what?

I have explored many, many options, ranging from divorce and family to labor and employment law, from international peacemaking to intellectual property. And I’m still not sure. Yet, for once in this little journey, I’m feeling as if I might have a leaning, and that leaning is international law. Settling disputes – primarily, business – across national borders.

I have absolutely no international experience, and I speak no foreign languages. Nor do I have much business experience. In reality, this may not be the smartest goal for me to pursue. And yet, it maintains my interest, and I’m going to see where it leads.

Pepperdine’s School of Law has a good reputation in the field of international law, and sitting on the outskirts of Los Angeles, I will live in close proximity to the top firms in the world in this field. The possibilities are intriguing.

One of the unique opportunities offered at Pepperdine is an international study tour. Currently, there are two two-week tours offered by the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (which you can read about HERE): one to Beijing and Hong Kong, and the other to London and Geneva. Both sound simply fascinating.

I think love is the most important word in the world. Within that word, two other words are in many ways the guiding principles of my life: peace, and justice. Put another way, breaking down all the walls that divide us so that we may live together in harmony.

I’m fairly sure what intrigues me about international law is the attempt to go for broke in breaking down the biggest walls around.

  1. wjcsydney says:

    Hi Al

    I thought of Paul van Zyl ( when I read your post. I taught him English in 1986. My most famous pupil, I think.

  2. alsturgeon says:

    Very, very cool. See now, you’ve got to hook me up with these movers and shakers in the field!!!

    Or just get me a job in Australia. I wouldn’t complain about that! 🙂

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