In my teenage years, I was deeply entrenched in the world of international affairs and global politics. I spent at least a quarter of my high school junior-year study hall hours, a time reserved for students to study for their looming Advanced Placement tests, delving into the issues troubling southeast Asia. This blooming interest in international affairs ultimately inspired me to transplant myself to Scotland for my first year of undergraduate school. There in Scotland, I spent hours sitting in cafes discussing how my friend’s experience in Guizhou shaped his thoughts on international relations. Another friend relayed to me her thoughts on Indian foreign policy after she spent her childhood in Delhi.
An eventual return to Virginia (and, in fact, to William & Mary) to finish my undergraduate degree did not extinguish my interest in global affairs. I happily joined the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations and worked to study the scholarship of International Relations, particularly focusing on east Asia. During my final undergraduate year at William & Mary, I stumbled upon a course for International Law. It sounded right up my alley. I was unaware at that time that the International Law course would catapult me into pursuing law as a career.
Then, my postgraduate jobs landed me solely in the world of corporate law. The time I spent thinking about foreign affairs and policy was easily crowded out by a focus on securities and mergers and acquisitions. I had hoped, with my eyes set on law school, that I would again have time to rediscover how international relations and the law interact.
Cue this summer. For ten weeks, I have the pleasure of working with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and focusing on their Asia and Pacific division. Researching the adoption of jury trials and anti-money laundering laws in southeast Asia feels distantly reminiscent of my days spent in junior year study hall. I get to observe and learn how legal communities look to and interact with one another and strive to institute greater equity and efficiency into their own legal systems. At last, I have that front row seat to the crossroads of two worlds I have only known separately.