[the panel]

Today's Blogtember prompt is to write about a distinct moment when your life took a turn.

There are so many moments I can talk about here. Honestly I'm having a hard time choosing just one moment. My life has taken so many twists & turns over the years that it's hard to narrow it down.

There's one moment I don't talk about much, mostly because it seemed so small & insignificant at the time.

While in law school, I became heavily involved in the International Law Society. It didn't start that way though. My first year I was fairly inactive, mostly just attending the study abroad meetings and one or two in between if I felt like it. The people I was friends with at the time weren't interested in international law so I didn't feel like I should be either. So I wasn't.

Then second year rolled around and I found myself spending more time with a friend who was heavily involved in ILS. We'd actually met on the first day of orientation and immediately struck up a friendship over studying abroad and all things international. First year all our classes were chosen for us and we ended up in different sections, meaning that we almost never saw each other. However, during our second year we got to select our own courses. As a result, we ended up in many of the same classes. Eventually she convinced me to get more involved in ILS.

That year I found myself listening to a career panel on different options for those interested in international law.

At that time I wasn't really aware of the range of options available in the field. Instead, I thought that you could only really work for a large international governmental body like the UN, or at a law firm that practice international law as an "international attorney." I didn't know what that was, but I had heard of it. I thought those were my only options and though interesting, neither truly spoke to me.

But sitting in that panel, my eyes were opened.

There was a gentleman there, the father of a classmate, who worked in a law firm handling contracts. It sounded so...mundane. Then he told us more about his work. It turns out, his clients included major multinational corporations. And when those major multinational clients wanted to negotiate and sign a contract for project in France they flew to France.

Most importantly, they brought their attorney with them.

He told stories of dicey situations in Africa, meetings with Arab oil magnates, and last minute trips to Paris.

I was hooked.

Suddenly my options weren't so limited.

Sitting there I realized that the options were actually limitless; almost any path can have international components to it. I wasn't limited to the firms that hired mostly Ivy Leaguers or the UN.

There are times when that world of opportunity overwhelms me. With so many options out there, how on earth do I know which one is right for me?

The truth is that I'm still not 100% sure. I know what I'm good at though. I'm good with contracts. I'm good in a business setting. I'm good with people. I'm good with analysis and documents. I don't know what that adds up to. But thanks to that 15 minutes of career panel, I know I can make it add up to something international.

In fact I already have once before.

The summer after my second year of law school I worked in the legal department of massive company headquartered in Seoul, South Korea.

I worked in their home office. I worked, and lived, in Seoul.

Before that career panel I never would have thought that would have been an option. But that's one of the things the panelist mentioned: think outside the box when it comes to international law careers. Work in the office of a US (or other) company overseas. Work in a US law firm that has offices in other countries.

So that's exactly what I did. I bypassed the traditional law firm job and instead relocated, albeit briefly, to Seoul.

That panel continues to influence my life today, from the jobs I apply and interview for, to the way I consider my future. The process of approaching my career path differently has prompted me to start approaching other aspects of my life differently as well.

This story is still unfolding everyday. I'm excited to see where it leads me in the future if it's already lead me to Seoul.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. Although I am not studying law (I am an MBA student in my last semester, which I started after serving 6 years as an Arabic linguist/translator in the Air Force), I can relate to the love of all things international, and to the feeling of not being 100% sure what you want to do, other than something with an international element. It is nice to know I am not alone. You are an excellent writer. Following you back on Bloglovin'. I can see this blog becoming one of my most-read. :)