“A wider view of the world”: Global Extern James Cox on his summer at Priti Suri and Associates in India

This is one in a series of posts by University of Georgia School of Law students, writing on their participation in our Global Governance Summer School or Global Externship Overseas initiative. Author of this post is James Cox, a member of the Class of 2019 who spent his 1L summer as a GEO, or Global Extern Overseas.

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My summer 2017 was filled with crowded streets, a warm environment, and challenging legal work. I worked at Priti Suri & Associates (PSA) in the heart of New Delhi, India, as part of the Global Externship Overseas (GEO) initiative. With my GEO, I killed two birds with one stone: I had my first legal job, and I saw India for the first time. I did not know what to expect from either, but I left India knowing much more about myself and what it means to be a lawyer in a global context. Being in India and working at PSA were invaluable experiences.

PSA is a full-service business law firm with clientele from around the globe. Despite being a relatively small firm with about fifteen lawyers, PSA has a wide reputation for excellence. During the course of the summer, I researched competition law and blockchain technologies, and learned a great deal about the Indian legal system. My biggest project was researching and drafting this newsletter, which discusses a recent competition law decision of the Indian Supreme Court.

Priti_SuriPriti Suri (left), the founder of PSA and a University of Georgia School of Law LL.M. graduate, personally supervised me in writing it. Priti is hands-down one of the most impressive lawyers I have ever met. She is smart and attentive to detail. She modeled what being a professional lawyer means. I appreciated her mentorship, and found she was always willing to talk to me about the law and the projects I was working on.

All of the lawyers at PSA made me feel welcome, but I most enjoyed my time working beside the two other interns, Nikhil and Oti. They are fifth-year law students at Hidayatullah National Law University. Their school is around a twenty-two-hour drive away, and they were both “in session” while interning at PSA full time. They both had significantly more experience than I did working in firms, and they were quick to share their experience with me. I will not soon forget taking the elevator down to the ground floor and grabbing sodas with Oti and Nikhil for a quick break. They were both quick to smile, and good coworkers.

file-3As Priti told me on more than one occasion, “India is not for the weak-hearted.” Living there was a difficult adjustment, in part because I stood out like a sore thumb as a tall white male in New Delhi. My fifteen-minute walk each day to and from the metro was the highlight of my time in India, but because I was so clearly foreign, strangers frequently approached me hoping I was a tourist they could refer back to a friend’s travel agency. Further, simple tasks became complex when every vendor, took-took driver, and businessman expected some bartering for each transaction. India seemed like it might be the easiest country in the world to get taken advantage of. However, these interactions speak to something I observed at the core of India.

Indians are overwhelmingly hard-working and determined. It is a place where everyone is trying to get ahead because they have to; I was struck by the disparity of wealth there. As a rather blunt example, I was told the richest man in India in Mumbai built his mansion literally above the slums. It can feel like the table is full before many even make it in the house in India.

file-2My externship at PSA confirmed my desire to be a lawyer. I saw thoughtful people work on difficult problems to help companies work effectively in an ever-expanding world. While it took some adjustment to be comfortable walking the streets of Paharganj, I was sad to leave India. I took one bite of the airplane pretzels, and already felt like I had made a huge mistake leaving the delicious Indian cooking behind. I will miss the warm smiles of people on the street and the friends I made over the summer. When I left India, I took home far more than my final review and certificate of internship. I took home a wider view of the world, a deeper understanding of why I want to be a lawyer, and many fond memories.

My only regret is not to have brought home a good recipe for Dal Makhani.

Georgia Law students sweeping the planet as Summer 2017 Global Externs

This summer, twenty law students will earn practice experience through our Global Externship initiative. Most will be GEOs, or Global Externs Overseas, while a couple are GEAs, or Global Externs At-Home. Some will complement this experience with participation in our Global Governance Summer School in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Administered by our Dean Rusk International Law Center, University of Georgia School of Law, the decades-old Global Externship enables Georgia Law students to gain practice experience via placements at law firms, in-house legal departments, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations around the world. Thanks to generous donations, virtually all Global Externs receive financial support from law school funds; a few receive funds from their placement. (Posts about last year’s Global Externs here and here.)

This year’s class of rising 2Ls and 3Ls will work in Africa, North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The class includes twelve students in business-law placements, in practice areas including intellectual property, finance, environment, and trade:

Taryn Arbeiter, U.S. Court of International Trade, New York, New York
► Casey Callahan – Buse Heberer Fromm, Frankfurt, Germany
► James Cox – PSA Legal, New Delhi, India
► Nicholas Duffey – GÖRG, Cologne, Germany
► Brian Griffin – PwC, Milan, Italy
► Karen Hays – Fererro, Luxembourg
► Matt Isihara – MV Kini, New Delhi, India
► George Ligon – PwC, Milan, Italy
► Nils Okeson – Maples Teesdale, London, England
► Matt Poletti – Araoz & Rueda, Madrid, Spain
► Nicholas Steinheimer – PSA Legal, New Delhi, India
► Ezra Thompson – Al Tamimi & Co., Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The remaining eight students will be in public interest law placements, working on issues such as international criminal law, international child law, and international human rights:

► Jeremy Akin – Research Assistant for Professor William A. Schabas, Middlesex University, London, England
► Lauren Brown – War Child, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
► Jennifer Cotton – Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack / Human Rights Watch, New York, New York
► Wade Herring – Open Society Justice Initiative, The Hague, The Netherlands
► Zack Lindsey – Women in Law and Development in Africa, Accra, Ghana
► Lyddy O’Brien – No Peace Without Justice, Brussels, Belgium
► Azurae Orie – Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack / Human Rights Watch, remote research from Athens, Georgia
►Rebecca Wackym – Legal Unit of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, Israel

Join us in congratulating them on their success and wishing them a great summer!

Distinguished India-based alumna, Priti Suri, earns prestigious ABA award

Delighted to congratulate of our our distinguished LL.M. alumnae, Priti Suri, recipient of one of the most prestigious American Bar Association awards. (photo credit)

The ABA Section of International Law bestowed its Mayre Rasmussen Award for the Advancement of Women in International Law upon Suri Wednesday, at a luncheon during the Section’s Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C. Regarding Suri’s award, the Section said:

“Priti’s role as a mentor and in opening doors for women and women lawyers in India make her the perfect candidate for the Mayre Rasmussen Award.”

In a LinkedIn post, Suri responded:

“I feel truly humbled, as the first Asian, to receive ABA’s Mayre Rasmussen career achievement award. To everyone who contributed – my incredible family, my friends, my co-workers, my teachers and to every single person who has been with me on this journey – a very big thank you. Miles and miles to go still….”

Suri is the founder-partner of PSA Legal Counsellors, an Indian business law firm with offices in New Delhi and Chennai. Its practice spans many industries, and includes cross-border M&A transactions, strategic investments, joint-ventures including tender and exchange offers, venture capital financings, structuring private equity deals, leveraged buyouts, and divestitures.

This week’s ABA honor comes not long after another: last October, Suri was named to the India Business Law Journal A-List of India’s top 100 lawyers.

Since earning her Master of Laws degree from in 1989, Suri has remained active in the University of Georgia School of Law community. She frequently welcomes Georgia Law students as part of our Global Externship Overseas, and she has been an officer of the LL.M. Alumni Association.

The ABA Rasmussen Award is named after “a pioneer in the field of international business law” who died in 1998, and is given

“to individuals who have achieved professional excellence in international law, encouraged women to engage in international law careers, enabled women lawyers to attain international law job positions from which they were excluded historically, or advanced opportunities for women in international law.”

Among the prior Rasmussen Award recipients is another member of our Georgia Law community, Associate Dean Diane Marie Amann.

Brava!

Global migration topic of 2-day AILA event our alumna’s helping organize

On behalf of a member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council, we’re pleased to announce an upcoming event:

The American Immigration Lawyers Association Global Migration Section  will host a conference entitled “Global Immigration in a Protectionist World” June 20-21, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Panel topics include: the future of immigration law from a global perspective, running a global practice, consular processing, European Union immigration directives in light of Brexit, cybersecurity, and global mobility options for LGBT clients.

Alumna and Council member Anita E. J. Ninan (above), who is Of Counsel at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Atlanta and Advocate, Bar Council of Delhi, India, serves on the conference committee for this group – which, she writes, is

“the global outbound immigration section of AILA and includes foreign attorneys and legal practitioners as its members.”

Registration (early bird rates end May 10) and further details here.

Center Council member Anita Ninan helps promote Georgia-India links

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Presenting Ninan with a Distinguish Speaker Award are, at left, Nanik Rupani, chair of the convention, and, at right, Dr. Lalit Kanodia, national president of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce

Among those working to strengthen ties between Georgia and India is Anita E. J. Ninan, a Georgia Law alumna and member of our Dean Rusk International Law Center Council.

Ninan (LL.M. 1991) is Of Counsel, International Business Practice, at Arnall Golden Gregory LLP in Atlanta, as well as an  Advocate before the Bar Council of Delhi, India. She serves on the Board of the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, or GIACC.

She joined a delegation of GIACC members who traveled in August to Mumbai to take part in the annual two-day conference of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, this year carrying the theme “Unleashing Indo-giaccU./S. economic synergy.” Ninan gave a presentation on foreign direct investment in Georgia. As quoted in a Global Atlanta article, Ninan explained:

“Indians mostly aren’t as aware of Atlanta and Georgia as they are of other places like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles so this was a good opportunity to let them know about our state’s advantages.”

Next on GIACC’s agenda: a “Bollywood Meets Georgia” film festival, set for April 2017 at Kennesaw State University.