Dec 1, 2016

The founding principle of all the activities of Zdenek and Michaela Bakala is, truly, the courage, which must, according to their belief, always go hand in hand with responsibility.
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Alexander Sorton - report

SWISS UNIVERSITY

University of Geneva

SCHOLARSHIP DESTINATION

Duke University, North Carolina, USA

FIELD OF STUDY / DEGREE PROGRAMME

LL.M. (Master of Laws), with certificate in Business Law

HIGHLIGHTS OF EXPERIENCE

North Carolina being a heavily coveted State by both Republicans and Democrats, it was amazing to have a firsthand experience of the American Presidential Election process, especially in such contentious times, and in the company of such learned friends, teachers and classmates.

My time here offered great insight into the values and history of the United States, deepening my understanding of the vision of the Founding Fathers (Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Franklin…) and the importance of the Great Industrialists (Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, J.P.Morgan, Ford…), of their sometimes opposing ideals, and how these individuals intentionally or unintentionally shaped the laws of modern-day America. This dive into the country's past explained so much of its present, both economically, socially, and politically.

Politics apart, I really enjoyed discovering the North American East-Coast, the history-infused Washington D.C., the Southern charm of Charleston and Savannah, the proud French influence in Montreal, the rush of New York, and the most-welcoming laid back tranquility of North Carolina.

Finally, if I had to choose one particularly memorable event, it would be Thanksgiving 2016, hosted by fellow students (one from the Netherlands and the other from Belgium) in our LL.M. Dean's beautiful home. Surrounded by friends from all Continents, my girlfriend having come to visit, it once more reminded me of all I have to be thankful for.

LESSONS LEARNED

I learnt to think and write like an American law student, both in form and in substance. I pursued my main interest in Business Law by taking classes on Business Associations, M&A, In-House Counsel, Corporate Governance, and sought to take on more horizon-broadening US-specific classes such as American Legal Ethics, American-style Legal Writing and Research, American-style Evidence, and finally I made a curiosity based choice in taking Copyright Law.

Academics apart, I believe the true lessons of this year have been personal and social. Being part of a team of 94 LL.M. students from over 40 different countries was a real ‘’international’’ experience. Learning to understand and adapt to each others cultural differences, whether it comes to punctuality, partying, giving feedback, sharing meals, was truly invaluable and the most memorable part of my year in the United States. It seems to be a lesson never fully learnt and this makes me want to know more about the history, culture and lifestyle of so many places around the world. The lesson learnt is that there truly is no end to learning but we must act on the knowledge we have acquired.

FUTURE PLANS

1I am currently studying towards the New York Bar Exam which will be held end of July 2017. The day after the final exams, I will be flying back to Geneva and then going straight to the South of France to act as Best Man for one of my old friends. Thereafter, I hope to accomplish an internship as part of the compulsory 18-month long legal-trainee internship leading to the Geneva Bar Exam. Thereafter, I aim to work in the general field of International Business Law, whilst actively participating in Genevese social and political life.

COMMENTS

I have learnt much during my time here and I believe there is much more that I have discovered but will only become apparent to me as time goes by. I have furthermore made many meaningful friendships with great lawyers, teachers and students from around the world, all passionate about different fields of law and knowledge, and look forward to continuously learning from these friends in the future.

Thank you once again for having helped me accomplish my objectives, it truly would not have been possible without your support. I hope one day to be able to pass it on to the next generation of young scholars.


© Fondation Zdenek et Michaela Bakala