Recent TU Law Graduate Pursues LL.M. in London
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Ben Lambert (JD ’10) has had an interest in all things international since middle school, when his love for history helped develop that interest. He gained more exposure to international subjects while majoring in history and Spanish in undergraduate school.
He was able to foster these interests while earning his law degree and certificate in comparative and international law at The University of Tulsa. During his time at TU, he worked and studied in Ghana, Argentina, and London. So it is no surprise that he is now pursuing an LL.M. in Commercial and Corporate Law at Queen Mary University of London. Quite a turn of events for someone from Washburn, Missouri, which has a population of about 500 people.
After spending his last semester of law school in a study abroad program in London, Lambert knew he wanted to come back.
“I love London,” Lambert said. “It is amazing. To quote Samuel Johnson, ‘When a man tires of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’ London has a long and rich history, and you can definitely feel it in the atmosphere, but it is also modern and forward thinking at the same time. Just about anything you can think of doing can be done here in London. Plus, QMUL’s Center for Commercial Law Studies is one of the most respected programs in the world. With the U.S. perspective under my belt, it just made sense to get the UK/EU perspective.”
At TU, Lambert knew he wanted to practice international commercial and corporate law. His father and other family members have owned a series of small businesses, which gave him an insider’s insight to business.
“I understand business people – their needs and how to work with them,” Lambert said. “I would love to work for a multinational corporation, or for a law firm that deals with international business clients. Hopefully, in the next few years I’ll be actively practicing in the area, dealing with those types of clients, and, if I’m lucky, doing it from an office somewhere in Europe.”
Currently, Lambert is working as one of the editors on a series of country-by-country guides to legal ethics and rules of professional conduct, grouped by region. It is a project of the U.S. Lawyers Practicing Abroad Committee of the American Bar Association’s International Law section.
In the summer of 2008, Lambert was a law clerk for Unidos por la Justicia in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He conducted comparative legal systems research and assisted on projects dealing with access to justice issues throughout Argentina and Latin America, as well as issues related to human rights violations arising from the military junta government of the 1970s and ’80s. In December 2008, he served as an election observer with the Carter Center to aid in the continuance of a peaceful democratic state and compliance with international human rights obligations.
“In Argentina, it was amazing to see how willing people at all levels of the justice system were to make the courts, judges, and lawyers more user-friendly for the average citizen and help increase the public’s confidence in the system,” Lambert said. “With respect to Ghana, I still can’t believe I actually got to do that. Participating in the observations and working with people such as former prime ministers and presidents gave me a chance to see how the treaties and international principles I had been studying at TU were really applied on the ground. Visiting these places and meeting these people have made me realize how much those of us from the 'western' countries take for granted.”
Lambert’s core group of friends in the LL.M. program is made up of people from Mexico, Brazil, the United States, Russia, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Thailand, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
“Meeting and working with other people from around the world is a thrilling experience. You can learn so much, and I think it helps to increase the level of cross-cultural understanding, which is important as the world continues to become more globalized.”
In addition to the caliber of the faculty, Lambert was drawn to TU by the international certificate program and the study abroad programs.
“Many people might be surprised to learn there is a pool of experts in various international law topics in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Lambert said. “And there are so many positives about TU. I loved the community, almost family-like feel of TU, not only between students but also with professors. My professors really cared about what interested me and what I wanted to do. The administration and staff were also extremely supportive. If it were not for TU law people taking an interest, I would not have gone to Argentina or Ghana, nor would I have been published, and I probably wouldn’t be sitting by a window in a library in central London watching people drive on the wrong side of the road.”
Lambert encourages new TU law students to take advantage of the support that the college of law offers and to utilize opportunities outside the classroom.
“I owe a great deal of thanks to those people at TU Law, in the Tulsa legal community, and my dear friends and family, without whom I would not be where I am today,” Lambert said. “Students should utilize the professional development office, the administration, and the professors. And networking is extremely important, almost as important as studying. Join local bar associations and the American Bar Association. Ask the people you meet for advice or suggestions and keep in touch. You will get much more out of it than by simply asking for a job. You might be intimidated at first, but you’ll be surprised how willing lawyers and judges are to help.”