Name: Cameron Hosie
Home: Wellington, New Zealand
Law School: Victoria University of Wellington
Where is home? What is it famous for?
Really, home is Upper Hutt, which is a small satellite city of Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington is probably most famous as the capital of New Zealand, and as a cultural center. Upper Hutt is mainly famous for bogans and stock cars. We'll leave 'bogan' undefined, but it's used in the non-pejorative sense!
You received a law degree as well as a Bachelor degree of computer science, why this combination? Why did you want to pursue an LLM in the U.S.?
In honesty, the rationale behind law and computer science was simple – I started studying law and psychology; I disliked psychology and therefore wanted to change, and at the time I wasn't sure that I wanted to be a lawyer so I needed an alternate career choice. Ultimately, I became a lawyer, so I haven't directly used the comp-sci degree. However, I think that it was useful in several respects – firstly, comp-sci really disciplines your thinking, and secondly, I think the fact that it was an unusual second choice opened some doors for me with getting a first law job, as it stood out (and apparently still does!)My reasons for the LLM are both more complex and simpler. At the most basic level, it was to scratch an academic itch. I particularly enjoyed the last years of my law degree, and it seemed like a logical extension. Beyond that, I am interested in teaching at some point, and a post-graduate degree is essentially a pre-requisite for that. Finally, in terms of my career, an American LLM gives a degree of credibility in front of American clients overseas, and equally may assist with working in the U.S., should I want to do that at some stage.
Why did you choose Duke for your LLM?
Firstly, Duke is a very credible international brand name, and although in a perfect world that wouldn't matter, it does. Beyond that, there were many reasons for the choice. Obviously, Duke is a top tier school. Further, I had lived in the South-West for several months, and I enjoyed the 'feel' of the place. Equally, I thought that this would be an opportunity to live in a beautiful area where I wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity. Frankly, it's cheaper to live down here, as compared to say New York. And the weather is good – I like golf, and the opportunity for it down here is outstanding!
What do you like most about Duke so far?
The campus is beautiful, and the weather now that the summer heat has gone is great! Academically, I have been able to participate in interesting law classes, but I have also been able to do cross-listed courses in both the Fuqua Business School and the undergraduate language school.
What is your plan after graduation? How do you think the LLM will help you with your career?
At the moment, my plan is to return to Moscow, Russia, where I spent the last few years working. I'm unsure what the real long term plans are, but at least in the short term, I would expect that the LL.M may help with American clients. Equally, as I mentioned, I am in part interested in teaching, and the LLM certainly makes that more possible, and may facilitate a transfer to an America-based firm, should I wish to do that at some stage.
You have worked for prestigious international law firms in New Zealand and Russia, what do you think are the advantages and challenges of being an international lawyer?
How much space do I have for this? The advantages are really the diverse experiences that you have – at least personally, the 'war stories' I had within six months in a market away from home were beyond anything which one might ever experience at home - and I think this applies across all 'homes', and not just New Zealand! Equally, the rate of advancement is often accelerated. In part, this is a factor of the type of transactions which you work on, and simply also a matter of scarcity of legal resources. There are also many disadvantages. First, it's often very hard work. Secondly, living in a foreign culture of course has its own stresses – though often these cultural differences are some of the real advantages in having that experience. Overall though, at least to me, there are many more advantages than disadvantages.
What do you think are the most essential qualities of a successful international lawyer?
Flexibility, an ability to enjoy difference, and an ability to relate to people. And flexibility.
What advice will you give to international students studying in American law schools?
Don't limit your options to the traditional – consider all opportunities. And take the opportunity to study some things that people won't necessarily pay you to learn at work!