Matthew Brown, a May graduate of Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, learned many things as a participant in the school’s new exchange program with NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad, India.
Lessons included an appreciation for the life changing experience that exposure to another culture offers. “I now wish I had taken opportunities to study abroad while I was in undergraduate school,” said Brown, who earned his juris doctor degree in May and works with a Fairhope, Ala., law firm while studying for the bar exam.
Brown spent his final semester of law school, January through April, studying general international law, human rights law, humanitarian law, and law and poverty at NALSAR, considered one of India’s most prestigious law schools.
But the Iowa native’s spring term education extended far beyond the classroom to include spiritual, professional, academic and cultural growth.
An important aspect of practicing law is the ability to consider an issue from a variety of different perspectives, says Brown, who believes that his time in India will enhance his ability to understand and relate to various situations his clients face.
“The new life perspectives that I gained will allow me to better evaluate the important issues and facts of the cases and legal problems I encounter as an attorney,” said Brown, who is the first Cumberland student to participate in the exchange program on the NALSAR campus. Two NALSAR law students studied at Cumberland during the 2010-11 academic year, and a third will arrive this fall.
He also gained insight into the legal process outsourcing (LPO) industry. A fairly recent development in the American legal industry, LPO is the outsourcing of American legal work to third world countries.
“Currently, millions of U.S. dollars are being sent to Indian companies that perform basic legal work for U.S. law firms and corporations,” explains Brown, who got to know Indians involved in LPO. He is now helping several of them to develop relations with southeast law firms, which he says have been slow to adjust to the globalization of the legal market.
“Whether for the better or for the worse, the legal process outsourcing seems to be here to stay,” said Brown, who earned his bachelor’s degree at Pensacola Christian College in Florida.
Brown observed and absorbed Indian culture at every turn, and interacted with people at every level of the country’s vast society. He even preached weekly services at a small Indian church while the missionary pastor returned to his home in the Philippines for six weeks. His time at the church offered “amazing opportunities” to interact with the common people of India, said Brown, whose father pastors a small Baptist church in Baldwin County, Alabama.
While in India, Brown visited an orphanage that has a relationship with an adoption agency in Fairhope. “I believe God may be opening the door for me to get involved with international adoptions,” said Brown.
In addition to the NALSAR program, Cumberland offers an exchange program with the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and a study-abroad program at Cambridge University in Cambridge, England.