International Business Career Forum

Monday this week, the International Law Society, in conjunction with the Office of Career Planning held an even giving students a look into certain career paths in international business.

Guests included Eve Sharon Associate General Counsel of and Christine Huffling, Associate for Winston and Strong LLP.

The attorneys agreed that the practice of international law in US companies is generally an advisorial roll in transactional or arbitrational law.

Though they mentioned that being bi-lingual made certain tasks easier they stressed that English is the lingua franca of international business.

Helping the integration of Common Law American lawyers into Civil Law European systems for either long term or short term work was also said to be, somewhat counter-intuitively, quite easily. The panel agreed this was likely due to the fact that there are few ways to maximize profit in an integrated international market system. This isn't to say that litigation is similar or familiar only that the substantive law governing business isn't wildly divergent.

The biggest and most well received revelation of the night, by far, was when Ms. Sharon informed us: "Forget everything you know from law school."

History, Holocaust and Humanity - An Afternoon with Survivor Ben Stern

Recently, USF School of Law was honored by Ben Stern, survivor of eight concentration camps including Auschwitz and Dachau, who spoke of his experiences living through and living with the Nazi holocaust of Jews during WWII.

To a packed and diverse lecture hall, Mr. Stern delivered his history in a steady and measured tone. His gravitas was duly complemented by the frankness of his account and punctuated by points of unguarded emotion which rolled over the attendees in a deluge of shared sorrow. Strangely, however, almost surreally, the talk wasn't only anguish and tears - Mr. Stern deftly found the humor in tragedy, relieving the afternoon's gloom with points of much-needed light.

Yet as powerful as the imagery and compelling the story; as amazing was Mr. Stern's personal survival against incomprehensible adversity the acts of barbarity and hate which he recounted are unfortunately mundane. It isn't to say Mr. Stern didn't suffer, nor that his words were not important. Yet midst the vast cornucopia of memorializations of Nazi atrocity Mr. Stern's story doesn't find its efficacy in its history alone.

The question is, then, begged of what purpose is a speech about the past by the person who experienced it? Of what purpose is a history if history has no purpose? Why bring this empty exercise to a law school?

While the reason for Mr. Stern's retelling, indeed the reason for retellings by all survivors who wish to speak and are heard may not be readily understood, it was, and is, readily seen during the act of retelling. In this context History's effect is not simply in its existence but in its transformative affect. For just as Humanity's deep revulsion following the Jewish holocaust found effect by informing Nuremberg and the future of international humanitarian law, the revulsion felt by the audience informed their futures, indelibly.

Sadness, anger, sorrow and hate are empty concepts until experienced - a fact attested by the often surprised, often desperate and even fatalistic expressions of Mr. Stern's as he relived the events of his past. Yet it was not only Mr. Stern's face which showed these emotions. Concomitant with him was the audience: gasping, tearing, knowing and drawing breath in a unison of shared experience.

"These things that happened" he spoke while grasping his trunk, "they are in me. I swallowed them and they make me up."

Survivor's retellings aren't important for the factual content. They're important so that the audience, through live co-experience, can, in a sense also swallow those experiences and take them in, and though while comparatively they can only but
be informed by these experiences to a degree, they still are, in future, made up of them.

"Never again" is the pleading cry of victim survivors but through experiencing a survivor speak it becomes the aspirational declaration of all.

"Never again" speaks to the need to have, pursue and preserve justice once found and is, therefore, of fundamental interest and of fundamental import to the law, it's students and practitioners.