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brandon stewart

Down under

12:10 PM  Feb 7th, 2014
by Megan Garrison '14
Before starting his legal studies at UDSL, third-year law student Brandon Stewart traveled the globe, with stops in Costa Rica, the Bahamas, Syria, Israel and Korea.

He continued his exploration by completing his legal externship last summer in Australia.

“I know that the world is bigger than the United States. We may consider ourselves to be the most powerful nation, but that does not mean we have the most effective answers,” Stewart said. “I believe that to have the best legal system you must understand how other countries’ legal systems are structured to see if there is a better way to structure our own to make it better.”

In Australia, Stewart worked for a firm that handled workers’ compensation and common tort law. Sometimes he had the opportunity to conduct research for a family or work on a criminal case. In his first week, he noticed a key difference from the American legal system.

“The Australian legal system uses solicitors and barristers while the American legal system only uses lawyers, which is essentially both a solicitor and barrister in Australia,” Stewart said. “Solicitors work directly with clients as they prepare contracts, wills, probate documents and attend to other paperwork as well as investigating the facts of the matter, writing letters to other parties and preparing paperwork for the courts if the client is involved in a dispute.”

“If a solicitor cannot handle the case, the solicitor will recommend a qualified and experienced barrister appropriate to the budget of the client and the nature of their case to be their advocate to help resolve the case.”

Although he’s studying law, the Jackson, Tenn., native doesn’t see himself becoming a lawyer. A devoted member of his church and member of the Air Force Reserves, he knew he wanted a career that kept him close to his faith and asked himself how he could affect change through his beliefs.

After getting a bachelor’s in English and communication and a master’s in theology, he decided law school was the next step.

“I wanted to be able to see the individuals who didn’t have a voice and be their voice,” said Stewart. “My dream job would be three-fold; I would love to be a mayor back home, work as an Air Force Reserve chaplain and work for a nonprofit organization.”

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