“Lisa, you are great at arguing! You should be a lawyer.”
While growing up this was a statement I frequently heard. It was true. I was excellent at arguing. I loved the thrill of the heightened emotions, the adrenaline of crafting my next point, and the satisfaction of watching my opponent squirm. What I didn’t love was the aftermath—the relationships that were damaged, the pain of not being heard, and the emptiness when a resolution was not reached.
In undergrad I took a step away from what seemed to be my predestined path of law school and studied international relations and Asian studies. My international relations classes told me that the drivers of conflict were political and economic power, but my Asian studies classes showed me that religion, history, culture, pride, fear, and reputation all also had an impact on conflict and its resolution. I found my way back on the path to law school because I wanted to explore international conflict resolution as a practitioner who bridged the gap between the perceived drivers of conflict and the underlying factors that also impact it.