Brandeis rising 3L to spend week studying Japanese law

In August, rising third-year law student Irina Strelkova will spend a week in Tokyo. She will study at Chuo University, where she’ll take an intensive course on the basics of Japanese law. After the course, Strelkova will choose a topic that sparked her interest from the course and write a research paper about it. 

This opportunity is available thanks to the generosity and connections of Robert Brown, a 1974 graduate of the law school. Brown, who now practices with Louisville firm Lynch, Cox, Gilman & Goodman PSC, has worked and lived in Japan for much of his career. He holds a master’s degree in business from Tokyo’s Jochi University and a Ph.D. in Japanese Privatization from Cambridge University. In January, he was honored by the Japanese government for his lifetime of work.

As incoming chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law, Brown wants to encourage more law students to get involved in international law.  

This scholarship is one tangible way he is doing that.

For Strelkova, an international focus is simply part of her life. Born in Russia, she moved to the United States as a child. She has worked for two summers in Turkey and traveled throughout Europe during that time. As an undergraduate student at the University of Louisville, she majored in criminal justice at UofL and minored in French while earning an associate’s degree in paralegal studies.

She has also volunteered at Kentucky Refugee Ministries as a citizenship instructor and is a fellow with the Brandeis Human Rights Advocacy Program, which focuses on advocating with the local immigrant, noncitizen and refugee community.

She explains the root of her interest in the law:

“When I was a child growing up in Russia, the criminal justice system there is very different than that of the United States, especially back in those times. We were just coming out of the communist regime. There was a presumption of guilt. Watching the criminal justice system work in that unfortunate way inspired me to get involved when I moved to the United States. As a child, I found myself interested with things like Law & Order: SVU and TV shows that really dramatized the practice of law. However, when I got into my undergraduate studies, I really found that the field of law has so many different aspects to it, and I felt myself drawn to civil litigation in particular.”

Before she heads to Tokyo, Strelkova will work as a summer associate at Frost Brown Todd LLC. She hopes to stay in Louisville after graduation and is encouraged by the city’s growing international law focus.

“Louisville has a really great, growing market in different areas of international law. We not only have a city that is booming with business and opportunities to take that business internationally or to receive international clients, we’re also getting an immigration court and there are issues with human rights or civil rights that are going on here in Louisville,” she says. “As someone that wants to practice in an international area of law, there are plenty of opportunities here in Louisville. After graduation, I hope to be able to stay here and contribute my skillset to the growing area of law.”