Posts tagged Washington DC

How I decided on an LLM program at Georgetown Law

I will just write it. Plain and old. Waiting for the right time hasn’t allowed me to write on so many beautiful experiences that could’ve been a blessing to the world. So here’s this one on deciding on an LLM degree at Georgetown Law- before it gets a bit too old for me.

I was in Port-Harcourt, and I had a green bound journal – actually, it was pretty much a cyan colour. I had bought it myself from a mall (Port-Harcourt Market Square). In this journal, I had scribbled all sorts. Plans with mister lover, some “bite-sized” revelations, and in greater volume for its dedicated purpose, – my plans for grad school. There had been a quickening of my plans for grad school – my thoughts about it at the time weren’t the most relevant. It was more of a quickening from heaven, an urgency I couldn’t shake off, and would prove itself true time after time. So I often was on my bed on many afternoons, scribbling stuff. I checked out all the top law schools in the United States. I checked the top schools because I was gunning for the best experience. One thing I always looked to have was an invitation/ special connection to the school. I weighed their writings and videos, the feel of the website, their centers and institutes, the faculty and scholarship specialization, I stopped short of specific course descriptions. I learnt about Law schools in the US, and boy, did I do it more when I made up my mind to go for a JD instead.

The plan was an LLM yeah, but then I began to consider plans of staying back in the US – which was never my plan originally. Having that new plan, I set to work discovering the legal job market and my research seemed to always yield one thing from a vast source of knowledge: The LLM program may not be the best way to secure a job as a lawyer in the US. The sources, including the schools themselves lol, said it was competitive and to not have high hopes. So instantly, my fast-moving brain began to seriously consider a Juris Doctor degree. At this point, I did way more research. I got into contact with a Nigerian who was preparing for the JD as well. I checked out a lot. I began prep for LSAT (Thankfully, I didn’t do this for a full week. That exam humbles people. weeps). Then one day, I heard God speak to me; I had been sending myself on an errand. You see, I had began my prep for a JD out of fear. Scriptures tells me whatever is done outside of faith is a sin, Romans 14:23. Oh mine. It was a cold realization. I had taken the report of the US legal market being competitive and devised my own plan. That day, I cancelled my JD plans. This is probably crazy for someone who is not used to hearing God speak. Most people (read “Bio-form-filling Christian”) take steps and want God to bless it. Now, he wouldn’t ‘not’ bless it, he is rich in mercy and abounding in Love. However, you may want to consider a Christ-driven life.

I quit JD plans and paused LLM plans (I would as well have been quitting LLM, had I not realized God wanted me to go on, and he gave me the vision for the LLM program to start with). Now, if you have attempted an LLM application, you may be wondering what is with the plenty preparation in my journal that I highlighted above. Part of what made my search crazy long was because of my field of study. That is what this particular blog post will focus on.

For context, this was in the middle of Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions in Nigeria. I was in Port-Harcourt and the governor was particularly bent on more restrictions. My workplace wasn’t interested in having me either, but I wanted to work. I guess that was what made me very introspective about what I want to spend my time doing. I knew getting back into serious work, I really wanted to go in hot with impact. I wanted to release what it was I had inside of me and be a blessing to others. Practicing in a law firm wasn’t going to give that to me, neither was in-house company Law. I always sought a larger client base. Being in that contextual space, I thought of what job I would do if I wasn’t being paid for it. It wasn’t going to be clear-cut Law. For clear-cut Law, I think my charges have been quite firm – all in kindness ?. I know as a practicing lawyer, I will bill. Law is a career for me, and it is my ethical responsibility as a lawyer to bill ?. The thing I wouldn’t bill for is being a blessing to others; helping, ensuring people’s welfare. This was something resonating with me deeply. I wanted desperately to have people realize their inherent dignity – imago dei. To know they are the splitting image of God, and that no one should ever make them feel less than, because of their socio-economic status. Never. And that people can and should achieve their dreams without anyone, not even the State, standing in their way.

This led me to search for an area of law I didn’t know how to find. What was I looking for? It beat me, but I was searching. That, friend, was why I had that journal that I scribbled plenty into (asides the part that held my earlier sojourn into JD, and as you will learn, MPP). I kept trying to find what legal discipline would give me that job I can do without getting paid for. Then on a call with a stranger from Columbia who had given me an hour of her precious time, I picked up the word “International development”. She had heard me talk about my passion, and she’d said “okay, so its development-oriented...”. I can’t give you the long gist of it, but I stumbled onto Masters of public policy, M.Sc International development, M.Sc global studies, and locating the best schools for those in the US became my priority. I came back to an LLM with an assurance from God (I heard God quickly too because I wasn’t interested in studying math in any shape or form. weeps).

There are about two schools in the world that quite clearly have an LLM specialization referencing international development, and I DIDN’T want either. As I end this interesting read, I learnt I could study International Law and pick course modules pertaining to development and that was my route in picking the most sought after Law school in the US.

This story about deciding on an LLM degree at Georgetown Law is one about the definitive start of my journey to the US. It also is a story to tell you to re-evaluate your reason. Are you taking some steps because of a mental calculation? Are you being a foolish Galatian to have started a project in the Spirit and to seek to complete it in the flesh of your reasoning (Galatians 3:3)? Are you concerned about your ministry? Or that is on pause until your career is “established”?

Is it ever really established?

Is your career your ministry?

I will see you in my next post. If this has been a blessing to you, do share it with others and tell me below.

Have a similar experience? We want to hear it!

Your online best friend,

Blog titles are difficult

Believe it or not, I am writing like a newbie. I am shy and highly doubtful of what my words will read like. Going by blogging science, most of my readers will be long gone because consistency is key for bloggers. So why am I back? 

  • I have things to write that could help one or two people, and I live for the opportunity to do so
  • My bio page puts me to shame. I literally wrote there guys, that if no one was reading, I’ll still be blogging. Eweee! 

In 2019 and 2020 blogging wasn’t consistent, I didn’t blog every week (or even twice a week like I once did), but I still put out interesting content.

2021 rolled by and I just stopped. There were reasons for stopping. Now we’re in 2022, and I’ll put my fear right out in the open – I don’t think I can be consistent with writing, or as fabulous as you all may think I used to be. 

I don’t promise consistency, but I promise consistency. Make of it what you will.

Now that we have shattered the ice, welcome! I love this space, and if you’re new here, I hope you get to love it too.

My name is Debby – we should pause here. As a Nigerian, I grew up introducing myself as Deborah pronounced something like this /Dei-beu-rah/. I told people they could call me any variation of my name that gave them joy – Debs, Debby (I was likely to tell them no “Debbie” though), even (the offensive to some Yoruba namesakes,) Debo. When I moved to Washington DC (which I will tell you about in time), I found it weird that some people didn’t know how to pronounce my name. Like Deborah. Relatively common christian name, you know, but they seemed lost to it. One toaster guy that followed and scared me at the bus stop lol, pronounced it as Devoura. For a minute, I thought I was from an exotic Caribbean country and that was indeed my name. Fancy. 

However, thanks to my primary 4 teacher, Ms. Kehinde, I picked up that the “O”(which we Nigerians mostly pronounce like /eu/) should perhaps be silent and instead the name may sound like /De-brah/.

I was like Riiiiiiiiight! I introduced myself with the silent ‘o’, and everybody was just fine. The weird part is that I adapted to a silent ‘o’ in no time, and found myself even struggling to remember to pronounce the /eu/ version to the Nigerians I meet over here. They tend to say ‘ehn’ after I say silent ‘o’-Deborah (weeps in solidarity). The ease with which I changed the pronunciation of my own name, baffles me. There is no moral lesson to this brief story. Except that…on doing a google search now, it seems the problem is with the ‘e’ in the first syllable, making it /Dɛ-beu-rah/, pronounced like ‘bet’ not ‘hay’ which /ei/ gives off. If I have confused you, sorry o.

Yes, my name is Deborah Adebayo, I am a Lawyer, international and social development professional. I am a Christian, and a Nigerian currently residing in Washington DC, USA – Nope, I am yet to run into Joe Biden, but that is underway. I used to love reading books, but now, I read professional articles in my free time (it comes with age, dear). Here are other things I’ve been doing in my free time of late: I discuss with mister lover, fellowship with other christians, cook and eat, binge-view interior design pictures on instagram or I make it a case of binge-watching movies. I am a couch-potato home-loving ambivert. I am therefore blessed that some people who read this blog consider me funny, because it is weird explaining my lack of a social hobby to other people outside of the blog. If it helps them, I say I used to bake and play the guitar (it never helps them). Feel free to call me Debby, (can’t have you struggling with /eu/ or silent ‘o’ or /ɛ/) and enjoy this online unraveling of the thoughts in my head as we go on. 

P.S: *I had completed this post when I re-read my about page, and found out that I had earlier edited away the part that says “…and if no one is reading, I’ll still be blogging”. So I wasn’t even tied to my words. On that note, see you never again!

Love and light,