When Nick Connon studied public finance at SPEA, he received an in depth understanding of policy with an analytical approach—good training for a career in law.
“My educational experience at SPEA was a great foundation for legislation and legal cases,” says Connon, an expert in high stakes litigation who is the founder and managing partner of the law firm, Connon Wood, with offices in Los Angeles and London. “The training SPEA provides in terms of analyzing public policy issues from different perspectives is useful when you try to understand how another culture may view things differently.”
Connon had his first overseas experience while at SPEA, going to Erasmus University Rotterdam through a semester exchange. He also got a taste of politics through student government. Now he handles arbitrations all over the world, from representing defense contractors to pro bono work for veterans.
Having a global perspective is crucial in today’s world. “SPEA is in an ideal position to educate future leaders in that regard,” Connon says. “You need to have people who understand policy combined with cultural and international issues and able to engage with the world, you can’t just transplant ideas from the U.S.”
To encourage students and SPEA to continue expanding horizons, Connon regularly returns to the School, having recently led a panel with Professor Beth Cate on the legal and ethical implications of a variety of factors shaping U.S. engagement in the Middle East. Connon chairs his firm's Middle East Practice Group.
“It just takes one or two students to make a huge impact on the world,” Connon says, noting that global impact can begin in local communities. And, for all students, he advises:
“Gain as much experience and knowledge as you can in areas you have some passion about. Go above and beyond what is required for the paycheck. When you learn, you are investing in yourself and those dividends can’t be measured.”