Boston University School of Law

December 10, 2010


Meet Simuzar Feyzullayeva, Muskie Graduate Fellow

We sat down with Simuzar Feyzullayeva, a member of BU Law's LL.M. in American Law Program, to discuss her experiences as an Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellow, and what she hopes to accomplish for her home country of Azerbaijan.

On the Muskie Fellowship
I was one of five percent of all applicants to be accepted into the Edmund S. Muskie Graduate Fellowship Program, a one or two year graduate-level education program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, and administered by IREX, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that seeks to provide leadership opportunities for foreign students. The Muskie fellowship is available to students from Eurasian countries.

One of the professors in my LL.M. program at Baku State University in Azerbaijan is a former Muskie Fellow, and he encouraged me to apply to the program.

Throughout the three rounds of evaluation, I was nervous given that I was the youngest of all the applicants. However, I remained sincere and was confident in articulating my goals of studying corporate law in America. I appear to be the first BU Law student representing Azerbaijan!

On her home country
The young and currently weak industry of corporate governance in Azerbaijan is very interesting to me, so I decided to dedicate my efforts in the Muskie program toward learning about it.

Since the fall of the USSR, Azerbaijan has welcomed international corporations that want to establish regional headquarters in Baku. These firms typically hire professionals who have studied abroad.

On her work and education in the U.S.
One of the goals of the Muskie program is to bring about positive changes in economic and democratic development as well as legislation and social justice in our home countries, but another significant aim is to provide assistance to underprivileged citizens in the United States. Before my one-year program is up, I will complete a 3-month full-time internship, and do over 40 hours of community service related to my major.

One fundamental difference in the legal education systems I have noticed while in the U.S. is that here, legal education and judicial review are largely based in case law studies. In Azerbaijan, everything is based on statutes and codes, not precedents. The US system is challenging for me, because among other merits, there is more room for broad thinking.

On her future legal career
I am eager to integrate the knowledge and skills I will gain through my U.S. academic and professional experiences back home through teaching LL.M. classes at local universities and providing legal services to citizens and legal entities.

In Baku, I have a job in the tax and legal department of the branch office of PricewaterhouseCoopers. I previously interned in two district courts, an economic court, and a prosecutor’s office, all in Azerbaijan.

I am a member of the Legal Education Society, a nongovernmental organization that provides legal services and education to Azerbaijani citizens. In addition, I am a member of the Women’s Bar Association operating with the support of ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI).

Reported by Joe Mielenhausen

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