Where do you start? Rhodes Scholarship? Clerking at the Supreme Court of Canada? Helping prepare Bangladesh’s case in a maritime boundary dispute from his desk in a Washington, D.C. law office? Top student throughout his B.A. in Political Science and Economics?
In 2010, Vivek Krishnamurthy began work at Foley Hoag, whose D.C. office has carved out a reputation in representing clients (including governments) before international tribunals. It is, as he says, “very neat work.” One case involves a border dispute between Bangladesh and both Myanmar and India, being adjudicated by two different tribunals. He is also working on a case being brought by Ecuador against Columbia for herbicides sprayed aerially drifting over the border and affecting rain forest habitat and indigenous community life.
The law wasn’t always his focus, but in the process of completing his Oxford masters (in 2004), he became more interested in the field. After a one-year stint working on electoral reform for the Ontario government, he went to Yale for a law degree, completed in 2008, and after that clerked for Mr. Justice Morris Fish, of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Of his undergraduate experience, Vivek says without a second’s hesitation, “simply superb – I don’t think I could have had a better experience anywhere else in the world.” When he went to Oxford after completing his joint specialist degree, he found he was as well prepared as any of his colleagues.
While at U of T, “I was fortunate to develop close relationships with several professors. Yes, it’s more difficult than it would have been at a smaller university: you need to take the initiative and go out and meet faculty members. There is a real effort at U of T to have undergraduate courses taught by faculty, with really good teachers in large classes. That makes a huge difference in the quality of student experience. From the first summer after first year, I had opportunities to work on cutting edge research, with Ron Deibert at the early stages of his work; and Stephen Clarkson in analyzing the role of the internet in federal election campaigns. The education that I received compares really favourably with Oxbridge and the American ivy leagues.”
Vivek grew up, as he puts it, “all over Canada.” His parents moved around, so he was born in Calgary, lived in Montreal and Ottawa, and then moved to Toronto just before starting at U of T. His parents are still in Toronto, and he hopes at some point that his career will take him back to Canada.