ICLRS Student Fellow Brenden Stuart, Externship in Hong Kong, China

Spending the summer of 2016 working for a legal office is not that unique as far as a summer externship goes. But working for a legal office in Asia for the summer is a unique experience. Brenden Stuart spent his summer in Hong Kong learning more about the legal workings of the area legal counsel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “It is an interesting and unique talking point in an interview,” said Brenden. “There are very few law students who are able to say they travelled to an international location in order to assist in the legal affairs of a religious organization.”

One of Brenden’s responsibilities was to convert the reporting obligations of ecclesiastical leaders when they become aware of the abuse of a child into language and instructions that was easily understandable for the non-attorney. Working with twelve attorneys in twelve Asian countries, this was not a cut-and-paste job but rather, required thoughtful consideration of each country’s laws and how best to make it understandable for all. Brenden felt that the ability to take something complex and simplify it into everyday language was a valuable skill he picked up as a first year law student.

Brenden had a wonderful opportunity to experience the sights and culture of Hong Kong during his time there. As a tall, Caucasian, red head, he was quite the stand out in the crowd. He attended a religious gathering with his landlord and found himself broadcast on the big screen to those watching in the Philippines! While his career goals in the law are not set in stone, Brenden still found his externship a valuable experience. “Although Hong Kong is about as western as you can get in Asia, it was a great opportunity to get out and see how other people live and think.” In addition to his time in Hong Kong, Brenden also spent part of his summer assisting with research projects for the International Center for Law and Religion Studies.