ICLRS Student Fellow Shad Larson, Externship in Johannesburg, South Africa

Shad Larson, an International Center for Law and Religion Studies Student Research Fellow, just wrapped up his summer externship with the office of the legal counsel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shad got involved because of his interest in religious freedom and “the chance to make a positive impact, however small, in the area.”

While in Johannesburg, Shad was exposed to a variety of different issues, people, and areas of the law. He was grateful for his BYU Law School experience because it helped him approach problems differently than he would have prior to attending. He learned quickly that words matter and the best way to learn is to ask questions. “It is vital to double check everything you write and submit,” Shad said. “One misspelled or misplaced word can change the meaning of a document.  I also learned that the best way to get work done is to ask many questions when you get stuck. Being timid and shy only gets you into more trouble and people are usually happy to answer your questions.” 

Shad served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Johannesburg so he was excited to return. But besides the chance to revisit the city, his externship provided an opportunity to interact with others in a working environment, and helped influence the type of lawyer he hopes to be someday. “There were obviously many different problems and concerns every day, some of them very serious, but the office was never a tense place,” said Shad. “The Area Legal Counsel was always kind and patient with everybody and never showed an ounce of anger or stress. This impacted me greatly and I want to become just like him in how I work and confront problems in my career.”