Richard Dowdy ’17
Growing up in Australia, Richard Dowdy had an abiding dream: to study at an American law school, pass the bar, and work at a “top” New York law firm.
Thanks to Berkeley Law’s LL.M. program, he’s well on his way.
“Working in the U.S. without an LL.M. would be, at the very least, extremely difficult,” says Dowdy, a litigation associate at the international firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. The firm also has corporate and entertainment law practices.
“People associate high academic standards with Berkeley Law,” Dowdy adds. “For me, wanting to work in the U.S., it was important to have the LL.M. in terms of credibility.”
It’s not his only credential on the global stage. After earning an undergraduate degree in law from the University of Canberra, Dowdy held posts with the Australian government—most recently as senior adviser to Tony Abbott, the nation’s Prime Minister from 2013 to 2015.
In that role, Dowdy managed political fundraising campaigns on behalf of the prime minister, provided political strategy and campaign advice in key battleground areas, and coordinated Abbott’s domestic and international travel.
Of assisting Abbott in various capacities since 2009, Dowdy says: “Working for Prime Minister Abbott was an amazing experience and a great privilege.”
Because of his American aspirations, Dowdy enrolled in Berkeley Law’s LL.M. traditional track program. He says the courses he took last school year gave him a vital foundation in American legal traditions.
While he was drawn to the Bay Area for its beauty, restaurants, and lifestyle, the merits of a Berkeley Law LL.M. are what cinched Dowdy’s decision.
“I like to be challenged, and the entire year was a wonderful experience being exposed to academics who were leaders in their fields,” he says. “The ability to tailor my studies in the LL.M. was very appealing, and I had the opportunity to meet like-minded and ambitious colleagues.”
Dowdy counts several new lifelong friends from the experience, and appreciates that his classmates represented a mélange of ethnicities, backgrounds, religions, and political persuasions.
These days, his focus is a bit narrower. Dowdy has not yet been admitted to the New York State Bar, but his admission interview and ceremony are scheduled for July.
“I’m making the most of being here, and thoroughly enjoying the experience,” he says.