Georgia Bar Journal
GSB Vol. 13, NO. 7, Pg. 28.
GSB JournalVol. 13, NO. 7June 2007Vladivostok MemoriesNicholas A. LotitoOliver Wendell Holmes is credited with saying, "Old age is fifteen years older than I am." This is a philosophy I have harbored for quite sometime; however, I was not aware that someone so notable had previously articulated it. Despite this optimistic, and at some point inaccurate assessment, I did something last fall which is worth sharing with fellow youthful, albeit chronologically impaired lawyers. I taught a course in criminal law and procedure at Vladivostok State University Law School in Vladivostok, Russia, an exotic city on the southeast coast of Russia, a mere 6,600 miles and a 16-hour time difference from Atlanta.
While practicing criminal law for the past 30 plus years, mostly in private practice, I was somewhat envious of various federal prosecutors who traveled to the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia and other places for months at a time, purportedly to assist with the creation of legal systems or teach in those countries. I lamented that those assignments were not available while I was a government prosecutor. Also, as my son, Alex, now 16, got older, I considered several opportunities to combine legal experience and travel. I thought about one of the numerous People to People invitations I received to be a delegate with a group going to China, Russia or elsewhere; applying to prosecute or defend war criminals at the Hague, or even becoming involved in the efforts to obtain justice out of the morass in Rwanda. In each case, I determined that the time was not right, the commitment too long or that there was some other reason not to embark on one of those ventures.
A couple of years ago I saw an ad from the Center for International Legal Studies, offering lawyers with 25 years experience the opportunity to teach in their Senior Lawyers Program. Somewhat impulsively, I applied. Several months later I was notified to attend an interview in Chicago, and I did so. Eventually, I was selected for the program and requested assignments in Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic or Croatia. I was assigned to Russia, and only after committing to teach was I notified that I would travel to Vladivostok. It was a venue I had not anticipated. I had a choice of...