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Boris Sharapan

What goes around comes around.

When Boris Sharapan met Pace Law Professor Gayl Westerman, director of international programs at Pace Law School, he had no idea this chance meeting would lead to a summer internship abroad and snowball into a future practicing arbitration law.

“I felt I had a limited chance of getting an English-speaking internship in Europe since the only language other than English I speak is Russian.” said Sharapan. With excellent grades on his side, he held out hope for his dream placement.

Enter Pace Law School alumna, Jessica Bannon Vanto’01, an associate at an international arbitration firm, Hanotiau & Van Den Berg, in Brussels. When she was a student at Pace Law School, Vanto did an international internship at Curtis Mallet, a Paris law firm. It was the first in a series of opportunities that landed her in her current job. So, Vanto was committed to giving other Pace students the same chance.

Last summer Sharapan arrived in Brussels and immediately adapted to his new environment thanks to his field supervisor, Vanto, who, along with her husband, Jarno, greeted him upon arrival. The following Monday at the law firm, he began his hands-on studies in arbitration, A-Z.

“Arbitration law allows you to practice law in a foreign jurisdiction, avoid the local courts, and negotiate on neutral ground,” said Sharapan, who learned quickly, given that Vanto was about to give birth. Sharapan dug in to help her prepare a big submission.

“The senior partner at Hanotiau & Van Den Berg,” said Westerman, “found Boris to be an extraordinary intern.”

It was a short step from the point that Vanto accepted a position at Hanotiau & Van Den Berg to the point she agreed to take on Pace Law student interns. “It’s this marvelous circularity of events that makes the program so rich for students,” said Westerman.

Since the summer, Vanto gave birth to her first child, Reid Juhani, and has just recently returned to work. Sharapan has accepted a summer associate position at the global firm of White & Case with the hopes that he will once again go abroad.