Nash rides South Asian back roads to legal career

When law student Andrew Nash graduates May 16, he won’t be far from his mid-Missouri hometown of Jefferson City. But for Nash, the journey from rural Missouri to St. Louis has been of epic proportions.

Since graduating from high school in 1997, he has spent much of the last decade crisscrossing the globe.

Law student Andrew Nash standing in front of the Gateway of India in the Colaba neighborhood of Mumbai, India.

He has ridden an aging beast of a motorcycle over the most remote backcountry roads of India and Nepal, rumbling solo through the valleys and foothills of the jagged Himalayan Mountains.

He has bounced down these same roads on crowded public buses, traversing Nepal for work and travel as the country grappled with the suspension of democracy.

He spent two years in Kathmandu, Nepal, working as a journalist with Himal South Asian magazine, contributing stories from Bangladesh and Bhutanese refugee camps. He spent another 18 months covering South Asian politics for the Delhi-based magazine HardNews, filing stories from India, Nepal and Afghanistan.

He’s even had cameo roles as the token white foreigner in a Nepali music video and Bollywood movies.

While his exploits read like an adventure novel, Nash has used his travels to explore serious intellectual interests — experience that left him well prepared for law school.

Nash recently returned from a trip to India, where he and classmate Samir Kaushik won the prestigious D.M. Harish Memorial International Law Moot Court Competition. Nash took individual honors, winning second-best oralist in the competition.

School of Law

“Andrew has a very global vision that would be hard to find in someone twice his age, and it’s not a naive vision,” says Michael Peil, J.D., assistant dean for international programs in the School of Law. “He has a very mature view of how the world works and where the world is going. He’s a fantastic student and one of the best legal writers I’ve met.”

As an undergraduate at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., Nash did several Washington, D.C., internships, one with Sen. Daniel Moynihan and three with a higher education lobbying firm.

In 2000, he enrolled for a spring semester at American University in Cairo, where he began writing student newspaper stories on his travels to Israel, Palestine, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the West Bank.

By senior year, Nash wanted to explore professional journalism in the developing world. A fellow student got him an interview with a South Asian affairs magazine, where she had worked in Nepal, and soon — less than a week after the 9/11 attack — he was headed for Kathmandu with a one-way plane ticket in his pocket.

While working there, one writer encouraged Nash to study at his alma mater, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Nash took the entrance exam and was admitted to the Indian history master’s program. He took the bus from Kathmandu in July 2003 and settled into a bare-bones, concrete-bunker dorm — no heat or air conditioning. Undaunted, he immersed himself in the program for two years, completing graduate work on Indian political thought in the 1930s and abortion law in colonial India.

Nash considered a doctorate in Indian studies at an American university but decided instead to pursue law school, enrolling at WUSTL in 2005.

The decision brought him closer to his family. His sister Kate graduated from the School of Law in 2002 and now works in St. Louis.

Nash spent his first summer at WUSTL interning with federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s St. Louis office. He worked some 35 hours a week there and another 20 as a research assistant for Neil Richards, J.D., associate professor of law.

During the summer of 2007, he interned with Davis Polk & Wardwell, a New York law firm with seven foreign offices and several large Indian corporate clients. He’ll spend his first year after graduation as a judicial clerk for Duane Benton, J.D., a federal appellate judge in Kansas City.

After that, he’s considering a career in litigation or as a corporate attorney dealing in international law. Who knows — the distant rumble of a clunky Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle may someday call him back to India.