In conversation with Tom Reynolds
What inspired you during the project?
The chance to contribute to the economic development of South Africa and other African countries, even if indirectly. Sharing a little bit about my professional experience and knowledge with current and future practitioners who may effect such development in the future was inspiring and made this project worthwhile. I hope one day I will read in the newspaper or a book about the positive impact of special economic zones, led by these students, in Africa in the 2020s!
What was the most fulfilling aspect of the work?
The most fulfilling aspect of this work was teaching students and the change of pace involved in this instructional role. Teaching is hard! The preparation time is many multiples of the time actually teaching. Incredibly smart students, like the ones in my class, also ask unforeseeable questions. But teaching in an area of my experience and legal practice made things easier. I came back from it with a new perspective on my work, and a sense of accomplishment for doing something new and challenging. I also came out with much respect for professors and teachers.
What one word describes your involvement?
Investment. The time I spent is an investment in the careers and knowledge of these students, which will hopefully provide a high rate of return in their own professional development, countries and communities. It was also a fun investment in my own career as an international trade lawyer. And finally, establishing a special economic zone (or foreign trade zone in the United States) – in the right circumstances – can have high initial costs, but be a rewarding investment in the middle-to-long run.
About Tom Reynolds
Tom is an associate in DLA Piper's Washington, DC office.