Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Student Profile

Arby Aiwazian

Full-Time Day Program

Arby Aiwazian's interest in advocacy started on the stage. His ability to engage an audience solidified when he played Duke Orsino in Glendale High School's production of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." Aiwazian didn't pursue theater in college but he began thinking about how to capitalize on his strengths while he was a Political Science major at UCLA. "I thought about where my skill set would be most useful. Litigation isn't just about arguing, but rather is about a thorough analysis of all sides of an issue and then an eloquent, persuasive advocacy for your client's particular side of that issue," he said. "I still have some interest in theater in the sense that I eventually want to be a trial lawyer. I think having a theater background is going to help me because part of being able to win a case is being able to tell a compelling story, which is what you have to do as an actor. As an attorney, you're advocating for a client and trying to convince a judge and jury that you have the more compelling story."

But much like the intense rehearsal processes and classical training that the finest actors commit to, Aiwazian has devoted his impressive tenure at Southwestern to immersing himself in his studies as well as externships, jobs and campus activities to attain his goal of becoming a successful civil litigator. As soon as he finished his work as a summer associate at Pettit Kohn Ingrassia & Lutz PC in August, he commenced his externship for the Hon. Kim McLane Wardlaw of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In the summer of 2007, he externed for Justice Earl Johnson, Jr. of the California Court of Appeal. A Dean's List student, Aiwazian also serves as an Associate Editor of the Southwestern Law Review and as a Senior Dean's Fellow, where he collaborates with the Student Resource Center to assist law students with their studies.

Aiwazian also knows how to make the most of opportunities. As a member of the Law Review, he fulfilled his writing requirement by authoring a Note titled, "Transformative Mediation: Empowering the Oppressed Voices of a Multicultural City to Foster Strong Democracy," which will be published in a forthcoming edition (Volume 11) of The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Minority Issues, a leading minority issues law publication. To write the Note, he drew on his past experience as an intern for the Western Justice Center Foundation, where he assisted with the training of Pasadena police and school administrators in cross-cultural dispute resolution through the Community Nonviolence Resource Center.

"In my Note, I wanted to discuss the way that lawyers can make the idea of a more participatory democracy a reality," he said. "Transformative mediation allows disputants to take a hands-on role in managing conflicts. Mediation nowadays is a growing field but the most prevalent style, evaluative mediation, doesn't take under consideration the underlying emotions and reasons that people take on lawsuits. The successful application of transformative mediation techniques in legal and business settings ought to spur its more widespread use. Ultimately, transformative mediation promotes democratic empowerment by embracing the constitutive values of participatory democracy."

Southwestern's commitment to social justice, its diversity of programs, and its prominent alumni played an integral role in Aiwazian's decision on where to attend law school. "I heard that you learn how to become a great lawyer here. Southwestern's classroom experience and extracurricular opportunities bridge the gap between theory and practice and will surely enable me to hit the ground running."