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War and Peace: An LLM Alum’s Incredible Journey

Shadman Bashir

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view. Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

That famous quote from fictional lawyer Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s iconic book To Kill a Mockingbird has resonated with Shadman Bashir ’01 for nearly 30 years.

To Kill a Mockingbird played a very important role in my decision to become a lawyer,” recalls Bashir. “I do admit that I also watched almost any courtroom drama I could get my hands on.”

Originally from Pakistan, LLM alumnus Bashir first set eyes on California Western through the internet. “The first picture was enough to get me interested because it had the San Diego harbor in the background,” says Bashir. “The thought of studying at a law school so close to the ocean was too good for me to believe.”

Fulfilling his American Dream has been a long, hard journey for Bashir. In the shadow of 9/11, his path to permanent residence in the U.S. took him many years during which time he was unable to work. Despite facing discrimination, Bashir remained positive and above all patient. “My strength was positivity and hope,” recalls Bashir. “So the discrimination and negativity were not too much of a problem for me because I knew that one day all of this would eventually end.”

Finally, Bashir’s perseverance paid off when in 2013 he was appointed Visiting Professor of Law and International Relations at Dixie State University in Utah. He says it was the LLM degree from California Western that clinched the position for him. “It was one of the best moments of my life when I called my father in Pakistan and introduced myself as Professor Bashir. I will never forget the happiness and pride in his voice during that phone call. That would not have been possible without the hard work and support of my wonderful teachers at California Western,” says Bashir.

Today, Prof. Bashir teaches criminal law, criminal evidence, war and terrorism, global law, and business law at Dixie State and has an impressive array of speaking engagements behind him. He has spoken many times on war and terrorism and the metamorphosis of a person or group from love to hate. Among his six speaking engagements in 2018 was the Southern Utah University’s Annual Conference and the United States Military Academy WestPoint, where, as the invited guest speaker, he spoke on law and conflicts.

“I was always interested in understanding the concepts of law and warfare,” says Bashir. “Law represents the organized and war is a symbol of chaos. Human society survives in the balance between the organized and the chaos. In other words, law and war are the two walls within which humanity has survived.”

A published author, Bashir uses his legal academic background as a platform to investigate unique ideas and his research into the concepts of law and warfare is ongoing.

Bashir says he enjoyed every moment of his time at California Western and was glad to re-establish ties with the school after 17 years when he attended the recent Alumni gathering in Salt Lake City.

“It seemed as if I had met old friends after a very long time,” reveals Bashir. “It was a California Western family reunion, and I loved it.”