As a middle schooler in southern Turkey, Husrev Ayten (LL.M. ’23) wanted to grow up to be the most influential person he knew: the governor of his home province.
Ayten could see that the governor was knowledgeable, a creative thinker, and, most importantly, a well-respected civil servant — not a politician.
Ayten also knew that the governor had gone to law school, and with that knowledge, his path became clear.
As the years passed, he experienced a country growing and changing in the new millennium. He became more aware of the conversations around him, picking up on political discussions and how they impacted the people he knew. The issue of justice was foremost in his mind.
“For me, setting the law and then practicing it to serve the people was most important,” he said.
His chance to follow this dream arrived right after high school. In Turkey, you can earn a law degree as an undergraduate, so Ayten entered Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul to pursue a bachelor of laws degree. The university sent him to Washington D.C. as an English language learner in his first year. He spent nine months perfecting his English on the campus of Bay Atlantic University, and there, he had an epiphany.
“When I was studying in the U.S. at 18, I saw how the world was becoming more globalized,” he recalls. “I knew I would need knowledge of more than one specific legal system and more than one perspective on the world.” This realization led him to pursue a semester abroad in Germany at Würzburg University where he studied German Law and European Union Law. Later he met two professors from Georgia State University College of Law who visited Bahçeşehir University and shared more about the programs that are available for international students.
“I always had a desire to do an LL.M. degree in the States. I was impressed with their way of thinking and the way they communicated with our class,” he remembered. Later, with his professor’s recommendation, Ayten decided that Georgia State Law was the law school he was going to apply to in the U.S.
Because he already had an LL.B., he began practicing at a prestigious international law firm in Istanbul. After practicing for two years, Ayten enrolled in Georgia State’s LL.M. program for foreign-trained lawyers. In fall 2022, he started the two-semester bar track program, a pathway that allows international students with completed law degrees to sit for the Georgia bar exam after graduation. Ayten recognized this as his best chance to nurture the broad, global perspective that he was looking for.
“This was a path that would give me a foundation for understanding how the law works in the U.S.,” he explained.
Ayten knows that building his understanding of legal systems around the world will make him a strong asset to law firms at home and abroad, something he learned from his years of practice in Istanbul. “When I started practicing, I had colleagues who were admitted to New York, England, and Wales as well as the Istanbul Bar Association, and I saw the positive effects of that in our business. People approached us when they needed a problem-solver because we were able to offer a background of diverse perspectives and experience.”
Adding to his experience, Ayten joined multiple student governance bodies during his time at Georgia State. Although he was only a student for two semesters of study, Ayten was elected as a senator to represent the College of Law for the GSU Student Government Association and was elected as the senator representing LL.M. students in the College of Law’s Student Bar Association.
In addition to assisting with social events like the Barrister’s Ball, and educational events like the 2023 Law Week: Legal Renaissance. Ayten used the experience to build relationships with others, helping him better understand the culture of Georgia State University.
After graduation, Ayten wants to continue developing his experience in the States first and then eventually go back to Turkey.
-Written by Lauren Allred