Moritz College of Law The Ohio State University
This Month @ Moritz

Katie Baltes '02 Representing U.S. in German Exchange Program for Lawyers

Katie BaltesKatie is one of 20 students from seven countries to be selected for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) which offers young lawyers the opportunity to gain unique insight into the structure and function of German law during an eight-month study/practical training visit to the Federal Republic. Designed for a small group of international participants, DAAD aims to support and encourage closer international links in the area of law and to improve mutual knowledge of the legal systems in other countries.

Katie's international life began when she spent her sophomore year of high school in a small town in southeastern Austria as an exchange student. Katie says, "I developed a strong interest in learning about other cultures and languages, which has influenced my career path."

As an undergraduate at Ohio State, Katie continued her study of German. Professor Kathy Corl encouraged Katie to combine her love of language with a business career. When Katie was trying to decide between pursuing an M.B.A. or a J.D., an OSU career counselor referred Katie to Dixon Miller, a Porter Wright Morris & Arthur attorney whose practice focuses on advising German clients about U.S. law.

Katie says Dixon Miller graciously invited her to visit his office and spoke with her at length about law school, the legal profession, and the opportunities she might have if she pursued a J.D.

"I knew very little about the legal profession as I'm the first in my family to become an attorney, so I was intrigued by the fact that Mr. Miller had built a practice in the areas of antitrust and international law, with a concentration in transactions involving German-speaking clients. I decided to enroll in law school and spent the summer between my first and second year working for Porter Wright in their Naples, Florida office, where I had the opportunity to work with German clients in German," says Katie.

Although Katie enjoyed the firm and Dixon Miller remains a mentor and friend to her, she headed for the northwest following graduation, joining Miller Nash. Katie located the DAAD program on the Internet and felt her language skills and career goals closely mirrored the purposes of the program. She was right. After being accepted, she requested a leave of absence from her firm. Not only did Miller Nash grant the leave, the firm offered other support including use of a laptop computer. She will return to the firm's business department upon completion of the program where she hopes to incorporate advising German clients about U.S. law into her practice.

What advice does Katie have for current students? "I highly recommend studying or working abroad. My advice to individuals interested in pursuing such a program is to be diligent in their search. There are many opportunities and you just have to be persistent. I am very satisfied the DAAD program and recommend it highly."