RWU students, faculty and
alumni in the community
ack in the 90s, international business
lawyer Randall Lewis ’97 was just
another West Coast kid who wanted
to break into film. He majored in
communications at Cal State - Northridge,
hoping to land a job on the business side of
the industry. When the offers didn’t come,
he speculated that a law degree might be
the ticket to better opportunities.
A friend doing his doctorate at Brown
University suggested that Lewis come check
The Accidental Lawyer
Randall Lewis ’97 developed a lucrative
International Law practice by carving
a unique niche in Asia
By Michael M. Bowden
out Rhode Island – a new law school had
recently opened just down the road. Happy
for a change of scenery, Lewis enrolled in
RWU Law’s second entering class.
Three years later he returned to
California, J.D. in hand, passed the bar and
jumped back into the job market. There were
still no film-related bites, but he got a decent
offer from an L.A. law firm. The catch?
They needed him to work in their Shanghai,
China, office for the first six months. After
that, they said, he could “come back to L.A.
and choose any practice you want.”
Though never much interested in
international affairs, Lewis reluctantly agreed,
counting the days until his return home.
At the end of the six-month term, however,
his firm said they needed him to stay on in
Shanghai; there was still no position available
in the L.A. office. Lewis quit. “I had absolutely
no interest in International Law,” he says. “As I
saw it, being in China was purely an accident.”