Mo’taz Arshied ’20 LL.M.: The Startup Champion

As they wrapped up their final semester from their homes because of the COVID-19 crisis, six members of the Class of 2020 shared their most memorable Law School experiences and what’s next.

Hometown: Jerusalem 

Why the law? Mo’taz Arshied learned early that law could be a serious tool for change. He lived through the second intifada in Jerusalem, in the early 2000s. Fourteen years earlier, during the first intifada, Arshied’s father filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Israel arguing that the military curfew in place was blocking access to courts and was thus unconstitutional and violated the due process rights of every Palestinian resident living in Israel. “In spite of the second intifada being a tragic event in history, courts were accessible,” he says. “That was one of the most influential experiences that attracted me to law.”

Why Columbia? Arshied felt an immense sense of pride when he received his acceptance letter from Columbia Law. He says the experience has enabled him to make connections with people from different countries and learn from their backgrounds.

Advice: “Columbia Law has a rich selection of courses, so be thorough, take your time, and research all of your options and the faculty because otherwise, you could miss out on opportunities.”

Fun fact: He likes to decompress by playing soccer (or football “because that’s the actual name of it,” he says) with his fellow students. 

Outside the classroom: Immigrant Youth Advocacy externship, the Legal Aid Society.

Career plans: Arshied plans to return to Jerusalem and focus on startup and technology law with the hope of assisting Palestinian startups and reducing economic inequality in Israel.