Inaugural Berle Scholar brings corporate and international experience

(August 25, 2010) With a degree in economics from Columbia University, Sonja Carlson has professional experience with multinational corporations. She has worked in New York, Paris, Tel Aviv, and Seattle, including time at KPMG and Deloitte performing transfer pricing analysis, as well as at Corbis Corporation.


Carlson's experiences living and working overseas sparked her desire to pursue legal studies, and led to her being named Seattle University School of Law's inaugural Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Scholar. The scholarship is given to a student who has a keen intellectual interest in understanding the nature of modern society - particularly the nature of the modern corporation and its intersection with law and society. As the Berle Scholar, she will be involved with the work of Adolf A. Berle, Jr. Center on Corporations, Law and Society.

"Law is a field of work that is very powerful," she said. "The legal system is intertwined with societal structure. I'm very interested in how corporations influence our society and globalization."

Most recently, Carlson's involvement in a prolonged custody dispute over her son confirmed her desire to attend law school. Even though she was somewhat savvy about the court system thanks to her academic studies and prior experience navigating systems at home and abroad, being involved in such an intimate legal dispute was a humbling experience - one that caused her to examine power structures from a new perspective.

Knowing that many people confront similar situations with few resources and/or little understanding of the legal system, she hopes to focus at least a portion of her professional efforts on women's human rights, including family law and domestic abuse.

Carlson enjoys analyzing societal issues from varying perspectives. In fact, she initially chose to enter the field of economics because she appreciated viewing such issues from a 'scientific' perspective rather than a purely 'public policy' oriented one. Combined with her cross-cultural experiences living abroad, this fits well with the work of the Berle Center and her desire to study law.

"It really is interesting for me to see the different ways that people hold and view the world, and how it shapes the context of their lives," Carlson said.


School of Law Annex classroom