For as long as she can remember, Tushigjargal Bold LL.M. ’23 has enjoyed such a wide variety of interests that it’s been hard to focus on just one. As a little girl in Mongolia, Bold was fascinated by science, physics, and astronomy, but she also performed in singing competitions starting in kindergarten. She enrolled in a math-and-science-focused high school but also loved to write, and her favorite class was the study of the Mongolian language. With so much attracting her attention, she worried about finding a single field of study in college to satisfy her.
“There were all those different interests that didn’t make sense,” recalls Bold, who this year is in the LL.M. program at Harvard Law School as a Fulbright Scholar, and also is a recipient of a Delta Kappa Gamma World Fellowship, which supports international women pursuing graduate studies in the United States and Canada.
It took a world-famous detective to solve her dilemma.
In high school, Bold became a fan of the BBC TV series “Sherlock.” As its protagonist, Sherlock Holmes, cracked one tough mystery after another, he relied not only on logic but on a plethora of other skills, Bold realized. With a bit of her own deduction, she recognized that great lawyers, like private investigators, have broad expertise in logic, writing, and oral advocacy. They need to understand and connect with people, which Bold believes springs from an appreciation of humanity rooted in art and music. And so, as many of her high school classmates headed into math and science careers, Bold veered into a totally different field: law.
During law school at the National University in Mongolia, where Bold graduated at the top of her class in 2019, she found another interest: negotiation and arbitration. She competed on her school’s team in the Intercollegiate Negotiation Competition in Tokyo, Japan, where they were the first Mongolian team to win a certificate. In preparing for the competition, Bold and her classmates read the iconic negotiation text “Getting to Yes,” co-authored by Roger Fisher ’48, a pioneer in the field of international law and negotiation and the co-founder of the Harvard Negotiation Project. With the encouragement of one of her law professors in Mongolia, Manduul Altangerel LL.M. ’19, Bold decided to further her legal studies at Harvard Law.
But first, Bold worked for three years in a boutique law firm in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, that specializes in international arbitration, where one of her projects was advising a consortium of Mongolian, Japanese, and Chinese sponsors on the development of an off-grid hybrid wind/solar power project. “Because we were a small team, even though I was a junior associate I had the opportunity to work very much hands-on on the cases and issues,” she says. She also initiated a pro-bono project to advise a Mongolian nonprofit with a mission to end child abuse in its effort to expand at an international level. She also co-founded “Budeg Tsenkher Tseg” (Pale Blue Dot), an online educational platform and science club that has 18,000 followers.
Bold spent the summer of 2018 in Lawrence, Kansas at the University of Kansas as part of the U.S. State Department’s Study of the U.S. Institutes on Women’s Leadership Program, where she studied with “amazing women from all over the world.” Kansas, she allows with a laugh, “is very different from Cambridge,” but not so different from home. Because she lived on a farm with a family, “I felt like I was back at home with my grandparents. It felt like Mongolia.”
This year at Harvard Law School, Bold has taken several negotiation and arbitration courses, including the Negotiation Workshop, which offered some surprises. “You would think you’re learning about negotiation, but basically you’re learning about yourself, how your background and your culture and thinking influence how you behave in a negotiation,” she says. “I’ve learned a lot about myself in addition to learning how to be an effective negotiator.”
And in another indication of her broad interests, Bold’s favorite course was far afield from negotiation: “Constitutional Law: Separation of Powers, Federalism, and Fourteenth Amendment,” taught by Michael J. Klarman, the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History. “Professor Klarman’s class takes into account the social and political context and history that previously in law school, especially in Mongolia, I never thought about. It is so eye-opening,” says Bold.
“One advantage of Harvard is that the peer community is so amazing,” she continues. “The students in the classes there are all brilliant, so I have a chance to learn from my classmates as well as my professors. A good education is really important because I come from a middle-class family and my mom had to take out a loan to transfer me to a better high school,” she says. “It was one of the most life-changing moments because I had a chance to study with amazing people and amazing classmates in this new school. And coming to Harvard, it’s the same story.” Education, she says, “can change ordinary people’s lives. I’m really grateful for all the opportunities at HLS.”
Bold will sit for the New York Bar in July and plans to eventually return to Mongolia and become a law professor. This year, for the first time, a team from Mongolia — indeed, from her alma mater, the National University in Mongolia — competed in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and won the best new team award. “I’m so proud of everyone,” says Bold, who would like to someday coach the team.
Even as she focuses on her legal studies, Bold finds time for her other interests. When she needs to de-stress from studies, she heads to the piano practice rooms at Harvard, although she describes herself as a beginner. She’s also explored Boston’s cultural offerings, including seeing “Hamilton,” the hit musical. “I always wanted to experience it in real life, especially after Professor Klarman’s class,” she says.
Bold says that her favorite spot on campus is the roof of the Science Center, where she indulges her childhood passion in astronomy by peering at the skies through the Clay Telescope. “I’m very much an amateur but I love it,” she says. Did she spy anything she’d never seen before? She smiles and says, “Saturn and Jupiter.”
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