Abdurahman was told that things are starting to change for the better in Somalia. In September, there will be a presidential election, as the country hopes to set up its first stable government since 1991. That president-elect will then pick a new prime minister.
Abdurahman said many Somalians fled to Canada, England or the United States, became highly educated and are now giving up their comfortable lifestyles to return to Somalia to help rebuild. "They were there when it was dangerous and risked their lives," said Abdurahman. "It's gotten better and we have them to thank."
'RECONSTRUCTION AND HOPE'
The only thing missing, government officials told Abdurahman, was a legal presence. So Abdurahman talked it over with Bausch and they decided to visit Somalia and see it for themselves.
Even though family members and friends told them "don't go, it's very dangerous," the two lawyers left in July and visited Mogadishu. The Sahafi Hotel, where they stayed, provided the men round-the-clock security, especially for Bausch, who as an American was a potential kidnapping target.
Despite the warnings and danger, Bausch saw something else. "I saw reconstruction and hope," said Bausch. "I didn't see crime on the streets. I didn't see guys with guns. Open rebuilding is what I saw."
Abdurahman and Bausch met with six government cabinet members in Mogadishu and the public officials expressed their desire to have the Connecticut men come to Somalia and open a law office. The two lawyers wouldn't be handling criminal or immigration cases but other areas important to an emerging nation -- oil and gas law, maritime law, international trade and writing legislation.
As an example, the lawyers said, as Somalia opens back up to international business, American companies that have previously drilled for oil in regions with large petroleum reserves will likely try to reclaim their interests. "These companies will need someone to interpret these [new government] regulations and how it affects them," added Bausch. "Our focus is on getting business back to Somalia."
The two lawyers extended their stay in Mogadishu from four to eight days and registered with government officials so they could legally practice law there. Their American legal training and qualifications were sufficient. Abdurahman is licensed to practice in Connecticut. Bausch has been admitted to the bars of Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.
The two men intend to visit Somalia again in the fall and register to practice law in the Hargeisa region, which is in the northern part of the country and still has a separate government. Ultimately, Bausch and Abdurahman plan to open an office in a business district of Mogadishu. They plan to relocate there anywhere from six months to one year from now.