Arnold Luschin (‘06): God has a Plan for You

By Ashleigh Wilson December 12, 2023

Arnold Luschin, Senior Legal Counsel at Volkswagen Group, knows what it means to hold on to hope and trust in God’s plan. While Arnold was serving a mission in France, his mission president gave a talk entitled “Roller Coasters,” comparing the ups and downs of a rollercoaster ride with the incredible highs and heart-wrenching lows that everybody experiences. Looking back, Arnold recognizes that his mission president’s analogy for life was more accurate than he expected.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in French from BYU, Arnold enthusiastically approached his legal coursework at BYU Law. He studied diligently and contributed to study groups with top classmates. However, Arnold was disheartened to receive his graduation letter that ranked him 139 of 158, firmly in the bottom half of his class.

Looking for work after graduation, Arnold and his wife, Amanda, moved to Texas and studied for the bar exam. Eager to get a full-time job doing “real” lawyer things, he took the Texas bar, but scored 1% short of passing. Arnold describes his experience of surviving law school only to fail the bar exam as an “emotional burden.” Unable to work as a licensed attorney, he started doing document review work as a temp job. While working and taking care of his family, Arnold studied even harder, preparing to take the bar exam again. Excited to beat his last score, he walked in, full of confidence, for the February test only to find out months later he had failed for a second time. Even more discouraging, it seemed all his friends and classmates were successfully working as licensed attorneys in prominent law firms, clerking for judges or working in other exciting legal positions, while he was struggling just to get licensed and find a job. 

As Arnold worked and studied for the bar a third time, Amanda became seriously ill and was in and out of the hospital. The combination of his wife’s ill health and discouragement about his career left Arnold feeling completely overwhelmed; he began to feel like he was drowning. Praying for the third time to be the charm, Arnold studied and took the bar exam again—only to fail once more. Discouraged, indebted, exhausted, and stressed, he found himself asking, “What am I doing with my life? What does God want me to do?” He had invested innumerable hours earning a law degree, taken out student loans, and attempted the bar multiple times; now he felt “confused, disappointed, like a fraud,” and like he had “thrown money out the window” at a time when his family needed him.

From the time he graduated from law school without a job offer, Arnold’s parents suggested that he and his family join them in Germany. For the first two years after law school, leaving for Germany didn’t feel right; however, a prompting urged Arnold and his family to consider moving overseas. Despite mounting debt and Amanda’s sickness, Arnold flew to Germany to look for a job. He did everything he could to find work; he sent out resumes, contacted people, and interviewed with a headhunter. But nothing seemed to come of his efforts.

Upon his return to the U.S. Arnold received a call from the headhunter he’d met with, informing him that a law firm wanted to interview him if he was willing to come back. Both Arnold and Amanda had a distinct spiritual prompting that they needed to move to Germany and they acted on the prompting. The day after he and his family returned to Germany, Arnold interviewed at Clifford Chance, one of the largest international law firms, with thousands of lawyers worldwide. Despite not yet having passed the bar, Arnold was offered a position as a transactional lawyer for Clifford Chance in their Frankfurt office.  He later learned that the partner who hired him didn’t have permission to hire an associate until the exact time that Arnold and his wife felt prompted to move there. Although it took two years after earning his JD to get a full-time job in the legal field, Arnold attributes the divine lineup of events to God’s timing. Throughout his hardships, he felt God was telling him, “I need you somewhere, it’s just not available yet.”

Thrown into the deep end of big law, Arnold worked extreme hours, billing nearly 3,000 hours annually. Encouraged by Clifford Chance to take the New York bar exam, he spent what little extra time he had studying. Despite the jetlag, his previous bar exam record, and New York’s reputation as one of the nation’s hardest bar exams, Arnold flew to New York in July to take the exam. His faith and perseverance paid off and he finally got what he had worked hard for so long – he was a member of the New York State Bar and a licensed, practicing attorney. 

Expecting to struggle in an intense, cutthroat environment while working in big law, Arnold was surprised to find that “[the firm] was exactly what [he] needed.” With his great people skills and strong work ethic, Arnold thrived at Clifford Chance. During his time there, Arnold had several incredible missionary experiences, including the opportunity to share the Plan of Salvation with the family of a friend from work who passed away. “God is present, even in the world of high financial transactions,” Arnold insists.

While at Clifford Chance, one of the partners suggested Arnold apply for an in-house secondment position with one of his clients, Volkswagen Group, which was looking for a U.S. licensed lawyer to come for six months and help deal with a wave of patent litigation lawsuits that had been filed against the company. When Arnold proposed applying to work at Volkswagen to Amanda, she answered, “The Holy Ghost told me that they’re going to make you an offer; it will change and shape your career and we’re going to end up living there for a long time.” Willing to follow this prompting, Arnold interviewed at Volkswagen, received an offer he couldn’t refuse, and moved with his family to Wolfsburg.

Arnold’s six-month assignment in patent litigation has now lasted for more than a decade, and has led to numerous exciting positions helping Volkswagen with a variety of legal challenges. For several years, Arnold was the Volkswagen Group department head of “Brand Protection” i.e. U.S. IP litigation and anti-counterfeiting work. Arnold later worked on Volkswagen Group’s Compliance Monitorship and then as the Head of the EPA Auditorship, maintaining the agreements entered into between U.S. Government Agencies (DOJ, EPA, etc.) and Volkswagen Group. More recently, Arnold has prepared contracts for buying the raw materials required for electric vehicle batteries. 

While career paths into international work are seldom as direct as those for domestic jobs, Arnold encourages law students and graduates to explore these opportunities, especially for those who speak a second language. Many international companies need U.S. attorneys, and BYU Law graduates uniquely fit the bill.

In balancing his time as a father, husband, bishop, and Senior Legal Counsel at Volkswagen, he recognizes God’s guidance has helped him end up where he needs to be, with experiences “so amazing that I wouldn’t have even imagined them for myself.” Arnold explains, “It didn’t always feel like God was guiding me. But there were times when God’s hand was clearly present, small touch points. Moments that He would say, ‘I’m here.’” 

As someone who failed the bar exam three times before rising to the upper management of a global automobile manufacturer, Arnold insists, “Life really is like a rollercoaster. The vital message is that God knows you.” When asked what advice he has for current law students, Arnold reiterated, “Even if you don’t have a job when you graduate, even if you fail the bar one, two, or three times, God knows you; He cares for you, and He has a plan for you, even if it is definitely not what you had in mind.”