Many graduates from the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M., come from a diverse range of careers and pursued varied academic interests, internships, and externships during their time at Miami Law.
These alumni go on not only to work at prestigious international arbitration law firms, but also to take up leadership positions at deeply storied arbitral institutions and centers throughout the world.
Recent graduates from the International Arbitration LL.M.Program
Rekha Rangachari – New York International Arbitration Center
Rekha Rangachari is the executive director of the New York International Arbitration Center. This international non-profit has a multi-faceted mission: to host arbitrations and mediations in their hearing space, to promote New York as a premiere arbitral seat, and to educate the legal community with varied programming on international law and arbitration.
The J.D. `10 works with NYIAC’s founding firms and institutions coordinating incoming hearings, professional programs, and publications as well as meeting regularly with stakeholders in arbitration to discuss hot topics and best practices.
Since joining NYIAC in 2017, law student engagement has been a priority for Rangachari. “It reminds me fondly of my time at Miami Law and my introduction to this field. I took coursework like Basic Concepts in International Arbitration with Jan Paulsson, competed in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Competition with coaches John Rooney and Sandra Friedrich, and read many texts on these subjects while sitting on the Bricks with my teammates.”
Rangachari’s advice to those coming up in international arbitration is work hard and be tenacious. “Appreciate that the practice of international arbitration is evolving in parallel to its expansion, with opportunities beyond law firms, state entities, academic centers, and NGOs. If you can conceive of a need within the law, follow it through with panache and you may find yourself with the best fit position for your skill set.”
“Finally, build thoughtful connections with your peers, colleagues, and mentors, as you never know who may influence the next stage of your career, open the next door, or be your best ally,” she says.
Magaly Cobian – Atlanta Center for International Arbitration and Mediation
Peruvian native Magaly Cobian is the managing director of the Atlanta Center for International Arbitration and Mediation at Georgia State University College of Law.
The J.D.`10 graduate said her experience at Miami Law provided several benefits that provided the foundation for her career in international arbitration.
“First, Miami Law offers a valuable opportunity to learn legal theory and gain practical knowledge through real-world experience,” she says. While pursuing her LL.M. and later J.D. Cobian successfully represented Miami Law in the first edition of the Moot Madrid, the first Spanish-language international commercial arbitration competition.
“Remain open and be flexible,” she says. “If you do not find a job in international arbitration as soon as you finish law school, consider accruing experience in another area of law that can help you gain skills that will translate to a position in international arbitration, such as completing an internship with an arbitral institution or accepting a position that will help sharpen your advocacy skills.”
Nawazish Choudhury - Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution
After completing a year working in investment arbitration with Miami Law professor Carolyn Lamm at White & Case in Washington D.C., the British/Bangladeshi is now in Manama at the Bahrain Chamber for Dispute Resolution as the advisor to Miami Law professor Nassib Ziadé, BCDR’s chief executive officer, assisting in strengthening its presence as a leading arbitral institution in the wider MENA region. Some of Choudhury’s central tasks include updating the institution’s mediation rules, assisting in the management of arbitration cases and working on the BCDR International Arbitration Review.
Choudhury says the opportunities he was afforded at Miami Law – a “hot spot” for the study of international law – made all the difference in his legal career. “I was able to secure two international arbitration practicum placements at leading Miami law firms: GST LLP, a GAR 100-ranked international arbitration boutique law firm, co-founded by Miami Law alumni Mauricio Gomm and Quinn Smith, and Shutts & Bowen, which both gave me the opportunity to work with leading practitioners on highly interesting commercial arbitration cases.
“Even though as a practicing barrister I was not eligible to participate as a student advocate in International Moot Court, I sat as volunteer arbitrator and helped coach Miami Law’s student teams for both the Foreign Direct Investment International Arbitration Moot and the Vis Moot” he says. “Also, I was fortunate enough to work as a graduate research assistant to Miami Law’s International Arbitration Institute. I am absolutely certain that the variety and the number of posts I completed at Miami Law played a central role in my career success.”
Choudhury believes that much of his success can be attributed to being a “mootie,” proactively applying for nearly every one of the many opportunities sent out by the program administrators, keeping his resume always updated because opportunities come (and go) quickly, and taking every opportunity seriously. Though, he adds, it is also important to enjoy Miami. “Enjoy it,” he says. “Occasionally, go to the beach. Travel to Key West. Even Disneyworld! “
Ana Lombardia – International Center for Dispute Resolution
Spaniard Ana Lombardia, another International Arbitration Institute Scholar, is the international case director for the Miami office of the International Center for Dispute Resolution, a division of the American Arbitration Association that manages cases with certain international dimension.
The IA LL.M. `16 mostly works on cases with a connection to Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Based in Miami, the job is busy, especially with Miami which has propelled to second place for international arbitrations seated in the U.S., ahead of Washington, D.C.
“I monitor and track the proceedings throughout all their stages,” she says. “At the ICDR, we check that all stages of the proceedings are being conducted according to the parties’ agreement, and assist in moving forward the arbitrations. We also make administrative decisions as to the number of arbitrators, seat of the arbitration, language, etc., without prejudice of the arbitrators' final determination.”
Lombardia said that one of the features that was important to the ICDR when hiring her was that she was a Miami Law graduate and thus already familiar with the most prominent players in international arbitration in Miami. She said the various volunteering opportunities made available to International Arbitration students allowed her to meet many attorneys in the field during her studies and expand her professional network. “During my interview with the ICDR, I was asked if I had experience with different sets of arbitral rules. I happily answered that I had, thanks to the various classes I took in the International Arbitration program,” she says.
The program allowed Lombardia to rub elbows with the international arbitration community often. She would in turn reach out to contacts she met at events and conferences with questions about cases during her studies. “You would be surprised as to how willing they are to help you out!” she says. “Besides, this way they will assess your value as potential candidate or prospective employee.”
Supritha Suresh –Three Crowns LLP, Washington, DC
In November 2017, Young ICCA Scholar Supritha Suresh began clerking at the Washington, D.C. office of Three Crowns LLP, a boutique arbitration practice with offices in London, Paris, and in the district.
Before that, the IA LL.M. `17 was at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, where she worked closely with the deputies and counsel on case-related tasks, including undertaking arbitrator conflict checks, drafting working papers and researching issues that arise during administering a case.
“Both these positions helped me look at an individual case from a defined perspective, as well as recognize the importance of looking at overall case statistics from a panoramic lens, before I come to judgement,” the native of India says. “I look at my time at Miami Law as a foundation to my career, any which path it might take. I chose to do an LL.M. right after my Bachelor's because I wanted a solid academic understanding before I began practice.
“I came out of Miami Law with not only a better understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the field, but also with a primer on the practicalities. The classes in addition to various activities, such as moot courts, workshops with law firms, one-on-one advisory sessions, and several impromptu brain-storming sessions with classmates help one grow professionally as well as personally.”
Suresh said what worked for her at Miami Law was listening to her mentors and making the most out of every opportunity presented. “The International Arbitration LL.M. Program is a very malleable structure. It is what you want it to be. The Program Director and staff ensure that the year is as individualized as possible, diligently accommodating your every need,” she says. “In addition to more than a dozen different arbitration classes, there are a plethora of activities one can get involved in - moot courts, internships, research assistant positions, conferences and options to attend J.D. classes.
“Make the most of the program and sign up for everything! You will not regret it!”