Foreign-trained LL.M. graduates consistently attribute their professional success to the network, career opportunities and knowledge they obtain during their time at the University of Miami School of Law. Yet it is the practical opportunities they take advantage of, especially via externships, that often stand out for them.
One of Miami Law’s career advisors, Yazmyne Vasquez Eterovic who specifically assists foreign-trained law students, has a few ideas why this is. “Externship positions with in-house counsel are often where foreign lawyers get hands-on experience. The benefits for foreign lawyers are they improve their English, know about what’s going on in the legal market in the U.S., and they make connections that in the end can serve as references.”
Aline Nogueira Schmiedt, Marina Moreno, and Mercedes Caycedo
One such graduate is Mercedes Caycedo of Venezuela LL.M. ‘16 in International Law: U.S. & Transnational Law for Foreign Lawyers. She is now working as a Legal Affairs Support Specialist at LATAM Corporate for Microsoft in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and works in the area of compliance investigations.
Caycedo attributes much of her success in law school and in her career to the hands-on opportunities available to her while studying at Miami Law. “The LL.M has been key in my professional development, not only academically but also in terms of job opportunities. The LL.M offered me the possibility to participate in the Externship Program and apply for a one-year internship at Microsoft Corporation (part of an alliance between Microsoft Latin America and UM), that was followed by an offer to become a full-time employee within the company," she said.
Another graduate who is now an Associate at Jones Day in Washington, D.C. is Marina E. Moreno who received her LL.M. in International Law: U.S. & Transnational Law for Foreign Lawyers in 2013.
Originally from Madrid, Moreno says “after a year at UM I became proficient in English and learned a different legal system. As a result, I wanted to explore my chances in the United States so I looked for a job and took the bar. Once I passed the bar and had been working for a little more than a year, the opportunity came and I joined the international law firm I am currently working at. This would not have been possible without the LL.M.”
She is also thankful for the ongoing friendships formed during her LL.M. year and recalls attending every gathering and social activity for LL.M. students. “It was a fantastic opportunity to spend time with LL.M. classmates and learn from their professional experiences. Now, I have friends who can assist whenever I need a lawyer in other jurisdictions.”
“My LL.M. was a fundamental step to expand my career internationally. I participated in every networking opportunity, and they have incredible value especially to foreign attorneys who are new to the Miami legal market,” says Aline Nogueira Schmiedt of Brazil, LL.M. ‘16 in International Law: U.S. & Transnational Law for Foreign Lawyers who now works as Legal Counsel at International Materials, Inc.
When asked about Miami Law she feels it “broadened my professional horizon” and that the career development was unparalleled. ”I’d say one of the highlights of my LL.M. year was the Legal Externship - the contacts I made through this externship, direct or indirectly, opened the doors for other job opportunities for me so I am very grateful for this experience.”
“Finally, the Bar preparation provided me not only great advice but also the emotional support that is required to successfully navigate through the ‘bar prep marathon.’ My network of contacts from my LL.M. allows me today, when faced with an international legal need, to reach out to my colleagues and identify local counsels almost anywhere in the world.”
Many of the positions LL.M. students secure originate from Miami Law’s position as the only school to be part of Juncadella Corporate Counsel Group-JCCG (formerly the South Florida Group of Regional Counsel), an entity made up of more than 300 members from 250 multinational companies.
Vazquez Eterovic concurs, “The main theater is in-house for the foreign-trained attorney and the access to this group of in-house counsels either based in South Florida or who do work primarily related to the Latin America and Caribbean region gives students opportunities.
“This is the best market to be a foreign-trained lawyer because our LL.M. students have an advantage – they know the region and often a second or third language that a company is looking for.”