Law Alumna Uses Practicum to Shepherd Next Generation of International LLM Students


Aymee D. Valdivia Granda, J.D. ’10, is a lawyer at Holland & Knight in the International and Cross Border Transactional Practice, part of the firm’s business group. The Cuban-born, raised and trained attorney is also a member of Holland & Knight’s Cuba Action Team and recently became a partner of the firm. Before becoming a partner with one of the best law firms in the U.S., Valdivia came to Miami Law initially as an LL.M. student, transferred to the J.D. program, graduated with honors, and passed the Florida Bar.

Aymee D. Valdivia Granda, J.D. '10 and Miami Law student Priscila Sterenberg

As a graduate of the Universidad de La Havana law school, Valdivia brought several years of law practice in Cuba to her educational portfolio both at Miami Law and Holland & Knight, where she represents foreign and domestic clients in joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and a broad variety of commercial transactions, with a focus on Latin America and Cuba. Her international practice often involves working with foreign in-house and outside counsel on multijurisdictional projects. 

Alumna Has Ongoing Commitment to Miami Law LL.M. Students

Valdivia has continued her ties to Miami Law, welcoming LL.M. students during orientation sessions, and speaking on panels discussing the advantages and difficulties faced by foreign attorneys working as transnational lawyers in the United States as well as the legal and practical challenges of doing business in Cuba. The recently named partner also has taken on a current Miami Law student, Priscila Sterenberg, creating a practicum program under her supervision. 

“Miami Law gave me the invaluable opportunity to reestablish myself as a lawyer in the U.S. through the International Law LL.M. and the possibility of transferring to the J.D. in an environment that helps and encourages foreign attorneys, in some cases without any prior education in the U.S., to succeed in continuing their legal career,” Valdivia says. 

“I started the International Law LL.M. at Miami Law in 2007, when no other law school in South Florida offered a program like this. I am confident that Priscila, as well as the other Miami Law students, will be able to appreciate and take advantage of this great school,” she said. 

Practicum Opportunity Provides Insight to Legal Work in U.S.

“The practicum we created within Holland & Knight’s International and Cross Border Transactional Practice has the main purpose of providing Miami Law International LL.M. students with an opportunity to gain practical experience in the U.S. by working on real-life matters, and to interact with other great lawyers within the firm,” Valdivia said. 

"Our plan is to offer the program every Spring. Although we only offer one practicum position, I encourage every eligible student to apply. It’s a great opportunity.”

Sterenberg is completing the International and Cross-Border Transactions practicum at Holland & Knight. The 2019 LL.M. in International Law candidate was admitted to practice in Brazil in 2015, after graduating from Pontifícia Universidade Católica and a postgraduate degree in insurance law from Escola Nacional de Seguros, both in Rio de Janeiro.

Benefits Include Networking and Hands-On Experience

“Experiencing the day-by-day of a prestigious law firm in the U.S. has been amazing. The practicum program at Holland & Knight is giving me the opportunity to meet great lawyers and see the practicality of things that I’m learning at the University of Miami. I couldn’t be happier!” says Sterenberg. 

“The International Law LL.M. at the University of Miami is helping me to learn and understand the American legal system with the help of outstanding professors. The university has students from all around the world, and I have the chance to make a lot of new friends. It’s a great experience.”

Holland & Knight plans to continue accepting one student every year to introduce future practitioners to the practice. 

“We are very grateful to H&K and particularly to partner Aymee Valdivia for this initiative,” says Carmen Perez-Llorca, director of Miami Law’s International Graduate Law Programs

“Aymee knows from her own experience that it is not easy for an international student to restart a legal career in the U.S. She has been extraordinarily successful and is now generously providing an opportunity to help other International LL.M. students.”

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