Meet the Graduates
Meet the Graduates
Graduates talk about their experiences at Virginia Law
Carlos Ibarguengoitia Zugarramurdi '16
“There were many reasons for me to come to UVA, among others: its academic excellence; its flexibility to design a high-quality, multi-disciplinary program; and the fact that UVA seeks to create a true community (with all that that implies). Although in the past I came many times to the United States as a tourist, the experience of being part of the community has been wonderful — so much to learn, contribute and enjoy.”
Satoko Miyashima '16
“I worked for five-and-a-half years as an associate at one of the leading law firms in Japan. My practice focused mainly on structured finance, real estate investment trusts and private equity. UVA Law offers a lot of courses concerning business organization and finance, which are strongly related to my current practice. In addition, the number of members in the LL.M. program at UVA Law is quite small in comparison to other law schools. This has helped me proactively involve myself in the UVA community and build close relationships with my classmates.”
Dean Fernandez '13
"There is something special about the University of Virginia — amongst many other things you are constantly humbled by history, standing on the shoulders of Thomas Jefferson and his intellectual progeny. As a top-10 law school, at UVA you are at once intimidated by the rigorous courses, formidable students and professors — truly the cream of the crop — but at the same time you are inexorably asked to step up your own game and contribute to the legal community here in Charlottesville. Apart from the classes in which you study with J.D. students and are taught by highly engaging professors, during lunch and after hours there are a whole host of interesting seminars, conferences and colloquia held at the law school where you can supplement your American legal education, presented by esteemed public figures and practitioners in the United States, many of whom are UVA Law alumni. During my time here, I’ve attended numerous dinners at professors’ homes; they are warm in their welcome of international students and interested in our legal careers and lives.
"Unlike most top-10 law schools, UVA has a reputation for collegiality and a healthy social life in addition to academics. I was encouraged to get involved in extracurricular clubs and societies, law journals, softball games and public service projects in the Charlottesville community. You can socialize well with J.D.s and other LL.M.s at the Corner, downtown, and at various marquee events held by the Law School throughout the year.
"The best thing about studying for an LL.M. at UVA is spending time with and getting to know your fellow LL.M. students. Perhaps because of our small number, we formed close ties and strong friendships during our year here. I was impressed by the caliber of my LL.M. colleagues — leading lawyers and scholars in their home countries — and learned from them as much as I did from the classes I attended. For any lawyer looking for inspiration — be it through escalating their skills in the corporate sector, immersing themselves in constitutional theory or in igniting their passion for public service, like me — studying an LL.M. at the University of Virginia School of Law is the place to go."
Carmen Tiburcio '98
Carmen Tiburcio LL.M. '87 S.J.D. '98 is an international law consultant and a professor of private international law at the School of Law of the State University of Rio de Janeiro. She was chosen to lecture on private international law at The Hague in 2017, one of the highest honors for scholars. Tiburcio said studying at Virginia Law "was a fantastic experience both at the personal, academic and professional levels."
One of the things that made Virginia stand out was its library. "I know many other libraries, both in the U.S. and in Europe, and I have no doubt to affirm that UVA's law library was the best I have ever known, not only because of its collections but mainly because of the fantastic librarians who helped me a lot during the completion of my LL.M. and S.J.D. degrees."
Guilhereme Azevedo Alves '18
Maria Londono '18
“The LL.M. program at the University of Virginia School of Law is small and selective. Students in the program can enroll in any class offered in the J.D. program, including first-year courses. UVA Law professors are friendly and approachable.
“In addition to the academic rigor of a top-10 program, UVA Law provides students with opportunities to build strong professional and personal networks that will last a lifetime. Students and alumni of UVA Law are renowned for their kindness and collegiality. Having studied side-by-side with them this year, I can attest that they live up to their reputation. UVA Law instills students with everything it stands for: excellence, integrity and solidarity. I will be joining Clifford Chance’s New York office after graduation and will continue to be a part of the UVA family. I know I will keep in touch with the LL.M.s and J.D.s I met during my time at UVA and that we will continue to support each other as we build our legal careers.”
Shafira Putri '18
“Being a part of UVA Law has broadened my perspective in many ways. Instead of taking courses that closely related to my practice as a corporate lawyer, I have used the opportunity of studying here to learn about subjects that are outside of my comfort zone, ranging from courses concentrating on implicit bias with Professor Dayna Matthew to human rights with Professor Mila Versteeg. The other thing I would like to point out is how amazed I am with the vast attention that the faculty gives to the students. All of the school-sponsored lunches and dinners provide a different room for professors and students to interact, exchange thoughts and learn from each other. Combined with the allocation of office hours, the amount of dedication that UVA Law professors show for the students is top-notch. Aside from that, their appearance at the Libel Show clearly depict each of them as fun and cool individuals. I did not expect to be as highly entertained as I was.
“I also had many chances to attend events at the Law School and the University that addressed and unpacked heavily debated legal, political and social issues, both domestically and internationally. By participating in these discussions with other fellow students and faculty, it taught me how to express my opinions while learning from others demonstrating totally different points of view. UVA Law and many of the student organizations must be applauded for their constant work in ensuring the Law School community engages in these conversations.
“All in all, UVA Law is not just your regular top-10 law school. It’s a place where I will always call home because it was a place that helped me grow, not only as a lawyer, but as a better person.”
Thierry von Aarburg '18
“I chose UVA Law because of its excellent reputation, the great student-faculty ratio and class sizes, and the large number of courses, as well as its location. The staff and the talented faculty are very motivated and always willing to help. Furthermore, I was positively surprised by the versatile backgrounds of my professors and how accessible they are. The atmosphere among the students is very collegial and I appreciate the many sport and leisure options the University provides. UVA Law offers you everything you need to have a successful and interesting LL.M. experience.”
Daniel I. Parodi '18
One of the most remarkable things about the School of Law is how smart the J.D.s are. The questions and interactions between students and professors are brilliant. This — along with professors who are true experts in their areas and LL.M.s that bring knowledge and experience from around the world — makes the UVA Law classroom experience unique, as well as extremely challenging. The full integration between LL.M.s and J.D.s is something extraordinary.
Vicente Valdes '19
“My overall experience at UVA Law was great. During the yearlong LL.M. program I had exposure to real American life in Virginia, the birthplace of the U.S. and a state that has had a key role on its history.
“Additionally, you can have the big campus experience, with the opportunity to attend to film and book festivals, concerts and sports events. I will never forget celebrating with my LL.M. fellows when UVA won the NCAA basketball tournament. Without a doubt that experience strengthened the bonds among us.
“In the classroom my experience was even better. Before the LL.M., I worked almost five years in capital markets, doing deals involving the U.S. market. In six months, I gained more insight and knowledge about securities regulation here than my previous years studying and working in my country.
“Finally, almost each week there were events, conferences, debates and speakers addressing legal, political and social issues. One remarkable moment was to attend the interview of retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.”
Eliane Vieira Da Motta Mollica '19
“The UVA LL.M. program combines academic rigor with the genuine warmth and friendship of an internationally diverse community, where you get inspired and led by highly accomplished professors to become the best version of yourself personally and professionally.”
Matheus Azevedo Bastos De Oliveira '19
“UVA Law met every expectation I could have had in my pursuit of an LL.M. degree. Apart from being a top-tier law school in the U.S., UVA provides a springboard for the development of my professional, academic and social skills.
“UVA has definitely provided me with what I needed to achieve a new level in my legal career. As a lawyer of a law firm with a strong international profile, thanks to UVA I have gotten extra tools to provide better assistance to my international clients.
“I also feel ready to contribute to the Brazilian legal community. An LL.M. candidate at UVA enjoys a great variety of courses offered each semester, featuring traditional legal courses with innovative research developed by its skilled faculty. I will never forget the debates proposed by Dean Risa Goluboff in many of my Constitutional Law classes, nor the insightful thoughts about the stock market made by Professor Quinn Curtis in corporations classes.
“In addition to a rigorous schedule and long hours studying at the library, an LL.M. student at UVA will also enjoy a community ready to embrace international students. Being part of UVA student groups and sharing social activities with J.D.s and the local community helped me build a solid network and enhance social skills in an international environment. I have no doubt I have made friends for life at UVA.”
Cosi Piehler '19
“At UVA, you get the best of both worlds: Amazing academic opportunities surrounded by incredibly beautiful nature. The professors are genuinely interested in their students and are always available for questions and to give advice. The small classes allow for a lot of discussion about legal questions in the broader societal context. This creates a great environment for professional, but also personal development. As an additional benefit, Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains offer amazing hikes and views for a change of pace on the weekends.”
Yumiao Wang '20
Molly Cain '20
Who I was then: I went to Stanford University, where I majored in economics and public policy. I then spent two years before law school at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C., doing policy research and rapid response work.
Amazing law school class: There are so many to choose from! I loved Law of the Police with Rachel Harmon and recommend it to everyone. It's an eye-opening class on an area of law rarely talked about in law school that has huge impacts on the lives of many, and Professor Harmon is the expert on the subject! Definitely take at least one class with Michael Gilbert. I loved both his Legislation and Regulation of the Political Process (aka Election Law) classes. Election Law is particularly critical now the coronavirus era, so take that class! Evidence with Gregory Mitchell was the most entertaining class I took in law school. And take clinics — they are wonderful ways to serve people with your legal skills and to meet some incredible lawyers. I loved the Civil Rights Clinic at the Legal Aid Justice Center, where I was able to visit clients in prison and help with an Eighth Amendment class action. And the Appellate Litigation Clinic with Scott Ballenger is just a dream — I was able to advocate for an incarcerated client's constitutional rights while being supervised by one of the top appellate lawyers in the country, and it is an opportunity I will never forget.
Outside class: A lot of my time was spent with the Peer Advisor Program, where I was a Peer Advisor as a 2L (go F-Bombers) and the head PA, along with Ben Elron, as a 3L. I was also the co-director of the National Lawyers Guild (with my friend Kaitlin Cottle ’20), a quarterfinalist (shoutout to my partner Read Mills ’20) in and board member on the William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition, vice president of voter protection for the Virginia Law Democrats (sign up to do voter protection everyone, it’s super important) and a fellow in the Program in Law and Public Service. I also was a legal observer at protests and other events in Charlottesville with the Central Virginia chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.
Favorite outing/activity to unwind: I know it’s cliche, but I loved all the softball at UVA Law. I think it's an incredible way to see your classmates and talk about something other than school. Some of my fondest memories in 1L include hanging in the outfield with sectionmates while my section did batting practice before games, and I’ve made some great friends from softball. In 3L, I umped a lot of 1L games and loved meeting the new law students. Even despite the concussion I got the day before the MPRE (it was an accident, and I passed the MPRE!), I'd recommend spending some time at the softball field, even if it’s just to cheer.
Noteworthy summer job: I spent both my summers at incredible civil rights organizations. My first summer, I was at the ACLU of Virginia, which was a life-changing experience that got me very interested in First Amendment issues and the constitutional rights of incarcerated people. My second summer, I was able to work at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which was a dream of mine and a wonderful experience where I focused on policing discrimination and death penalty issues.
What’s next: I am so excited to clerk for Judge Carlton W. Reeves ’89, in Jackson, Mississippi, and then for Judge Henry Floyd on the Fourth Circuit in South Carolina. And then, after that, I hope to be a civil rights attorney focused on the constitutional rights of those impacted by the criminal justice system.
Who I am now: My three years at UVA Law have definitely changed me for the better and I am so grateful for my time here. I have learned so much and have been given so many wonderful opportunities to meet incredible friends and mentors, to intern at places I dreamed about and to gain skills to advocate for my future clients. I am a University of Virginia School of Law grad who will use this degree to fight for the rights of others and to do the work of justice.
What you should know about Virginia Law: First, that you belong here. Imposter syndrome and crises of confidence are issues I and many others battled during law school. You are not alone if you feel the same way. Reach out to your Peer Advisors, friends and professors if you need the pep talks to keep you going. I definitely needed a lot of them. Second, get to know your professors! They want to get to know you, I promise. Third, don’t be afraid to have tough conversations about issues and causes you believe in. UVA Law’s spirit of collegiality is wonderful and there is plenty of room within that culture to speak your mind. It makes us all better lawyers and advocates. And fourth, get involved in the public interest community and routinely ask yourself what you will do with the privilege of a UVA legal education to make things better for those who need it most.