Jacqueline Jennifer Bronsdon Earns Inaugural LL.M. Award
This year, for the first time, the University of Virginia School of Law presented the LL.M. Graduation Award, recognizing an outstanding LL.M. student. The award went to Jacqueline Jennifer Bronsdon.
Before studying at UVA Law, Bronsdon, who holds dual German-American citizenship, studied law in Europe. Despite her dual citizenship, she said it was a new experience for her to spend an entire year in the United States.
The recipient of the award is chosen by the same faculty committee that picks the Margaret G. Hyde Award recipient, which recognizes an outstanding J.D. student. The honor comes with recognition at graduation as well as a monetary award.
Virginia’s Graduate Studies Program provides an American legal education to lawyers who have obtained their first law degree in their home countries. By maintaining a small and highly selective program of about 50 students, the Law School ensures a supportive atmosphere. LL.M. candidates take classes alongside J.D. students, allowing participants to fully engage in the community and plan their own coursework.
We talked to Bronsdon recently about why she pursued an LL.M. degree and the benefits of studying in Charlottesville.
Can you tell us a little bit about your education prior to UVA? Where did you study law previously?
Before attending UVA, I studied law at the University of Münster and passed the first state exam last year in April. During my studies, I spent a semester abroad at the University of Oslo, where I focused on antitrust and arbitration. Before starting to prepare for the first state exam, I participated in the Willem C. Vis Moot Court in Vienna and Hong Kong.
What kinds of professional legal experiences did you have before coming to work on your LL.M.?
Previously, I gained work experience through various internships in Germany and abroad. Before graduating from the University of Münster, I worked as a summer intern at Gleiss Lutz in Frankfurt and at Lansner & Kubitschek in New York City. Further, I also worked as an intern at the Federal Cartel Office in Bonn. After passing the first state exam, I worked in the Düsseldorf office of Hogan Lovells International as a research associate.
Why did you decide to pursue an LL.M. degree?
Throughout my studies, I never missed a chance to gain international experience. I enjoy becoming acquainted with people from all over the world. The experiences I had during my internship in New York City, the semester abroad at the University of Oslo, participating in the Willem C. Vis Moot Court as well as supporting incoming exchange students in Münster on a voluntary basis have been incredibly enriching to me.
Even before starting my law degree in Germany, it was clear to me that I would also obtain a foreign degree after graduation. As a dual U.S.-German citizen who has never lived in the United States for an extended period of time, obtaining an LL.M. in the United States seemed like the obvious choice.
Though I will surely benefit professionally from my international study and work experiences, I merely view this aspect as an incidental benefit. For me, the true value in participating in an international study program such as an LL.M. lies in the personal experiences I gain and the people I meet. I think it is very rewarding to spend time with people who are different from me, have different views of the world, and have various educational and professional as well as cultural backgrounds. It is natural to seek people who are culturally similar to oneself. Despite the ease of being around such people, I think it seriously limits the way in which one sees the world. Participating in an international program such as an LL.M. provided me with the opportunity to make friends with people from all over the world and to listen to stories about their countries. I think this type of experience can provide a much more accurate picture of other cultures and countries than any book or newspaper article ever could.
Last but not least, I am glad I got the chance to spend an entire year in the United States and to experience everyday life in a beautiful American college town.
What was your focus while at UVA?
Besides taking a few classes that were required for the bar exam, I focused on corporate law and arbitration. Also, I took Hallmarks of Distinguished Advocacy, which I can really recommend. Before taking the class, I thought public speaking was something people were just naturally good at. But as the course progressed, I realized how thorough preparation and working on seemingly minor issues can make a significant impact on effectively getting your point across.
Now that you’ve graduated, what’s next?
After returning to Germany, I will start a clerkship at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf. During this clerkship, I will work for an international law firm on their dispute resolution team. I am really looking forward to the different stages of the clerkship, as they give you a great insight into various fields of law. After that I will see where life takes me. I don’t have everything planned out yet. But I am certain that my career will include more international experiences.
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.