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LLM Students in Focus: Coming to America by Eugenio Briales Gomez-Tarragona

Above: Georgetown University, where Gomez-Tarragona completed his LLM

This article is the first in a series of first-person testimonials from overseas in-house counsel about their career journeys.

Eugenio Briales Gomez-TarragonaI joined Citibank's legal department as a counsel in 2011 and was based in Madrid, Spain, where I worked on the EU framework for investment intermediaries and transparent trading under the European Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID). I knew from my time studying law at Complutense University in Madrid that I wanted to pursue a career in international finance and commercial law.

I have always been interested in the intersection of economic policy and rulemaking. I enrolled in Georgetown's public policy program to better understand the policies behind the legal rules that govern human relationships. After graduation, I got simultaneously involved with different projects at the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) where I concentrated on cross-border lending and restructuring, secured transactions and debtor/creditor rights regimes at large.

The next career step was enrolling in an international law school that offered a Master's program with a concentration in banking, finance and securities law. Georgetown provided the proximity to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) that made a truly hands-on environment of study. I worked at these organizations while pursuing a part-time LLM degree in securities and financial regulation that will heighten my knowledge in preparation for the New York State bar examination. One of the great benefits of the LLM degree is the ability to sit for the bar examination in certain US states.

Through this program, I was able to meet and interact with senior financial leaders, high-ranking government officials, policy-makers and distinguished academics from the United States and worldwide that allowed me to explore a broad range of important issues in financial regulation, ranging from financial debt restructuring, securitization, and cross-border banking to economic sanctions and sovereign bonds through the international and domestic financial infrastructure lenses.

Many people don't see the value of an LLM. An LLM is much more than the subjects you study. International students may approach the program as a short version of a JD or as a specialized LLM. The passion, energy and commitment to the program and the network of diverse and interesting people (faculty members, classmates, mentors, career advisors, etc.) that I found on my way is more important than the a priori marketability of the LLM and is what will define my success after graduation.

I want to use my language skills and knowledge of complex multijurisdictional legal issues as an in-house counsel working for a US bank or corporation. Additionally, this combination will put me in a comparatively advantageous position if I seek to practice outside the United States. 

While at Georgetown, I worked with numerous governments in Latin America and the Caribbean, contributed to the revision of international standards and model legislation, presented at professional and academic institutions and, most importantly, made lifelong friendships with people from around the world because the 2015 graduating class comprises over 70 different nationalities. Shortly before graduation I was appointed visiting scholar at Harvard Law School in the United States, where I will continue to challenge myself as I prepare to become a corporate in-house advisor. 

I believe lawyers in the United States could benefit greatly from an LLM from Instituto de Empresa (www.ie.edu) or other similar programs in Spain. Among the advantages of such programs are an opportunity to gain significant competitive advantage through continuing legal education, training and experience-based qualifications in the statutory civil law system a more nuanced understanding of how the European Union functions, and the ever-useful Spanish language.

About the Author

Eugenio Brialies Gomez-Tarragona is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard University Law School.



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