Born and raised in Miami, Suzanne Perez, JD '00, feels a strong connection to her community. She graduated with a degree in political science and communications from Florida State University and viewed law school as a "natural fit" for her interests. "I knew law school would give me a good background whether I went into law or business," she explained. "We are a society governed by laws."
She looks back on her time at the UM School of Law with appreciation. The friendships she formed and the close-knit community made a lasting impression. She was executive editor of the University of Miami International and Comparative Law Review as well as a participant on the International Moot Court Board. Perez recalled how accessible the professors were to the students. "There was always an open-door policy," she said, "if you had questions or wanted to discuss issues." In particular, Professor Susan Stefan influenced the way Perez viewed the law. "She taught Civil Procedure," Perez remembered, "and she really taught us how to critically think and analyze each word in each sentence."
Attention to detail is something Perez relies upon in her field of work. Since October of 2008, she has been the assistant general counsel of Norwegian Cruise Lines. She enjoys getting the opportunity to work with each department in the company. "I'm constantly learning different aspects of the business," she said. Prior to working at NCL, Perez was general counsel of EFC Holdings, Inc. and an attorney at Whisenand & Turner in Miami.
Perez is involved in a number of professional and civic organizations in the community, but she devotes much of her spare time and energy to the University of Miami Alumni Association. A board member since 2004, she has served on various committees. She is currently focusing her efforts on the annual fund and how to connect the alumni to the University more effectively. "We want students to keep that bond active once they graduate," she explained. There are a number of ways to be involved. Whether it is a donation of money or time, Perez believes the result is worth it. "Not only is it a great networking tool, but it's a place to bond with others who have the same interests," she said. "UM is very much a part of the community."
As the mother to two young children, Perez knows about time management, but separating work and family does not always come easily. "People want access to you all the time," she said. "Why should you do it Monday when you can get it out Saturday?" she asked, conveying what she often feels is expected of her. Sometimes, she gets the most work done at home. "Once everyone's asleep, you're actually able to concentrate and work quietly," she explained. When she is not working or volunteering, she enjoys the South Florida weather by boating and being outdoors with her family.