Miami Law International Arbitration LL.M.’s Working Summer

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Students in the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. program jump started their post-graduate careers by spending the summer at firms and institutions around the world. The program develops practitioners that are well rounded and ready to enter the field of International Arbitration. The program's internationally-renowned arbitration faculty and staff provide students with ongoing personal advice and structural support in planning and advancing their careers in the field.

Ecuadorian-American Brian Vaca, J.D./LL.M. '16, worked at White & Case, in Washington, D.C., on Jonathan Hamilton’s Latin American Arbitration Team; he had taken Hamilton’s class as part of the International Arbitration LL.M.

“As a summer associate at White & Case, in just 10 weeks I have gotten the true Latin American arbitration experience,” Vaca said. “Throughout my first four weeks I worked closely with Jonathan Hamilton's team in Washington, D.C. researching issues related to an investment treaty claim. Thereafter, I spent a week in White & Case's Mexico City office for pre-hearing preparation with partner, Rafael Llano, on an ICC commercial arbitration case. Llano's team then invited me along to help in the hearing, which took place in Miami for the following two weeks. My contributions included drafting a pre hearing procedural proposal, preparing the quantum expert witness to present/testify, and preparing the closing argument presentation, among other tasks.’

Vaca passed the Florida Bar last summer after his J.D. studies, and will be returning to White & Case this Fall as a regular associate.

Ukrainian Volodymyr Ponomarov, LL.M. August 2017 and International Arbitration Institute Scholar worked at White & Case, in Washington, D.C. on Carolyn Lamm’s International Arbitration Team. Ponomarov had taken Lamm’s class as part of the International Arbitration LL.M.

“It has always been my goal to be a part of White & Case international arbitration team. In the course of one-year experience at the University of Miami, my LL.M. International Arbitration Program provided me with every tool, so that I could achieve it,” Ponomarov said. “In terms of my experience with White and Case, working with Professor Lamm’s team is both enriching and challenging. It gives me knowledge and practical experience, which I won’t be able to get in any other law firm. Even half a year ago, I couldn’t imagine that I would be actively involved in cases of such magnitude and importance. Working with first-rank attorneys of White & Case teaches me how to achieve the highest level of excellence in the legal profession.”

Ponomarov has joined White & Case as an international attorney.

Spanish-American Michael Rodriguez, J.D./LL.M. candidate, worked at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C.

“The International Arbitration LL.M. gave me direction and training; direction by introducing me to this field, which has become my passion, and training, by giving me the tools to become a successful practitioner,” Rodriguez said. “This summer, at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, I was fortunate to work on a variety of international assignments, including FATF, WTO, and ICC matters. It was an incredible experience, and I will be joining the firm as an associate in 2018. I am extremely grateful for the International Arbitration LL.M. program and its professors. I would not be where I am today without this program, period.”

Rodriguez will be joining Arnold & Porter as a regular associate after graduating from the International Arbitration J.D./LL.M. next year.

Alexander Fischetti, J.D./LL.M. candidate, worked at Diaz Reus, in Miami.

“This summer I was working as a Junior Associate at DRRT, which is an international law firm handling securities litigation and arbitration matters,” Fischetti said. “The White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program has helped me immensely in respect to my work at DRRT. First, the LL.M. Program challenges you in ways that I think many educational settings may not. In this LL.M. Program, you have to develop skills to be able to convey your arguments or ideas to a very diverse group of people. In lecture, you are surrounded with very bright and ambitious colleagues that come from every corner of the globe. So, one of the skills that is necessary to develop, is the ability to convey your message to an audience that is not made up of just native English U.S. students. Instead, you are trying to communicate your argument to peers that come from everywhere. This causes you to think harder about what you are about to say, and often times allows for you to communicate a more concise and (hopefully) persuasive argument.

“Furthermore, the LL.M. Program is obviously very challenging substantively. Not only is this because our professors are leading practitioners in the field and expect the highest quality from us, but it is also because of the breadth of information that we are required to know. Every lecture requires the study of numerous rules, treaties, and case law. Each day at DRRT I find myself tasked with exploring a different jurisdiction’s capital markets statutes, or a country’s regulations regarding class action arbitrations. The constant influx of information can be intimidating at first, but the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. has prepared me well for these sorts of challenges,” he said.

Slovakian Olga Uherova, J.D./LL.M. candidate and International Arbitration Institute Scholar worked at Schoenherr Rechtsanwaelte, in Vienna, Austria.

“I am read, commented and drafted documents on the current ongoing investment case, Kunsttrans v. Serbia, under ICSID,” Uherova said. “I researched case law according to the individual arguments raised in counter memorial of the respondent. I was part of the team working on this case and after the research I attended team meetings where we brainstormed research results further.”

Cuban Anabel Fernandez, J.D./LL.M. candidate, and Indian Supritha Suresh, LL.M. August 2017 and Young ICCA Scholar, worked at the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes, an arm of the World Bank, in Washington, D.C.

“We worked closely with the ICSID Team Leaders and counsel on case-related tasks and research,” Fernandez and Suresh said. “This included undertaking arbitrator conflict checks, drafting working papers, carrying out research on issues that arise in the course of a case and assisting with drafting of case correspondence. We are also involved on institutional matters such as the Rules Amendment Project where we work under the direct supervision of the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretaries-General. Further, we have had the opportunity to attend several training programs which has helped continue our legal education while at office. Our time at ICSID has definitely been a great learning opportunity and a platform to broaden our perspective about the field. I believe that the nuances and intricacies we spent studying during the LL.M. program has only supplemented the institutional viewpoint towards ISDS and has broadened our overall understanding about the field.”

Japanese Takashi Yokoyama, J.D./LL.M. candidate, worked at Energy Charter Secretariat, in Brussels, Belgium.

The summer internship program at the Energy Charter Secretariat has notably exposed my academic insight developed in the LL.M. program to investor-state dispute settlement practice on a global level,” Yokoyama said. “In the course of various discussion and research projects with colleagues, inter alia, I could deepen my understanding of existing pragmatic issues on investment arbitration. This unparalleled opportunity not only strengthened my determination to pursue International Arbitration J.D./LL.M. Joint program but also made aware of what I should focus on for the rest of my law studies in the U.S.”

Cuban Kellie Portie, a J.D./LL.M. candidate, worked at Ambar Diaz, in Miami.

“This summer I worked as a Research Law Clerk for Ambar Diaz P.A., who focuses on Cuban/American business and immigration matters,” Portie said. “With a nationwide practice, Ambar Diaz’s firm works with Americans and Europeans with business interests in Cuba. The firm is positioned to advise its clients on the complex interface between Cuban and American legal customs and broader policy issues such as the fluctuating status of the Cuban embargo. As a Research Law Clerk, I specifically focus on legal nuances pertaining to commercial and immigration projects. This opportunity has informed my three years of experience as an attorney practicing in Cuba, and I have learned much about the shifting nature of U.S.-Cuba business and immigration relations. I have historically understood American law as a Cuban living in Cuba, but this position allows me to analyze the U.S. legal system from a different vantage point that supplements my prior experience. Working with Ambar Diaz P.A. has been a rewarding experience, and has so far helped me to more fully envision my future career as a J.D. practicing in the U.S.”

Canadian-Haitian Christina Miller, J.D./LL.M. candidate, worked at the Broward State Attorney’s Office, in Fort Lauderdale.

“I shadowed and observed the whole criminal litigation process (jury selection / opening statements / direct examination / cross examination / expert witnesses / closing arguments / hearings / pretrial motions / depositions etc.), toured the crim. lab and of the medical examiner’s office; and observed lots of trials,” Miller said.

Indian Ramya Ramachanderan, International Arbitration J.D./LL.M. Candidate, worked at the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board in Seoul, Korea.

“I was a summer intern with the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board in Seoul,” Ramachanderan said. “I specifically wanted to intern with the KCAB because it is one of the oldest institutions that was established by legislation by a State. I was interested in learning the art of arbitration from an institutional perspective. Having had some prior knowledge of international law and arbitration in East Asia helped me appreciate arbitration in Seoul. The internship with KCAB has been a highlight of my first year at Miami Law. I learned how to appreciate the process of arbitration because I worked with an institution that caters to clients of a variety of nationalities. It gave me insight into comparing arbitration procedures of various institutions, and how they can affect the perception of businesses. This experience compliments the courses I am now taking in the International Arbitration LL.M. Program at Miami Law because I perceive arbitration as a conscious decision that entities make.”

The White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. Program, under the leadership of Jan Paulsson, provides a unique individualized educational opportunity for a small group of top quality students from a range of countries, wishing to acquire an in-depth grounding in the field of international arbitration as a platform for a successful career. The program – the only one of its kind in the United States – is open to U.S. and foreign-trained law graduates, and is ideal for newcomers to the field or experienced practitioners looking to enrich their skills and knowledge.