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– So, let’s get started. Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us today. I’m out Alvaro Santos, I’m a professor at Georgetown Law and also the Faculty Director of CAROLA, the Center for the Advancement of the Rule of Law in the Americas. Welcome to the second career paths session of our Fall Series, “The Americas in Times of COVID-19.” Our session today is on international trade law, and we have a wonderful group of speakers who I’ll introduce in a moment.
Let me highlight that all of our speakers today are Georgetown law graduates. So, we’re very proud of that. The goal of the career path sessions is to present you with different perspectives and in this case, public, private and academic in a substantive field of the legal profession. And we’d like you students, aspiring lawyers and young lawyers to appreciate how exciting varied and also nonlinear law careers can be.
So, we’re gonna run this session as a conversation where I’ll pose a question and give each finalist a chance to respond.
And so, this way we can have an engaging discussion first among the speakers, and then we’ll do that for about an hour and we’ll reserve half an hour for questions with the audience. And so, for that I will ask the audience to have the appropriate time to raise their hand and I’ll give you the work and you can identify yourselves and then ask a question to a particular speaker or just a general question.
So, my introductions will be very brief because the speakers will have a chance to tell us more about themselves as they answer the questions. And so, let me just say who is joining us today. So first, we have Jesse Kreier, who recently retired from the World Trade Organization as Acting Director of the Rules Division, and he’s also an adjunct professor of Georgetown Law.
Then we have Vanessa Rivas Plata who is the head of the North America and Europe Division in the Ministry of Foreign Trade in Peru. Then we have Amanda Blunt who is Associate General Counsel in the Office of the US Trade Representative in the United States. And forth but not least, we have Carlos Aiza who is a partner in the Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza and Enriquez in Mexico City where he is at the banking and finance and capital markets practice groups. He’s also a member of our Latin American Board at the law school and a friend of CAROLA. Thank you all for joining us this morning.
We’re really delighted to have the benefit of your insights and perspectives. And so, let’s get started.
The first question is…
And we will go in the order that I introduced you. So first, Jesse, tell us about your current job, and what kind of work you are currently engaged in. – Okay, yes. Thank you and good morning to everybody. So, currently I’m actually retired although I am still professionally active in a variety of areas.
But until the beginning of 2019, I was working for many years in the World Trade Organization and before that, in the GATT all the way back to 1992.
So, I had a career of 26 years working for the GATT and the WTO . A very varied career I would say, and that’s one of the things that’s interesting I think about working in the WTO. I was hired as a legal officer, so I started out working on dispute settlement panels. My first panel was about classy cherries and the countervailing measure imposed by Australia on exports from Europe.
I worked on quite a few cases people might, the older among you might remember the first case for example on sales corporations. I gradually advanced in order and became the chief legal officer of the Rules Division, so I was responsible for supervising about half of the dispute settlement work in the WTO, anything that had to do with trade remedies or subsidies or later on TRIMs as well.
A nice thing about working at the GATT was that my work was not limited to dispute settlement. It was very varied in fact. I worked on a lot of negotiations, I was involved in the end of the Uruguay Round, I was involved in a failed negotiation on trade and civil aircraft back in the mid 90s, I was the secretary of the Negotiating Group on Rules throughout the Doha Round from its inception, from our failed launch in Seattle right up till the time I retired.
And that was fascinating work as well. But then I was the secretary of a bunch of different committees, and I had the opportunity to a lot of technical cooperation as well which involved enormous amounts of travel including almost every country in Latin America often multiple times working with officials from around the world trying to help them understand the complexities of the WTO. So, that was my career. Before that, I was in private practice in Washington and I’m now teaching at Georgetown. Should I say also in America?
I’m doing some consulting work for some international organizations.
I’m also kayaking and cycling a lot. So that’s my career. – Wonderful, thank you Jesse. I understand you’re also now gonna be the coach of our Moot Court team for the John Jackson International Law Competition.
– Yeah, that’s absolutely right. So, for years I’ve really enjoyed judging the Moot Court Competition. It is a global competition, there’re teams from all over the world, the regionals in Asia-Pacific and the Americas and Africa to different regions in Europe and all the best teams. COVID permitting, all the best teams come to a final which for years now has been held in Geneva. And you have people from all over the world, all kinds of backgrounds, arguing the WTO case.
It is really an extraordinary opportunity to expose yourself to the WTO and to expose yourself to WTO practitioners. People who work at the WTO are the people who judge from around the world who were WTO experts. So, if you’re interested, we’re actually having an information session tomorrow on Zoom and applications will be due two weeks from Friday. So, I encourage all Georgetown students to take a serious look at it.
It’s really a great opportunity.
– Great, thank you. Let me ask our participants if possible to turn on your videos so that our speakers can also see you. I know that this is not always possible but if it is a need, you’re in a position to do that. That be definitely appreciated so that we can see who’s joined us today. Now, let me turn the mic to Vanessa.
And so– – Thank you. Thank you very much Alvaro. Thank you very much for inviting me to CAROLA Fall Series session. It is a pleasure to share with you my insights about my career path in the field of international trade and it’s a great honor to share this panel with such distinguished speakers. So, currently I lead the North America and Europe Division of Minister of Foreign Trade of Peru, I’m responsible for overseeing the overall bilateral trade relationship between Peru and the United States, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Peru has in place various free trade agreements with the most important economies of the world. So, in this capacity, I’m involved in covering a wide range of trade aspects involving Peru’s major trading partners including aspects on trading goods, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and fetal sanitary issues and certain intellectual property and investment related matters.
Recently, I have been engaged in the negotiation process of the FDA with the United Kingdom. As you’re aware, the UK has decided to leave the European Union block. So, well, Peru has been very interested in retaining tariff and non-tariff concessions in place with the United Kingdom.
So, I led that process and currently we are looking for the ratification of these free trade agreement with the United Kingdom. Prior to this position, I served as Investment Authority Coordinator, at the Ministry of Foreign Trade, I was leading inter-agency and intra-agency themes in investment negotiations, providing advice to senior officials at a high level authorities on international investment law, investor-state arbitration proceedings. I know they’re international investment related matters. As investment officer’s coordinator, I led numerous negotiations of international investment agreements including the investment chapters of the Trans-Pacific partnership agreement, now the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific partnership agreement. The negotiations with the Pacific Alliance block, this block includes Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru.
Negotiations with Turkey, India and more recently the modernization of the investment provisions under the pre-trade agreement with China. So, basically the last years of my career have been focused on international trade negotiations with the most dynamic economies in the world.
I also lecture courses on international trade law in the Pontifical Catholic University here in Peru. So, I would say that over the last years my career has been fascinating to the extent that I have been able to meet many talented public officials around the world, been able to meet with different cultures and I would definitely say that I have grown. Not only professionally, but also at a very personal level.
So, well, I think that would summarize my career path over the last years in the field. – Thanks so much, Vanessa. Let me turn now to Amanda. – Thank you. I’m Amanda Blunt, I’m an attorney in the Office of the United States Trade Representative which organizationally is within the Executive Office of the President or the White House for the U.
S. government. The head of our office is the U.S.
Trade Representative which is a Cabinet level political appointment.
That person is responsible for formulation and execution of U.S. trade policy, negotiation of trade and investment agreements and ultimately monitoring and enforcement of all the obligations within those agreements. My office, The Office of the General Counsel is mainly comprised of nonpolitical appointments and career attorneys I’ve served in two administrations under both President Obama and President Trump, and our work is divided into two sides of the house.
The first, we call, the acronym is NLA Negotiations, Legislation and Administrative Law.
The second side of the house is Monitoring and Enforcement. Some may call those two sides policy and litigation or disputes including disputes at The World Trade Organization in Geneva and under our various free trade agreements and investment agreements. Within the policy side of the house, I have primary responsibility for environment, investment and agriculture as well as sanitarian phytosanitary measures which is essentially animal health, food safety, (speaks faintly) as well. Our two current negotiations that are taking up a lot of my time lately are with the United Kingdom following Brexit and their departure from the European union. And also with Kenya, which we are aiming to reach a comprehensive agreement that we can use as a model for other African trading partners.
With that, I’ll say my obligatory disclaimer that all the views I’ll share today are my own and not those of the White House or U.S.
Here but thank you very much for including me and I’m looking forward to the discussion today. – Thanks so much Amanda. Let me now turn to Carlos.
– Thanks Alvaro. Thank you very much. It’s an honor to be with all of you this afternoon. Thank you for the invite. I mean, I would summarize what I do now basically in two categories and this is something that’s been going on for about 10 years.
I’ve been in private practice since I graduated from Georgetown back in the day. And yes, I did have an answering machine when I went to Georgetown in the early 90s. So, I immediately went into private practice actually in New York, I worked for a firm that some of you, probably just a handful of you heard of called Codere Brothers which no longer exists, a very well known international firm.
So, I was in New York for a couple of years and came back to Mexico, joined the firm where I’m currently a partner, immediately into finance. I am specifically focused in banking and finance in capital markets, transactional work, we do have a very large regulatory practice but that’s not really my personal focus.
Our firm has been around for many years, 80… Actually 85 years next year. It’s the second oldest firm in the country, also the second largest firm in the country.
And, I was basically focused on private practice doing transactional work, developing capital markets in Mexico which back in those days needed a lot of help to really develop, it still does but that’s really been the vast majority of my focus on the private practice side but about little over 10 years ago, something happened. I’m still not sure what it was and I became involved in managing the firm itself of more from a strategic point of view. I currently chair of the executive committee of the firm. We are 30 partners, a little over 250 attorneys, and this is a three-person executive committee again which I chair. So, now I dedicate, and again I’m not sure how this has happened.
You folks out there that don’t want to get involved in managing a law firm make sure this doesn’t happen to you. But you know, again for 10 years, I have been spending probably about a third to half of my time depending on what’s going on in the vision and strategy of the firm really leading, where the firm is going in the future.
I don’t get involved in management and actual management or operating things. We have a management committee that does that. And, it’s been fun again.
I never expected that I would be doing this kind of thing but it sort of has gotten me involved in what people call the business of law which goes beyond just practicing law. So the actual business of law, how to run a law firm, how to strategize, et cetera.
That’s been a very interesting part of what I call kind of the second part of my career. And in that capacity really is where international trade has become more relevant for me personally. I mean, obviously international trade is typically known as the trade of goods, but obviously it involves also the trade of services and financial services is a key component of international treaties.
We’ll talk about this a little bit later. Mexico is in international treaties with 50 countries. That probably is the country that has more relationships on the international trade front with world. You know, we’re going through some interesting times right now in what the current administration thinks about those relationships but Mexico has been involved in these things for twenty something almost 30 years since NAFTA was signed when I was actually in Georgetown again in the early 90s.
So again, thank you very much for having me, I’ll leave it at that and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the discussion.
Thanks Alvaro. – Thank you Carlos. So, let me now move to the second question. And here, what I’d like the speakers to reflect on is, what are in your view the most exciting challenges or changes in your field? So maybe a new development in the practice or an area that you think is right for reform, or maybe a problem that you think is overlooked or not really well appreciated or a new idea that you think is promising given the moment that we’re living in now.
I mean, we had a webinar on international trade last Tuesday, and one of the themes that came up was how much the field is changing in directions that we tend to totally foresee given the backlash against globalization and the sort of the new alignments. And so, it would be really interesting to get your views as people who are practicing in the fields, whatever you’d like to share with us given your experience that you’d like the audience to know. And so, let me turn again to Jesse to begin this. – Okay, wherever you begin. If you spent your career in the multilateral trading system, it is indeed a very interesting time.
The WTO is in a state of crisis which is a more broad reflection of the profound turmoil in international trade relations worldwide and I would say in international governance generally. So, it’s really interesting to think either the WTO will die, Let me know it’s not going to disappear either.
It will cease to be an important actor in or medium and international trade relations or it will have to change a lot. That’s clear. So, there are many areas where things are taking place or need to take place.
Whether they will or not, your organization has to figure out how it’s going to accommodate with a set of rules of variety of countries with profoundly different economic systems.
It has to think about how it’s going to deal with rapid change in the distribution of economic power in the world and how the rules which are sort of riddle and inflexible are going to change to accommodate those profound changes. It’s going to have to deal with a variety of new issues. It hasn’t been able to address like digital trade and anyone who’s reading the trade press knows. For example, the question of taxation of digital trade, taxation of corporations engaged in digital trade, and more broad with the challenge of how Nation States need to get together to manage economic entities like what our national corporations that span the globe and how we’re going to do with a series of fundamental global challenges clearly demonstrated by the pandemic, but also by climate change and and many others where cooperation is absolutely essential and where there’s a profound intersection between international trade law and all these other things taking place out there in the world.
And all of this in a context where there’s a rise in economic nationalism, obviously in the United States but by no means only in the United States. Those people doing a Brexit negotiation will know that all over the world when you have a rise of populism and economic nationalism that is challenging people’s ideas about how countries can or should work together or should they be working together at all and should their relationships be governed by law or by relationships with power. So, this whole area of trying to basically recreate a functional international system of governance in a period of profound chaos is is a fascinating area with enormous opportunities, but it’s also sort of scary for people who are launching into a new career. – Thank you Jesse. So yeah, it seems like it’s a very challenging time but at the same time, it could be a very exciting moment to enter the field for the reasons you’ve highlighted.
Vanessa, let me turn the mic to you. – Sure. Thank you very much Alvaro. I think that international trade is at the intersection of politics, history, and definitely we are living unprecedented times. There are challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the outlook for the global economy over the next two years remains highly uncertain.
So, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, governments around the globe have already adopted a broad range of measures to curb the spread of the disease and measures to alleviate the economic impact of this unprecedented health and economic crisis. The states have reported a variety of COVID-19 response measures including measures related to international trade. Measures targeted are the health industry for example, export ban, sort of medical equipment and medications, diagnostics and vaccines, expansion of the screening mechanisms to protect public health, the issue of self compulsory licenses over patented drugs and medical devices, imposition of COVID-19 related requirements across a variety of imported Fulton agricultural commodities, also new customs rules and transportation regulations. So, I would say that the international trade field is evolving very quickly especially in the current context. The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have lasting effects on trade and investment policy making, compelling us to navigate through a new set of rules and procedures affecting exports and imports, newly introduced export restrictions, style, taxes, and regulations on foreign investment.
Before the pandemic, we were experiencing these backlash against the free trade process and I would say that all these together creates a very fascinating time in the field. I think after the pandemic, there will be an assessment on whether these temporary measures that we are adopted to respond and to mitigate to this economy crisis were in conformity with multilateral and bilateral trade rules. So, in addition to this, I think that digital trade will also be bolstered by this current situation rules on data protection at the multilateral, bilateral framework but also domestic frameworks on data protection will evolve in the future. So, I would say that the international trade field is going to evolve and it’s going to change dramatically in the next years. All these historic context is unprecedented challenges that we are experiencing certainly will affect international trade regimes across the world in the future.
– Thank you Vanessa. Let turn now to Amanda.
– Thanks. I won’t belabor the point made that we are in a crisis moment of rethinking, except to highlight the context that international trade law is already a relatively new area of law that the general agreement on tariffs and trade came out in 1947. All of this was kind of born after the Second World War and The World Trade Organization as we know it today, it’s kind of a 90s baby.
So, this is already a relatively new area.
That’s not a ton of precedent. If you know, you want to be able to (speaks faintly) This is not the area of law for you. And then on top of that, as the other speakers noted, we are in a crisis moment of rethinking. That’s going to demand a lot of creativity, new thinking in a lot of different areas and some of them have already been highlighted like WTO reform and all the supply chain issues that were highlighted by the COVID pandemic.
I do think Congress is going to start thinking about these things as soon as next year from U.S. perspective. We have a Trade Promotion Authority renewal coming up which is the legislation that handles the delegation of authority and the split between Congress and President. I think that will be an interesting moment to kind of rethink that balance here in the U.
S. We also, I think are starting to hear some creative new thinking on trade adjustment assistance which is the U.S.
Program that traditionally addresses kind of loss of jobs due to trade and how to retrain those workers. So it’ll be interesting to witness those conversations very soon.
And from my perspective, I think one of the most promising areas of change is with respect to labor and in the environment. These tools in some of our trade agreements are relatively new, some of them unused, as in yet were used for the first time recently. So, I think there’s a lot of promise, there’s a lot of interest from both sides of the aisle in the U.S. in exploring those tools, thinking creatively about ways to enforce labor and environment commitments within our trade agreements.
Maybe in the future, we’ll have a conversation about those areas at the WTO or enough more of a plurilateral or multilateral forum but that’s something I’m personally interested in and I think shows a lot of promise especially for new lawyers who are drawn to an area of law where there’s room for creativity and there’s new thinking not only welcomed but demanded in the current moment.
– Thank you Amanda, wonderful. Let me now turn to Carlos. – Thank you. Thanks very much.
I think Jesse, Vanessa, Amanda really touched on the most important challenges that we face, they’ve been going on for a few years now. Populism, economic protectionism or nationalism backlash on free trade it’s been going on for a while now. When some of us started our careers, it was actually exactly the opposite. It was at the time when North America was signing at NAFTA, the European Union was taking further steps that the further integrate, the pendulum was on the other side, now it seems that that period is turned. And I think that the great challenge lies in really understanding why it has turned and why populism has been popping up all over the place.
And this concept of lack of inclusion which certainly in some of our countries, certainly in Latin America it’s very clear that people have been left behind, the United States has shown that there’s a lot of that going on as well.
So, I think on the financial services front, there’s a ton of work to be done there and some very exciting things that likely will fall into place in the near future. They include people into the financial system to provide them financial services and I think that applies across the board on many other things and economic activity generally so that everyone feels part of economic integration and that we can really sort of shift the pendulum back to a place in which everyone is working together rather than working on an isolated basis. I think I’d rather back to the key question about challenges but on the other hand, key opportunities. I would certainly highlight the integration of financial services and technology which people generally know as FinTech.
FinTech brings truly for the first time at least in my lifetime the opportunity to integrate people efficiently into the financial system and provide them access to financial services which are desperately needed especially in Third World countries. As from a legal services perspective, from a private practice perspective, FinTech has been booming.
We have been clearly an example of that in which we did not really have a FinTech practice two years ago. Now we have 15 people fully dedicated to that practice. It’s highly regulatory in nature but there’s a lot of transactional stuff going on in the space as well, a lot of fresh money especially by private equity firms focused on the FinTech sector.
One of our really tiny clients just announced the transaction likely will be the first ever Mexican unicorn in the financial services, FinTech services space. So, I would highlight that as a great opportunity to integrate people that are currently left behind and that are upset about it. And that have been voting consistent with that state of mind. FinTech is one of them quite a few different ways but certainly a strong way in which this can be addressed so that the pendulum again can be pulled back in a very exciting area of the law. So, if any of you folks are interested, we can certainly follow up on how to get going but a lot of people are very focused in that particular space.
– Thank you Carlos. So let us now move to the third question. And here, I’m going to ask the speakers to sort of step back a little bit and reflect on your trajectory. And I’m gonna ask you to share key moments or experiences that basically you thought or you think could be worth sharing as students think about their own trajectories. So how did you land where you are now but also what lessons have you gathered along the way often?
And certainly it was my test when I was a student. You think that you have to plan everything really well and sort of delineate your trajectory and obviously that creates a lot of anxiety about the choices that you are confronted with and so you’re at different stages of your career and your trajectory but I think it’d be very useful to hear from you. What were those insights you had or people thought moments that you’d like to share with us? And so let me turn it to Jesse again.
Yeah, I’d certainly agree with you. An accident and opportunity at least (chuckles) in my case . I only accidentally became a lawyer effective way. I wanted to be a professor of economic history. In fact, I was enrolled in a PhD program and I was just about to start.
And that last moment I sort of got cold feet about economic opportunities, I applied for the joint degree program at Georgetown because I knew I wanted to do something with international orientation but I didn’t think I could make a living as a history professor. And so, I ended up going to law school again, so almost accidentally I had no idea of what it was going to involve. I remember getting the curriculum and saying, “What on earth is a tour.” You know, (chuckles) “What is this first year course load?” It was so crazy for me, but I knew I wanted to be involved in an international career and I’d spent a lot of time studying languages, international economics and things like that.
So, it all fit in pretty well into my career. So I did my joint degree program at Georgetown and then I started as a private practitioner in Washington, and I chose to… I actually had a choice of (indistinct) or Dewey Ballantine.
They are two firms neither of which any longer exists, which is quite remarkable. And I chose Dewey Ballantine ’cause I chose trade over international finance trade. And I spent five or six years at Dewey Ballantine and I got sucked into a lot of things. But one of the things I was sucked into was monitoring various trade negotiations where principally American clients including the all way round negotiations and multi-lateral negotiations as well. So, I was traveling regularly to Geneva to bother the US negotiators as much as we could and make sure that they didn’t negotiate things that our clients didn’t want.
And the man I was working for who is now a Deputy Director General of the WTO, Alan Wolf, I was also working very closely with Bob Lighthizer at a time, the two of them ironically. But the man I was working with most closely, Alan Wolf was there and he liked to go talk to people. So he set up the appointments from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm every day and we went into the office of a man who was a Director of the Rules Division at the WTO and he had a vacancy announcement and he said, “We’re looking for good lawyers.” And he gave it to my boss and my boss gave it to me. And I filled out the application.
This will tell you how old I am. I filled out the application on an electronic typewriter in the lobby of the (speaks foreign language) in Geneva 2:00 in the morning and turned it in the next day. And within a matter of weeks I had a job at the GATT. So, really a lot of accidents there. And I think that the message is be flexible, expose yourself as much as possible to all kinds of different things and you may find that you’ll end up going in some direction which was completely unanticipated.
– Thank you, Jesse. Let me turn to Vanessa. – Thank you Alvaro. Well, I just started practicing law as a junior attorney at one of the largest law firms here in Lima, Peru. Back then I was engaged in assisting foreign investors with the analysis of a contractual and financial instructions in connection with infrastructure projects implemented through public-private partnerships in Peru.
It was the year 2008, Peru had the recently concluded its first negotiation of a free trade agreement with the United States. So, I saw a job vacancy announcement to working trade negotiations at the Ministry of Foreign Trade. I applied and I got the job.
There was a very interesting momentum here in Peru, many ongoing negotiations after the negotiations with the United States, came negotiations with Canada, Korea, Japan, the European Union, so, I definitely wanted to be part of these historic moments in Peru. I remember I went to the office of one of the partners at these law firm I was working with.
I was going to make this big announcement that I was going to leave the law firm, that I was going to join the public sector. And I remember very clearly the face and the voice of the partner when I told him that I was leaving the law firm. He asked me, “Are you a hundred percent sure that you want to do this? In a couple of years, you could be seated here.
This could be your office.
I think you have a lot of potential and you could be a partner like me.” So, I was not prepared for that type of reaction from his spot. And I think my response was a combination of instinct and curiosity. I was very excited about the possibility of being part of a historic moment in my country. So I said, “Yes, I really want to be part of the public sector.
I want to be involved in trade negotiations.” And I never looked back. I think there are moments in your career when you have to make very hard decisions, make choices that probably will affect your life, but sometimes the safest path is not necessarily the right fit for you.
And a message for you all is that, you have to look for that right fit. I think for some of your colleagues, private practices is the best option or going to an international organization is an option as well.
But I think you’ll have to be truthful to yourself, to feel free to explore new career paths, and just go for it, try new things and certainly be faithful to what you want. – Thank you Vanessa. Let me now turn to Amanda. – So prior to law school, I was on the breadcrumb approach meaning I didn’t have one life changing epiphany that headed me in a certain direction. I was taking clues from various classes and experiences, I loved my International Political Economy course, I read Thomas Friedman “The World is Flat.
” And I was fascinated by globalization and how it was changing everything.
I came to Washington and did an internship with trade lobbyists who were at the time pressing Congress to pass several bilateral free trade agreements. And I liked Washington, I liked the Hill, but I was interested the substance. What’s in these agreements? Why are we trying to get them passed by Congress?
So I went to law school at Georgetown and I think the key to the success of that breadcrumb approach is just being open to a variety of experiences, conversations, and so you can take hints from a lot of experiences and figure out either what you like or don’t like and why? So, I was lucky in when I entered law school. I already had a pretty good idea that I wanted to pursue international trade but just to kind of hedge my bet, I joined a large law firm after graduation that had an international trade group but also had other groups just in case I changed my mind once I started practicing. And that was a great experience. I enjoyed private practice, counseling companies, trade associations on U.
S. law, customs, export controls and sanctions.
But my favorite part was always the work that touched back to policy. So, anytime we got to talk to USTR or go to the Hill to talk about a piece of that legislation, that was when I had a really good day. So, I knew maybe I should lean into that a little more.
And like Vanessa said, it’s always a scary decision to kind of leave your safety net or make a choice that seems a little risky career wise but going to USTR was a great decision because I’m fascinated by the work that I get to do every day. And I feel very lucky to love my job, to get to meet really smart people both within our government and other governments, stakeholders from all around the world and work on policy which was always my favorite work at the firm that I now get to do full time.
So, I think my path is pretty common. A lot of the attorneys in my office came from private practice or another government agency but it was really the start of that path, the breadcrumb approach of reading, taking courses and deciding. International trade was my biggest interest that kind of set me on that legal path, international trade law that’s my specialty.
– Thank you Amanda. Let me turn to Carlos now. – Thanks Alvaro. I think a common theme that you’ve heard from the members of the panel in different words is you need to get out there. You need the take risks, you need to avoid being afraid of failure, things that sound like cliches many times and we hear them on social media everyday but they really are true.
You need to go out there and take a risk, make sure you’re being visible to people that you care about or that you respect and get out of your comfort zone ’cause that many times is where the riches are. And in my case, when I was a law student, then it’s common in civil law jurisdictions for law students to work part time especially the last two years of law school.
I went into litigation, I knew I didn’t want to be a litigator. I knew it from the start but I thought, how can you be a lawyer if you don’t know how people fight it out in court? So, I spent two and a half years working for a litigation firm and probably that was the most difficult type of litigation and still as in Mexico divorce court, least disputes, criminal disputes and it was actually when my stomach problems started and I’m still suffering those thirty something years later.
But I learned that time. I didn’t like it. It was totally outside of my comfort zone but I really learned what things were all about very, very early on.
Things like civil law jurisdictions working in a Notary Public’s office. As many of you know, notary public’s in Latin American and certain European civil law jurisdictions are lawyers and they play a very important legal role.
Even if you don’t want to be a notary, just learn civil law through working in that type of practice. And for me, those kinds of things ended up being incredibly important. I am now transactional financial lawyer. I have nothing to do with courts even though we are working on some restructurings that involve courts these days. But that learning experience has always been with me and I think has always been a very important part of the the base from which I actually built my career.
So certainly, that I think would be at the top of my list of what I would tell my kids that they really need to do. I think the other is, we need guidance, we need mentors and again people talk about this all the time as well but look out for someone that you respect, look out for someone that you admire and create a relationship that is on you.
You know, people are busy. Especially people that are successful are busy and probably they’re not going to be worrying about necessarily you all the time. But if you an effort to create a relationship, to show interest, to be humble, and if you can establish that relationship, there is in my view, very little that can give you more in the form of building your character as a professional, identifying opportunities, being in touch with the appropriate networks and having the right mentor at your side.
And mentoring is something that we spend a lot of time on in our organization and I suspect everyone does as well. And it goes beyond just simply being guided. It has to do with the buying. Make sure that your mentor buys into your career and feels that he has ownership over your career so that it’s truly a personal project and it’s not just helping out someone else but really feeling it as a personal thing.
And then the last thing that I would say is, in my experience, the best opportunities come in times like these, they come in times of crisis, in times of uncertainty when people are afraid, when people are unclear about what the future will bring, that is when talent really floats.
That’s when it truly comes out and when talented people have the chance to do great things. So, don’t be afraid of a crisis. A crisis always brings great opportunities and if you have your eyes and ears very well open, it’s gonna be your time to shine. So, you know crisis are bad definitely but they can also be a very good thing. – Thank you Carlos and thanks to all of you for sharing these experiences about your own path and your own moments of the decision and of leaping.
I think one of the things that you experienced also the way you recounted them reminded me of the importance of experimenting and getting out of as many of you said, one’s comfort zone.
And so, this reminded me of something that a singer and musician that I liked a lot called David Bowie once said when asked this question. And he was saying that when he was feeling like he could do the same thing many times over, he knew that he needed to challenge himself. And so, he used this idea of being out of one’s depth. Imagine you are in a swimming pool or in the sea and all of a sudden you can’t step on the floor anymore.
You have to swim. And he was saying these are the moments when the most creative ideas and experiments came up to him. And so, as you were recounting your own stories of moments of leaping and of decision, I thought that was a really great way to put it. Some of those will be successful and lead to experiences that you like, some of those perhaps not but you will try and experiment. And so, I really appreciate the trust and the honesty with which you shared all those moments.
So, let me now turn to the last question before we open it up for questions from the audience. And this is basically related in some ways but perhaps trying to distill and come up with advice, practical advice that you would offer a recent graduate or a student interested in this area. So, what would you tell them? Carlos was talking about mentorship and so if you were someone’s mentor, what would you tell your mentee as advice that you’d like to share with them? And again, let me start with Jesse.
– Okay. I think we’ve already heard a fair amount of advice and some of the things I was planning to say have already been said.
I absolutely agree with Carlos that building relationships is really important. We have professors for example, even if you’re great, if you don’t put yourself forward so they know you and sort of follow up with them, you know they’re going to have another group of students in the next semester. I try and help my students when I can but I can only help the ones who remind me that they’re there and touch base from time to time.
Create relationships. This is going to be hard advice but don’t limit yourself to digital relationships.
I mean, nowadays obviously face to face contact is difficult but what I’ve seen with my own children, they think that you apply for jobs in some electronic form and that’s about it. I think people get jobs mainly because someone knows them. Someone has some real sense of who they are.
That requires other types of contacts with people. Have coffee with people, drop into people’s offices or often do that now virtually because those relationships…
And don’t give up just because it doesn’t work right away because often it just happens to be, does that person know about something right now?
So you have to be sort of relatively persistent, be flexible, go with the flow, don’t expect that the choices are always going to be exactly what you want and be willing to consider things that are a little bit different. I would say getting more sort of concrete in the trade area, at least in the areas where I’ve worked, think about auxiliary skills. You’re not just a lawyer if you’re working in international trade. Language skills are useful, knowledge of how business works is useful, economics background is critical and much of international trade law accounting can be helpful. So think about a range of skill sets that go beyond just being a (speaks faintly) lawyer.
I absolutely agree with Vanessa and Amanda. Be prepared to change.
In fact, you should not go into that first job thinking that’s how you’re going to spend your career. You should go into it assuming that five years out, you’re gonna make a choice even if you’re comfortable and it looks like you’re sort of set for life. Be prepared to change absolutely because by the time you get 20 years in if you stuck with one job in your entire life, you can be bored out of your mind.
Very concretely with respect to the WTO now, because some people may still be thinking about the WTO which is a fantastic place to work I should say by the way. Get some expertise first.
The WTO never hires and will always never hire anybody right out of school. They hire people ’cause they combine some international trade experience with some substantive area. You must develop some intellectual property knowledge, worried about sanitary and phytosanitary standards to become a trade remedies expert in your national jurisdiction.
Those skills combined with your public international lawyer skills come together to differentiate you from someone who’s just got a legal background. And I’ll also say in the WTO there are tons and tons of jobs that are not just pure disputes or the jobs for lawyers. They’re negotiating jobs, all kinds of opportunities in the secretary area that are not litigation.
So don’t forget about those types of opportunities. – Great.
Thank you Jesse. Let me turn to Vanessa. – Yes, well, I absolutely agree with the issue or the importance of building relationships. And if you are really interested in the international trade field, I would say that international trade not only crosses borders, it also crosses cultures. So, this field provides you with the opportunity to expand your conception of the world.
Divergent histories and cultures produce occasionally diverging conclusions. So, culture affects the kind of transactions that people make and the way that they negotiate these transactions. No matter how skilled and well-trained a lawyer is, the lawyer has to understand purely a party’s position in the international free-field, digging deeply into the culture of your counterparts.
Because of different cultural backgrounds, negotiators from different countries or regions have different approaches to negotiating. Some negotiators are silent and sometimes they are considering how to convince their partner.
In other instances, negotiators can be very aggressive trying to expect to obtain everything that they table or offer to you. So, I think that every negotiator comes to the table with a deep imprint of their own cultures and certainly affects any negotiation process.
Before international business negotiations, I think you would be interested in learning more about the culture of your counterpart, of your clients, if you are engaged in private practice. And I will tell you my own story. I remember that a couple of years ago, Peru initiated the modernization process of its FDA with China and I was very thrilled about going to Beijing.
I was very intrigued about the values and customs of the Chinese people, very intrigued about the Chinese culture. So, I just started to read a lot about China. And I remember that for the first meeting, other than of negotiations, I showed with a red blouse. I read that red for Chinese means fortune, luck, conspicuousness. So at a very primary level, I thought I was sending a signal to my counterpart without the need to say any words.
I was saying, “I’m hopeful that this negotiation is successful that both nations China and Peru can accomplish their objectives in this negotiation.” And I think that allowed me to build a very special relationship with my counterpart. The negotiation was not easy at all. It was very difficult that we had a very complex situations throughout the negotiation process. But I think that I build this relationship of respect with my counterpart and I would say that this very first interaction showing him that I knew about his culture, I was interested in learning more about China, It’s costumes and values was very important.
So, my advice for you if you are interested in practicing international trade is that international trade goes beyond the law, goes beyond preparing, and learning legal frameworks on international trade. It goes beyond your own culture and either requires to be deeply into the culture of your counterpart, your client if you’re in private practice. It also…
International trade is very influenced by history, by politics. So, you need to be very informed about what’s going on in the world, reading news is very important, being updated about what is happening across the globe.
So, that would be my advice for you. International trade goes beyond the law and it requires to learn about the culture of your counterpart, the culture of your client. – Thank you Vanessa.
Let me now give the mic to Amanda. – Won’t say it much ’cause I agree with all the advice that’s already been given, but like Jesse did, don’t be afraid to just follow smart people, forget about the job title of someone you admire and want to work with, I think is really bright and gives you an opening, don’t be afraid to just follow a smart person and soak them up. Also, don’t be afraid to follow the action. I think lot of lawyers have made successful careers about just kind of being in the right place at the right time when a new area of law was born.
So if you follow smart people and follow their action, then that usually works out pretty well.
And also, it goes hand in hand, don’t be afraid of a steep learning curve. A lot of us know a lot less (chuckles) going into a meeting are a new dispute then people assume experts should know. You just have to be willing to learn and not be intimidated by a steep learning curve. All of that kind of goes to the same point of just being open and not being afraid to pivot. But specific to trade, I’ll just leave one piece of advice which is to read, read news, read trade press, and try to kind of immerse yourself in this world if you think it’s something you’re interested in both to test your interest and make sure you actually like it, but also to become kind of fluent in the language of trade so that when you do have an opportunity to have a conversation over coffee by chance in a hallway with someone that could help you or that you want to learn from, you know have that conversation from a point of familiarity.
And know something about this world because all areas of law tend to be very niche and have their own language. So, that’s I think, just read, read, read as much as possible. – Thanks Amanda. And Carlos, now to you. – Thank you.
I know you guys probably didn’t notice but I was taking a lot of notes and those notes were not about what I was going to say but I’m making notes of what I heard. Some great, great advice. I couldn’t agree more with everything that I’ve heard about how to really build a career on solid ground.
Let me just add a couple of other things that hopefully will be helpful for everyone. One, which actually occurred to me because I had a conversation with my 21 year old son who’s a junior in college precisely about this point.
He was just thinking about what’s my job going to be like in this new world, he was all worried about money, how much am I going to earn, and I think that the conversation turned out pretty well when we talked about patience.
Patience is fundamentally important especially when you’re starting your career. I think it’s a very millennial thing in maybe Gen Z. You guys are in a rush, you want immediate results, you want immediate satisfaction, it really is not just a cliche. It’s true.
When you start your career, you’re there to learn. You’re not there to start making money or start necessarily reaching objectives.
The objective should be to learn. So make sure that you start your career by doing whatever you think will teach you the most even if it’s not the Jesse’s point then I totally agree. Don’t start your current career by asking yourself the question, “Is this where I’m going to be for the rest of your life.
” I’ve been at the firm, my friend for 30 years now. I never thought that was gonna be possible. It just turned out that way. I guess that’s because talent flies and moves around. I guess that that tells you how talented I am.
I did stay in the same place for a very long time but you shouldn’t think about it that way. Just make sure that you go to the place where you think they’re going to learn the most and everything else will fall into place later. So, patience is key. And I think the second thing, we as lawyers, I read a book a very, very long time that is called something like “Selling the Invisible.” And it is a book written by marketing guru for service providers.
And we as lawyers ultimately we sell our service as we sell our abilities, our knowledge, our experience. And it’s just very important to show this is what sort of the theory around the book that you care, you need to show people that you care, whether it’s clients, whether it’s your boss, whether it’s the organization. We define that at the firm as one of the definitions of our value of excellence is always do more than what people should expect you to do. That is the best way to show that you care. If they asked you to do from one to 10 and you did from one to 15, that shows that you care.
It’s such a very easy and it’s hard work of course but it’s an easy way that you set yourself apart from others and show that you care by doing other things, human things.
Call people up and ask them how they’re doing. Another initiative that we had at the beginning of this crisis was, we had a program where we personally called clients one-on-one just to ask them how they were, how their families were and we did the same thing with each one of the members of our firm both legal personnel and back office. Just a call, spend two minutes with someone asking them how they are. It will make all the difference in the world because you showed them that you cared, think about them when they’re not gonna to think that you’re thinking about them and make them feel special.
That really sets you apart and that’s sort of low hanging fruit from my point of view. It’s easy stuff that really has a big impact. I think my last point would be, then it goes hand in hand with caring.
Make sure that you put yourself in the shoes of other people, clients in particular but counter parties as well, be empathetic and try to understand what their point of view is. We are negotiators and international trade and everything else is lawyers and there’s nothing better from a negotiating perspective and to understand your counter party’s point of view and what is important to them to make sure that you can bridge the gap.
– Thank you Carlos. So, let us now open up for questions from the audience. What I’m going to ask you is to raise your hand so that I can see it. There’s a button at the bottom of the screen where you can basically raise your hand.
And then what I’ll ask each of you is to identify yourself, so say your name and your affiliation and say if the question is directed to a specific panelist or just a general question.
Marty junior. – Good morning (speaks foreign language) Alvaro. My name is Marty. I’m a third year student at Georgetown (Indistict) I would like to know what were like the main differences someone (indistinct) trying to get into the field. What are the pluses and minuses of choosing to go into government practice versus instead of starting off at the private firm and vice versa.
– Thank you Marty. – It’s a good question. I think it depends on the government agency. Your experience will be different depending on which part of government you’re in. At USTR, we don’t often hire lawyers at the entry level or right out of law school.
Most of our attorneys have some level of experience either in private practice or another agency or the Hill before they come to USTR.
So, one benefit is kind of getting that foot in the door when you start in private practice. And not all of them did trading at firms. Some of them were litigators. Some of them did white collar.
People came from DOJ or commerce or different agencies but I think in our office at least when I can speak for USTR, we really value just seeing a little bit of experience that proves you can conquer that learning curve and you can deal with these issues. So before, you know, in government you get a lot of responsibility early on, you don’t have a lot of supervision often, so it’s good to hire people that you know can handle it.
And sometimes that last minute notice, you will have to put them in front of a government official or a stakeholder in a meeting. So you need to have that confidence so that you’ll be able to handle that. And that’s often easiest to confirm just by having some even just limited experience somewhere else first.
I can’t speak to the benefits of starting in government and going to private practice since I haven’t quite done that but I think it probably happens both ways and it just depends on your specialty and what you’re working on specifically.
– Great. So let me see if there are other questions. This would be a good time to raise your hand. Okay, we can wait a few more moments.
So let me ask a question then. Oh, perfect. Marty. You have another question? – Well, I don’t wanna be a gunner but since (indistinct) As far as that trade practice outside of just (indistinct) Do you think that there is like a transactional component of all that is not just an in courts and mitigating trade related issues?
– Sure, you broke up a little but I think… So, you’re asking if there’s an aspect of WTO work beyond litigation? – (indistinct) – I’m sorry.
You broke up again and I couldn’t hear what you said. I said beyond delegation at WTO and any trade practices there is like a transactional practice that doesn’t involve delegation. – Well, there’s all kinds of work. The WTO negotiates, implements and enforces. So, just in the same way that you would if you were approved in a government or in USTR, there are all these aspects and that is I think an important point if you’re thinking about a job at the WTO.
A lot of people spend their time supporting negotiations. Even more people spend their time working, they’re responsible for the implementation of particular agreements which means they supervise committees who are reviewing legislations that are notified by different countries, they’re helping countries who want to discuss a particular trade measure, they are working for the trade policy review, preparing reports and analysis about a country’s work, about a country’s measures. There’s a very substantial trade technical assistance program so a lot of people spend a lot of time teaching about the WTO rules, working very closely with government officials. So, the great majority of jobs in the WTO are not litigation jobs. Most lawyers tend overlook and at least the ones that are sort of hardcore public international lawyers think it’s only about litigating.
But if you’ve learned anything in the last few years at the WTO, if it’s only about litigating, it’s just not gonna work.
So, there are enormous amounts of opportunities and depending upon your specialties, the type of work that you’ve been doing before, or the types of study that you’ve done. That may be exactly what you’re going to be doing at the WTO (speaks faintly) – Let me now give the mic to Cameron Mixon. – Hello professor Kreier is there anybody who can speak to hiring in the private practice? What advice would you give to finding opportunities or interviews for somebody in their three L year, and are supposed to summer up and position the summer pathway in one L or two L?
– Well, it’s been a really long time since I was in the private market and I ended up working for a firm that I did a summer clerkship way back in the day.
But I think maybe a couple of things to think about it. It’s a little bit harder if you haven’t done that summer associateship and I know how entirely disrupted things have been for all you third year students and how difficult it must be. Try and find some part time work, so you can show people what you can do, think about types of jobs that are maybe not traditional jobs. For example, that are not necessarily what lawyers are looking immediately for.
For example, if you’re really interested in international trade, probably the single biggest massive jobs in the international trade area is in trade remedies. And I dumped being countervailing measures safeguards. Really for every lawyer at USTR are there are 20 or 30 people at the department of commerce doing anti-dumping investigations. They’re desperately in need of people. Especially people with language skills, accounting backgrounds, et cetera.
A lot of lawyers who are not in the General Counsel’s office but are doing investigations, they’re all looking to hire. So, if you haven’t been able to swing yourself the plum, private law firm job, think about that type of work as well.
Those are at least a few practical suggestions. – Great, let me see if anyone else on the panel wants to answer that question. Okay, so let me now turn to Tanya Kheitani.
– Hi– Sorry. If you could save your affiliation that would be helpful. – Hi, can you hear me? – We can hear you, yes. – Great, I’m a Georgetown University law student, a first year student and my question is about, if you think that you might be interested in moving into international law, and it sounds like you probably won’t get that international law opportunity in the field until later on in your career, how do you think about what state you’d want to be burden or like, how do you go about that when you’re thinking about your first job after school and where you think you might want to take the bar?
– Great. Who would like to answer that question? – I’ll take a stab if no one else does. I mean, assuming that things haven’t changed and you can wave into the bar and the district certainly that was the case some years ago.
Then my advice would be to take the bar in a place you think you might want to live someday and probably by preference a place with a pretty tough bar. Take a bar somewhere else and then wave into the district and you’ll get two for one.
Now, if you’re actually interested in practicing say U.S. international trade regulation that is working with international trade as regulated by the United States, you’re gonna wanna be in Washington.
That’s really the only place. Now maybe, there are other types of international work where you could be somewhere else if you’re interested in finance, or something maybe it’s New York, if you’re interested in supply chains and export controls and things it’s possible that there are other places you might want to be but for most trade work, it’s really going to be Washington. So, take the bar someplace else and wave into DC assuming things haven’t changed a lot in the last 35 years. – Great. Amanda would you like to share your own thoughts on this point?
– I’m hesitant because my true answer is I don’t know if that it matters as much in international law and international trade.
I took the bar in Virginia where I have never lived or practiced simply because I knew I was gonna wave into DC, practice in DC and my DC firm said, “you will take Maryland or Virginia (speaks faintly).” Some of my colleagues took the bar in their home state if they’re from New York or something. And then when I got to government and had to start paying my own bar fees, I went inactive in Virginia and kept my DC license active. I think mostly as a formality, you don’t often go before DC courts or need to use my bar machine these days but I still have it.
So, I guess my answer would be, don’t worry so much. – Great. Thanks. Let me see more questions from the audience. So, let me.
.. Oh, okay I see Aike. Do you have a question? – Yes.
Hello, my name is Aike. I did an LM at Georgetown Law and graduated in 2019. And now I returned a while ago to Germany. And I’m a clerk here in Germany right now but I’d like to return to the field of international law after my clerkship.
And I have actually two questions, one maybe to Amanda Blunt and Jesse Kreier.
And the second to you Alvaro. The first question is, if you work in the field of international trade law, what’s the biggest difference between working in that field at national level for example, in a government agency or International law and international level, for example in an international organization? And the second question is what is the song you talked about professor Alvaro, is it a David Bowie “Hero” – Yes (speaks faintly) So, because this is a quick answer, I’ll answer it first. But it was basically an interview with David Bowie, and so he wasn’t talking about specific song, but just about his career. – Okay, thank you.
– But take it now to the first song. Sorry. The first question. (laughing) So who would like to answer that first question by Aike? – I guess I can start it up and then kick it off to Jesse.
As a government lawyer, we are weaving United States are a participant in international organizations like the world trade organization. So the differences is, we are formulating our positions as U.S. government, we draft interventions for those types of meetings, we strategize internally and sometimes coordinate with trading partners and other members to get minded countries aligned for a certain interest or to work out differences, and then we take those hopefully well formulated and prepared positions or interventions to international organizations like the World Trade Organization and participate as just one member. So, even though we put a lot into our position, it’s really just one when we get there to a large forum.
So, that is kind of my perspective like a participating member in the international organization. And I know Jesse can probably speak more to what happens once all of us members get there gathered together.
– Okay. Yeah. I had sort of add to that.
I mean, I think probably the overwhelming majority of jobs in international trade law are jobs dealing with national law. So, in the case of the European Union, European union law principally, although even in the European Union, if you’re talking about customs for example it’s being done at the national level rather than the EU level. So, basically, if you think about the WTO and other international trade agreements, there are sort of a regulatory framework within which national law in countries has to operate. So, 90% of the jobs lawyers have in Washington, and this is probably true in Brussels and Canberra and Lima and other places is dealing with how their country regulates international trading.
Whether it’s trading goods or services and then all kinds of other ancillary areas that have sort of international repercussions like standards, financial services, rules, whatever.
And then you have the sort of framework within which those national laws and regulations have to operate. So, a few government lawyers like Amanda are actually dealing with the interaction between national law and the international framework. But most government lawyers are thinking principally about national law. And depending upon the legal system, they may be sort of, they should have some awareness about the international framework, but it’s typically the national average for (speaks faintly) and not the international legal framework.
So, you’re talking about lawyers who are dealing with their national legal systems principally but as regulated by international law versus people who are dealing with the international framework itself.
So, people who are doing with the international framework have to understand how the national laws operate with certain extent. The people who operate under the national laws have to know how the international framework operates. People who are really good at the work in either area understand both but that’s really the distinction.
So if you joined the commissioner, you work for the German custom service or something like that, your legal framework in which you’re operating is principal European Union and a member state law. Not international public law, but not exclusively.
– Great. Thank you. So, let me ask a question to Carlos and Vanessa. But this is, I mean, one of the things I’ve enjoyed about the career path sessions is seeing Georgetown graduates some of whom I met when they were students and went on to great things, some of whom I hadn’t met but really it’s in the range of our alumni network. And I can see there’s current students and former students, all sorts students from other universities.
I can see Dory Mayer who is really a bedrock of Georgetown’s international graduate programs and has been such an important person for our institution and for a lot of the graduates that have passed through your (speaks faintly) And so it’s really a pleasure to see you Dory and to see so many of you.
And so one of the questions I have is, how have you in your experience has the network of alumni that you made important for your career? And in this case, for those of you who weren’t initially from the United States but came here to study and then went back to countries, has it been something that you resort to, has it been helpful professionally, or what would you recommend for students? ‘Cause this is applicable not only for graduates, for Georgetown students, but also students who are going to other law school who will have their own networks. And so I was curious to hear to what extent this has been something that you’ve tapped on.
So, let me turn to you Vanessa first and then Carlos. – Sure. And thank you very much for that question Alvaro I did LLM international business and economic law at Georgetown law school back in 2013. So yes, definitely the experience that I had in Georgetown was very helpful to continue building my career international trade. I met colleagues from different parts of the world.
Then as I was saying, previous international trade process borders but also (indistinct) researchers.
So, being able to engage with colleagues from around the world allowed me to expand my knowledge of cultures, my knowledge of the world I live in. Some of my colleagues have been very helpful in understanding their legal jurisdictions. When I have had a specific negotiation in the field of international trade, I needed to understand some specific aspects of the legal framework. For example, I remember a negotiation with India and I really wanted to understand some of the specific issues regarding the expropriation law in India.
It was very difficult to me to get all the details about the scope and details pretty low in India. So, I contacted one of my colleagues from the LLM and he was very helpful and that allowed me to have all the information that otherwise I would not have gotten. So, this is one example of how the LLM in Georgetown allow you to expand your network of contacts and that can be very helpful throughout your career. If you are engaged in international trade, you have the chance to travel regularly. So, I have been able to meet with my colleagues when I visited Brussels or when I went to Delhi or Beijing I was able to meet with my colleagues from the LLM.
And yes, I would say that your stone is a great experience for international lawyers like me. I have always been interested in international trade so going to Washington allow me to be engaged in high level discussions, have international organizations with government officials. I was able to do an externship at a law firm in Washington DC for six months. While I was studying I did this externship program in the International Trade Practice Group of Sidley Austin. That allow me to be engaged with American lawyers, to practice in an American law firm and that was a very interesting experience as well.
So, to me Georgetown was definitely the best choice in terms of doing an LLM in the field of international trade because first, it is in Washington. So you are able to engage in internships in international organizations, to be engaged with public officers, high level officials from the U.S. government and to have access to practicing international trading in these big law firms that are very important in the field of international trade.
So, I would say that that’s my experience with the LLM at Georgetown.
I think it was one of the best years of my life. I made great friends around the world that every time that I have the chance to travel to their countries, it’s a good experience to catch up and to know what they are doing now. So, it goes in both levels from a professional perspective. They can help you to understand the legal jurisdictions, to understand some specific legal details that otherwise you would not have access to and at a very personal level you have the chance to meet with them, to have coffee with them, and to get to know them with their own cultures as well.
– Thank you Vanessa.
Carlos. – I agree with everything that Vanessa just said and just looking it from a different angle, it really goes to the heart of what we were discussing earlier about the importance of building relationships and mentoring. You know, people talk about networking. I’d like building true relationships where folks are worried about the other person and engaged in their career and their personal life and interested in giving back. And not just having a contact out there.
And I think that’s fundamentally important than developing a career. And again ,it’s a very good question that exemplify what we were discussing earlier in that, folks that are in positions like myself where we have been around in private practice or working for a very long time. There’s a lot of guidance that can provide younger generations and it really is a pleasure to do it. I’m sure I’ll just talk about Jesse ’cause everyone is so much younger than us but it really is in this time of our lives a real pleasure to be able to establish relationships with younger professionals and add value to their careers.
It’s not a burden and many times young folks think that they will be burdening someone in asking for guidance or a favor.
It’s not like that at all. It’s on the country. It’s really an opportunity that allows someone to feel better about themselves and contributing. So again, I think the Georgetown family, if I could call it that it’s a great example of how to do that. For example, personally, my participation in the Latin American alumni board has a lot to do with that.
It’s really about giving back, making sure that if Georgetown needs something in Mexico, they can count on us to do that. And it always is about impacting young people’s lives. So again, just for all of you out there, don’t hesitate to reach out to people and ask for help and guidance. It’s a two way street thing and it’s very welcome to be able to have that opportunity.
– Thank you Carlos.
So we’ve run out of time. I wanna say how much I’ve enjoyed this conversation, and I want to thank our speakers for joining us today and sharing their experience, trajectory and perspective with all of us. And I also want to thank the participants, the audience who joined us today. I was also taking notes. This is really wonderful advice and I hope you take their word and think about how to build mentorship relationships at this stage of your career.
Before we go, I would just want to announce our third model of the series. The CAROLA Four Series. It’s gonna be on transnational labor law and particularly the new labor regime in the USMCA. So, Amanda was referring to that as one of the new fields in the or areas in the field of international trade. We’re gonna talk about the new rules, the new dispute settlement system including the rapid response panels.
How does this differ from NAFTA? What potential effects it could have both beneficial, but also perhaps some drawbacks? So, join us for that session. That’s the webinar on October 13, and then we’re also going to have a career part session for that model on Thursday, October 15. So that’s just so that you put in your calendar.
The third model coming up on October 13 and 15. I wanna thank also CAROLA’s Executive Director Lelia Mooney and our fellow Mario Osorio, and the team that makes all of this possible technologically and logistically Kara Dobbs from centers and institutes.