“The LLM,” Gottardi explains, “prepares students to be proficient in effectively navigating common-law material, giving them a competitive advantage in the market. An attorney with law degrees both in Europe and in the U.S. has an incredible competitive advantage in the context of multinational company work and/or international litigation.”
She says her LLM career at Cincinnati Law “was a growing experience in multiple ways. First of all, on a personal level, I’m far away from my family, I have to rely on my own abilities. On a more educational level, it was challenging to attend classes based in a different legal system and get up to speed with the JDs and be on the same level as them.”
Reflecting on the sometimes-difficult experience, however, Gottardi does not hesitate to say, “I loved it.” She feels the quality of teaching here is “outstanding” and felt a particular affinity for Professor Jacob Cogan’s interest in international law and adjunct Professor John B. Pinney's ability to bring his professional experience into the classroom.
Pinney was also instrumental in Gottardi’s decision to represent Cincinnati Law at the 25th Annual William C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Hong Kong, China. The Vis competition is an annual international law student arbitration competition. Schools from all over the world participate, and it is one of the most prestigious law competitions in the world. Pinney and Steve McDevitt (attorney at Frost, Brown, Todd law firm) volunteered their time to lead Gottardi’s team.
In the summer of 2018, with Cincinnati Law sponsorship, Gottardi went to the Republic of Georgia. Under the supervision of Georgian Deputy Minister of the Interior and fellow Cincinnati Law LLM graduate Natia Mezvrishvili, Gottardi worked on a variety of issues at the Ministry, focusing primarily on domestic violence issues. One of her first tasks was researching cybercrime, with a special focus on cyberbullying and cyberstalking—relatively new fields that greatly benefit from further research. Gottardi also learned about Georgia’s history and government (you can check out her overview here).
Nora Burke Wagner, assistant dean for International Student Programs & Director of the LLM Program, explained that the trip was made possible by the law school’s Urban Morgan Institute, as well as Mezvrishvili.
“After Natia was named Georgian Deputy Minister of the Interior, she offered to host a UC Law intern. Francesca’s work with the Urban Morgan Institute and Human Rights Quarterly made her the perfect choice. We couldn’t be prouder of both Natia and Francesca, and we’re incredibly grateful to Natia for creating this opportunity,” she said.