Meet LLM student Renata Xavier

The Brazilian attorney who came to Cincinnati in 2018 to earn her Master’s degree in U.S. law at UC’s College of Law says she found a ‘terrific university with a warm and welcoming law school’

University of Cincinnati College of Law LLM students come from all corners of the globe, and each one brings a unique and fascinating story.

Attorney and current LLM student Renata Xavier came to Cincinnati in 2018 to earn her Master’s degree in U.S. law at Cincinnati Law.  She is currently completing an externship with Chief Judge Jeffery Hopkins, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio, and expects to complete her degree in May.

The following is an interview with Renata Xavier. Answers have been edited.

Tell us about your hometown and your previous studies

I grew up in the countryside near the city of Sao Paolo.  Sao Paolo is the most populous city in all of Brazil.  I moved into Sao Paulo to pursue my legal studies at McKenzie Presbyterian University.

After completing my studies, I worked for six years as an associate with two different law firms.  I focus primarily on business litigation.  After working on international bankruptcy matters for Krikror Kaysserlikan Associates, I went back to school to earn a specialization in bankruptcy law.

Why did you decide to come to Cincinnati?

I am determined to expand my knowledge of the law, and the LLM will enable me to achieve that objective.  I thought that by earning an LLM, I could broaden my view of the law and how people use law to solve problems.  Given my extensive work in the area of business litigation and bankruptcy, it was particularly important to me to learn more about the U.S. legal system.  The U.S. legal system is very influential in those matters.

I initially looked at the University of Cincinnati because I knew people who live in the area.  What I found was a terrific university with a warm and welcoming law school.  The staff at Cincinnati Law was very helpful, and they made the transition very easy for me.

How will the LLM degree help you professionally?

The U.S. legal system’s common law approach is very different from the civil law system in Brazil. The common law system requires different skills when it comes to legal research and writing, and these details and strategies supplement what I learned in Brazil.  By learning about this new way of thinking about the law, I am in a better position to understand the issues and apply the law in a more creative and effective way.  When you learn how to use another system, you become more thoughtful and develop new strategies to employ when you return to your home system.  In short, the knowledge I am gaining in Cincinnati will make me a better lawyer.

Moreover, a U.S. LLM carries real value at law firms in Brazil.

What would you recommend about the LLM program?

Renata Xavaier is an LLM student

I recommend that students explore the work experience opportunities that are available at Cincinnati Law.  I chose to apply for an externship (which is like an internship, but for academic credit). Chris Szydlowski, Director of Externships at Cincinnati Law, took the time to learn about my background and interests and made a terrific placement.  I have been spending time every week working in the office of Chief Judge Jeffery Hopkins of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio.  This has been a terrific opportunity for me to observe proceedings, and Judge Hopkins has introduced me to other judges and attorneys.  I have thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’ve been so impressed by the judges and the attorneys I have been fortunate to meet.

What was the biggest surprise about UC and Cincinnati?

Before I moved to Cincinnati, I thought that this would be a small city with no attractions or entertainment.  I was surprised to find out that there is a lot to do and experience in Cincinnati!  The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens is beautiful, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is world-class. I really enjoy spending time in Cincinnati’s “Over-the-Rhine” neighborhood, where there are countless restaurants, bars, and shops to explore.

Moreover, I have had a wonderful time getting to know all of the other students at Cincinnati Law.  Both LLM and JD students have been friendly and helpful.  I do not regret my choice to study at Cincinnati!

About the Cincinnati Law LLM Program

Students travel from all over the world to work and study with Cincinnati Law's LLM program. Participants in the LLM program take classes alongside JD students and enjoy access to all the law school has to offer—from renowned faculty thought-leaders to unique institutes and clinics. They are immersed in American legal and academic cultures.

Cincinnati Law’s nine-month LLM program gives program participants the opportunity to design a course of study that meets their professional goals. Our graduates are better able to represent U.S. clients and are more prepared for negotiations and litigation with U.S. parties. Since it started almost a decade ago, the LLM program has welcomed 75 students from five continents and more than 30 countries. 

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