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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - International Dispute Resolution

Class of 2018/2019

 

Bianca Augusto Dutra Serra (Brazil)

 

Bianca is a recent law graduate of Universidade de Fortaleza – UNIFOR, and is admitted to the Brazilian bar. She practiced law in many fields, such as criminal, civil, business and international law, before deciding to gain further academic experience by taking part in the International Dispute Resolution (IDR) LL.M. at Humboldt University of Berlin.

 

 

Why have you decided to pursue a master of laws degree abroad?

 

I have always had a strong interest in studying the laws of other countries and comparative legal aspects, as well as international law in general. As I had already studied German law during an exchange program, I decided to look for a master’s program in Germany that does not only focus on German law, but rather conveys an international perspective on the law. Arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism is truly international in terms of the parties involved, the laws which apply, and the legal issues involved.

 

Is the IDR LL.M. curriculum demanding? How did you cope with the workload given the different mandatory modules, master thesis and optional internship and practical workshops?

 

The program is indeed demanding, and the preparation for classes requires us to read quite a lot. In addition to that, there are many additional activities like moot courts and conferences that we can take part in. Time management is particularly important during the second semester because of the master thesis.

 

What modules do you like the most and why?

 

International Investment Law and Arbitration was my favorite subject. It was highly intriguing to learn more about possible disputes between states and investors in the context of bilateral investment treaties. Another module I enjoyed very much was Arbitration. The module was taught by four different lecturers and it was particularly interesting to learn more about their specific areas of interest and their individual insights into academia and practice. The module is also the basis for other courses, such as the Specific Arbitration Procedures.

 

How do you feel about the atmosphere in the class?

 

The fact that the program is made of students and lecturers from all over the world creates a unique opportunity to broaden one’s legal and cultural horizons. The atmosphere in the class is very friendly and the LLM participants become one big family both inside and outside the classroom.

 

Do you enjoy living and studying in Berlin and why?

 

I fell in love with Berlin when I participated in an exchange program during my undergraduate degree. People from all over the world live in or visit the city. Although life in Berlin is not always easy, the city is diverse and people are very open minded. Even foreigners who do not speak German can get along well as many people speak English on a daily basis. It is a city that offers many opportunities.

 

What are you plans for after the graduation?

 

I plan to stay in Germany and continue to study German. In the meantime, I will apply for internships in the field of arbitration or international law.

 

Would you recommend the IDR LL.M. to other young lawyers?

 

Yes, I believe that the program benefits even young law graduates without years of practical experience. The program combines the theoretical knowledge of subjects such as arbitration, investment law or private international law with practical skills workshops, such as written and oral advocacy and negotiation.

 

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Mark Baldock (UK)

 

Mark initially studied Classics (Latin and Classical Greek) at the University of Cambridge before converting to law and reading for the Bar. During his legal studies, he was a visiting lecturer at City, University of London and a researcher for a leading set of Barristers’ Chambers in London. He was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn earlier this year. After finishing the LL.M. in International Dispute Resolution, he will return to London to undertake a pupillage at leading set of commercial Chambers.

 

 

Why have you decided to pursue a Master of Laws degree abroad?

 

International experience, including the opportunity to acquire foreign language skills, is of inestimable importance not just from the job perspective, but also is essential for an individual’s development. I hoped that pursuing an LL.M. in Berlin would benefit me on both fronts.

 

What was the decisive reason for you to apply for the IDR LL.M. at Humboldt University of Berlin?

 

There were two reasons for applying for the course. The first was the location; Berlin is a wonderfully diverse and vibrant city and, all in all, a fantastic place to live with, at times, too much happening. The second was the course itself; the Humboldt University’s programme covers all the essential bases of international dispute resolution in modules taught by some of the leading lights of arbitral practice in Europe.

 

Is the IDR LL.M. curriculum demanding? How did you cope with the workload given the different mandatory modules, master thesis and optional internship and practical workshops?

 

The work is manageable. However, I would recommend ensuring that you are well prepared for the course in order to get the most out of it. The arbitration module is the bulk of the focus in the first semester and coming to those classes with a basic understanding of arbitration will help you deepen your own understanding in the most effective way possible.

The most demanding part comes with the thesis; it is sometimes difficult juggling internship and course requirements with writing. My advice would be do not leave it to the last minute!

 

What modules do you like the most and why?

 

The arbitration module was my favourite. The course is thorough and led by some wonderful and knowledgeable teachers in an engaging way that stimulates discussion and original thought.

 

Any highlights of the IDR LL.M. adventure in Berlin?

 

There are perhaps too many to mention. I would, however, draw particular attention to the uniqueness of the internship opportunities. In the second semester, the workload is distinctly lighter, which allows for students to undertake periods of work at law firms. I undertook two internships, both of which have led to a relationship which were, and continue to be, hugely enriching.

 

What are you plans for after the graduation?

 

After the graduation, I will be returning to London to undertake a 12-month pupillage in London at a set of barristers’ Chambers. Thereafter, it is my intention to pursue a career at the independent Bar and to build a practice with an international arbitration element.

 

Would you recommend the IDR LL.M. to other young lawyers?

 

Without a doubt. Living and studying in Germany has been one of the most formative experiences of my life and given me opportunities which I would not have believed possible. The “Germany way” of doing things is something I hope to be able to use to my advantage in practice in the UK.

 

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Sandrine Larghi (France)

 

Why have you decided to pursue a master of laws degree abroad?

 

I have always wanted to study abroad and to learn German. As I was about to graduate from Law School and finish my studies in France, the timing seemed right for me to make that move.

 

What was the decisive reason for you to apply for the IDR LL.M. at Humboldt University of Berlin? 

 

I came across ADR methods during my traineeship contract with an American boutique law firm in Paris. I have been interested in arbitration since I had to conduct research on the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Arbitration Rules for the partner I was working for. As I was planning to study in Germany, I searched specifically for an arbitration-focused degree program and found the IDR LLM program’s webpage. After reading more about the program and its requirements, I decided to apply.

 

How do you feel about the atmosphere in the class? 

 

The LL.M. cohort consist of 27 students from all over the world and each brings with them their own perspectives and views. Therefore, the discussions are truly diverse and enriching. Beyond that, it feels like we are kind of a family. We always support each other, be it at university or in our daily lives in Berlin.

 

Do you enjoy living and studying in Berlin and why?

 

Berlin is a great cosmopolitan city with a very special vibe: it is a city where people can be whoever they want to be. Although there is a lot going in Berlin, it is very relaxed at the same time. It is also a great city food-wise, even if you are a vegetarian or a vegan: almost every food place has vegetarian or vegan options. No wonder that one of Berlin’s nicknames is the “vegan capital”. There is literally something for everyone.

 

What are you plans for after the graduation?

 

I plan to work in arbitration and international dispute resolution, either in a law firm or in an arbitral institution.

 

Would you recommend the IDR LL.M. to other young lawyers?

 

There are two main reasons for which I would recommend the program: Firstly, it provides the students with access to some of the best lecturers in the field of international dispute resolution in the world. Secondly, one has the opportunity to study in a truly international environment where students can also learn from each other’s prior experiences.