This Brazilian fraud examiner advises prospective LL.M.s to "research, research, research"

International Jurist asked LL.M. students and graduates to share their thoughts on their schools, their careers, and advice for future students. 


Hugo H. Panhan Ferraresi

Florida International University College of Law
Native of Brazil, earned LL.M. in 2015


What drew you to your law school?

FIU offered a comprehensive LL.M. program that really focused on the challenges international attorneys face when relocating to a new country. Coming from a civil law country, it was very productive to take classes that compared civil law with common law, focusing on the systems’ similarities and differences. I also knew that students from different nationalities would attend the program, and I looked forward to exchanging experiences with my classmates. In addition to understanding the laws and legal environment, the program helped me to embrace the business culture and legal practices of the U.S.


Why did you want to get an LL.M.?

I am a licensed Brazilian attorney who graduated from University São Judas Tadeu in São Paulo in December 2013. In April 2014, I decided to challenge myself professionally by continuing my studies at an American university. I believed that a new approach to the way I studied law would significantly impact my career and broaden my legal horizons with a new perspective.


How has your LL.M. affected your career?

I accepted a position with Ernst & Young and am a now a senior in the Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services group (EY's forensic team) and have completed my examinations to become a certified fraud examiner.

Having an LL.M. degree translated really well with U.S. companies, because it helped validate my international university’s credentials as FIU completed this step in the admission process. It is now easier for a prospective employer to look at my resume and draw important conclusions based on the LL.M. degree, such as ability to navigate both law systems, advanced language skills, adaptability, etc.


What advice would you give prospective students who may be looking at law schools?

Research, research, research. Sometimes, different law schools will offer very similar programs at very different costs, and I know cost is an important factor when applying to an American law school. It is also a good idea to look for jurisdictions in which the state bar is willing to accept foreign attorneys with an LL.M. degree. I would also look for law schools in jurisdictions where you would like to practice, because there will be plenty of networking events throughout your program, and networking early on is key to make the most out of your (future) LL.M. degree.

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