Name: Simone Reis
Home: Mumbai, India
Law School: Government Law College, Mumbai
Where is home? What is it famous for?
Home is Mumbai, India. Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment centre of India. It is home to a lot of financial corporations and also Bollywood. It houses landmarks like the Gateway of India, representing the English influence on the country. But above all, I would say Mumbai is famous for its diverse yet resilient people.
Being a gifted piano player and placed 2nd in 2004 All India Music Competition by the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation, what made you decide to pursue a career in law?
I think of myself as a lawyer by profession and a musician at heart. Ever since I was a little girl music was a priority. My family has a history of both lawyers and musicians. I was one member caught up in both. After interning with a high court judge in Mumbai and a corporate law firm during my law school days, the law intrigued me (I say sheepishly a little more than music) and stimulated me intellectually. I thought that by doing law I could make a bigger difference in the lives of others. I try to compromise by focusing on music during my weekends.
Why did you choose to pursue your LLM degree after practicing with one of the leading Indian law firms for three years? Why Duke?
Business across the world is getting increasingly globalised, complex and competitive. This situation necessitates a better understanding of business laws and corporate laws with a global perspective. Corporate India, which for decades was content to stay at home, its domestic markets protected from foreign competition, has recently been the subject of an overseas spending spree. To address these complexities, I believed that there was indeed a great need for Indian lawyers to receive international training and get global exposure. I believed that getting an LLM was the first step to augment my understanding and to assist me to make my own robust contribution to this field. Duke Law is a great school – not only is it highly ranked and prestigious, but also very welcoming of its students. Apart from the aforesaid, students at Duke Law School have the flexibility to make selections from a large number of courses represented in the curriculum. Even more attractive is the opportunity given by Duke Law for students to pursue inter-disciplinary courses offered by the law school and other schools or departments, such as The Fuqua School of Business. This ensures that a student is given the opportunity to accomplish her desired academic experience and develop the expertise she desires in fields of law of her choice.
What do you like the most about Duke so far?
Duke has an excellent library. Not only is it well equipped, technologically advanced and extremely modern, it also lets each student study in a manner that suits her best. The various floors designed for different purposes are a large contributing factor. Apart from that, I love the campus – it is a blend of Modern, Gothic and Gregorian architecture. One can spend days wandering about Sarah Duke gardens. The faculty, especially Associate Dean Horowitz, are most encouraging and very approachable. They seek to attend to every student’s needs
What is your plan after graduation? How do you think the LLM will help you to achieve your goal?
I plan to go back to India and work as a corporate lawyer. I’ve chosen courses that have further my understanding of corporate and finance law. I believe that my experiences and my education at Duke Law will enable me to provide innovative legal services and practical solutions that create value for my clients.
You participated in the annual Leadership Retreat of Duke Law School last fall in West Virginia with student organization leaders, would you like to share your experience of the Retreat?
The leadership retreat was a fantastic experience. Apart from improving my leadership and communications skills, it was the first time that I was able to interact with people (especially JD students) on a different level. The office of student affairs did everything to make our stay so unforgettable and enjoyable. The story telling and toasting marshmallows over the camp fire gave me an insight into the American life. Of course the river rafting was the highlight of the trip. The environment was so conducive to know other students and develop friendships - definitely one of my most memorable times at Duke.
What advice will you give to international students studying in American law schools?
The LLM experience is unique, no matter where you study. It helps you see things from a different perspective. One learns not only from faculty, but more so from your peers. I think it is important to choose a school that allows you to do this. Taking courses that interest you and forming lasting relationships are what the LLM is all about. Taking advantage of the various opportunities that an American university offers is something that every student should aim at.