Andres Rodriguez is the first LLM student from Guatemala at Duke Law. He chose to attend Duke, following in the footsteps of family.
1. Where is home? What is it famous for?
I am from Guatemala. My country is famous for its beautiful tourist destinations and for coffee. Lake Atitlan is regarded as the most beautiful lake in the world.
2. Why did you choose Duke for your LLM?
I chose Duke because my father, uncle and cousin attended Duke and I want to continue the family tradition.
3. What is your plan after graduation? How do you think the LLM will help with your career?
After graduation I plan to take the NY Bar and return back home to the office I was working at before coming here and become a partner there.
4. What advice would you give to international students hoping to study in American law schools?
My advice would be to enjoy your time here. Even though you will have to study and work, make time for yourself, make friends, get to know the city you are in and have fun.
5. You have cofounded a clothing company in Guatemala that utilizes a business model that is based on a commitment to giving back to the community. What inspired you to take on this venture?
The company's products are made using a little detail of Guatemalan traditional textiles in every day clothing. As we came up with the idea for the clothing, we decided we wanted to help out the local communities whose textiles we use. We were inspired by the TOMS shoes model of donating one pair of shoes for every pair sold. Using the philosophy behind TOMS we decided to donate a part of every sale to the community of every textile we use. The donation amount depends on the channel of sale of the clothing, as margins depend if we sell directly or through another store (the donation is 50% of our profit in every sale). All the communities are in Lake Atitlan, so we give the donations to a non-profit organization that helps preserve and improve the Lake, on the condition that the amount donated by every sale is used to improve living conditions in the village that each donation corresponds. For example, if you buy a shirt with blue textile, the donations would go to a village called Santa Catarina Palopo, and the organization would have to use the donation there. We believed that it is important to help our country and we believe we are doing that. Hopefully we will soon be launching our clothes in the United States.