Name: Jaime de Larraechea
Class Year: 2011
Home: Santiago, Chile
Law School: Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Where is home? What is it famous for?
I am from Santiago, the capital of Chile. I think my country is famous for many things: it’s a long and very thin piece of land in which you can enjoy the most arid desert in the world or one of the best skiing centers or incredible beaches or the most amazing mountains, lakes and trees that you’ve ever seen. We also have huge glaciers and incredible views in the Antarctic. I’m sure you have already tried our excellent wines and fishes. Unfortunately, nowadays we are famous because of the big earthquake last year and the 33 trapped miners.
Why did you want to pursue an LLM in the United States?
In my country the master's degree in law obtained in the U.S. is highly regarded academically. Additionally, I was very interested in living in an English-speaking country in order to improve my English skills and also getting to know the lifestyle of Americans.
Why did you choose Duke for your LLM?
Everybody knows that today Duke Law School is one of the top universities around the world. Also, the LLM program is very well ranked in the U.S. and is recognized by both the American and Chilean legal world. In addition, I was interested in studying at a university that was located in a quiet and friendly place to be with my family and also which allows me to have an outdoor life and practice sports. Duke fulfilled all of those requirements, so I did not have many doubts at the time of application.
What do you like most about Duke so far?
Wonderful campus, great sports facilities, its own trails, forest, incredible gardens and the nicest people ever. Also, the weather is, in general, very nice during most of the year, so it allows you to do outdoor activities most of the time. Another very important thing is that life is not very expensive compared with the big cities of the U.S.
Prior to coming to Duke, you worked as a corporate lawyer for more than four years, what do you like the most about your area of expertise?
One of the things I like most about my area of expertise is that I am in permanent contact with various areas of law. In addition, I have worked in a number of M&A transactions and financial operations, which allowed me to work with the financial advisers of the companies we advise, which has given me a business perspective on the law that I did not have previously.
What is your plan after graduation? How do you think the LLM will help you with your career?
I received an offer to work in a New York law firm as an international associate, so NYC here we come! I wouldn’t have gotten the job without this degree.
After living in NYC, I will go back to my country to continue developing my career there.
What advice will you give to international students studying in American law schools?
Just enjoy your time here. The U.S. is an incredible country to discover as a foreign temporary resident. Also, try to learn the main principles of the common law, which is a very different legal system than civil law. Finally, be in contact as much as you can with JDs, because that is the greatest way to really learn about the American lifestyle. This is another important reason why Duke is a great option: you have the chance to share most of your classes with the JDs.