Name: Maciej Borowicz
Home: Poznan, Poland
Law School: Adam Mickiewicz University
Where is home? What is it famous for?
Home is Poznan, Poland. It is located halfway between Berlin and Warsaw. With a number of historical sights, including the oldest cathedral in Poland, cultural events like the Malta International Theatre Festival and over 130,000 students bringing their enthusiasm and diversity, it is one of the most interesting cities to visit in Poland. Football fans will have a good opportunity in 2012 when it will be hosting the UEFA EURO 2012.
You majored in law and art history and once worked as an art dealer and ran an art gallery in Antwerp, Belgium while you were studying at the University of Antwerp under an Erasmus/Socrates Scholarship. What made you decide to pursue a career in law?
The art business did not go so well (laugh). Law seemed much more promising, particularly in terms of the wide array of career opportunities it provides. There are just so many things (apart from jobs at law firms or in academia) you can do with a law degree, especially if you have some international exposure. Whether you seek a career in international organizations or business, law will be a perquisite for a good understanding of the environment you will be dealing with.
You just started your legal career with SK&S Legal, a leading Polish law firm in Warsaw, why did you want to pursue an LLM in the U.S. at this time?
You often hear that it is only the somewhat experienced attorneys that will benefit from an LLM program in the U.S., as the programs are designed for further specialization of professional skills and knowledge. But those programs are much more than that: Firstly, given the remarkably plentiful selection of courses and their interdisciplinary character, young attorneys, including myself, have the opportunity to be exposed to some of the topics and disciplines they were unaware of, and to shape their unique interests. Secondly, the program is a tremendous opportunity to acquire professional skills (most LLM’s, for instance, take the class of negotiation) and acquire analytical techniques. Last but not least, and LLM degree from a prestigious law school in the U.S. opens a lot of doors for you, regardless of where you are at the stage of career.
Why did you choose Duke for your LLM?
I know a professor who used to teach at Duke, so I am aware of its excellent reputation, which matters a lot. I also know that Duke allows some of their LLM students the opportunity to work as staff editors for one of Duke’s law journals as well as research assistants to professors and I was very curious about this experience. Also the fact that the class is relatively small and you actually get to know most people, you get a lot of support from the administrative staff (which became apparent during the smooth application process), these are some of the things that distinguish Duke’s LLM from most other programs around the country.
What do you like most about Duke so far?
As most people, I guess, I think of universities as being named after cities they are located in. But, while making the decision where to go for my LLM program, the more I read about Duke, the more fascinated I become about it – Duke seems like a city of its own - it has the most wonderful campus, great sports facilities, its own forest and botanical garden. It is warm/hot here most of the time and life is not very expensive. What else can you ask for?
What is your plan after graduation?
I plan to sit for the New York bar exam and travel around the U.S. for the remaining part of the summer. As to the more distant future, I am currently considering a number of career steps and I have not made up my mind yet. Given the state of economy these days, it is rather difficult to find a job in New York, where most firms let people go. It is therefore more likely that I will go back to Europe. I am also considering a PhD program very seriously.
What advice will you give to international students studying in American law schools
Make the most of this year. Plan ahead, think about the courses you want to take, browse faculty profiles – sometimes you might actually be better off by choosing the professors you would like to work with, rather than by choosing subjects. Let them get to know you, speak out in class, ask questions. And constantly look around, network, look for opportunities and make friends. This will stay with you, wherever you go.