Name: Vanessa Jacob Heck
Law School: Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
Where is home? What is it famous for?
Brazil. There are some things that Brazil is famous for. I like to think it’s famous for tropical nice weather, beautiful beaches, bossa nova and samba music, good food and soccer, of course.
What made you decide to pursue an LL.M. in the U.S.?
After five years of practicing as a corporate lawyer, I decided to get a break to get back to some study. It is nice being a student after sometime again. You get to see law school from a different and more mature perspective. I particularly chose the US because no other country can compare with the US when it comes to pursuing further studies in corporate and business law.
Why did you choose Duke?
Duke is a top ten US law school and obviously well known for its reputation. Also, I had already heard about Professor James Cox and wanted to have the opportunity of having him as my professor. The scholarship granted to me also made a difference.
What do you like most about Duke?
James Cox…excellent faculty, great library, friendly people (staff and students) and quiet life.
Prior to coming to Duke, you worked as a corporate lawyer for more than four years, what do you like the most of being a corporate lawyer?
Being truly immersed in the field of business and getting to know some of the backstage of important M&A and IPO transactions. Also the need to be a multidisciplinary professional fascinates me (I’d say you learn some finance, economics, behavioral psychology and others unexpected fields if you want to engage in the transactions you are dealing with and/or with your corporate client).
You studied in Germany, Italy and the U.S. as an international student, What do you think are the most essential qualities for an international student to succeed at a foreign school?
In my opinion, being acquainted with different cultures and realities is the most important quality an international student can have. Besides helping you in understanding others, it definitely plays a crucial role in building relationships.
What is your plan after graduation? How do you think the LL.M. will help you with your career?
Before going back home I’d like to have the opportunity to work in the US for a while and I believe that practically the LL.M. will help me to fit into job opportunities I would not fit without this degree.
What advice will you give to international students studying in American law schools?
I don’t put myself in a position of giving advice to international students in American law schools…I am still one of them! I’d say we must make our best to absorb the American way of teaching law. It’s been a unique and very enriching experience.