PUBLISHED:April 06, 2015

5 Questions for Phong Bui LLM '15

Phong Bui ’15

Bui, an LLM candidate from Vietnam, is pursuing the business law certificate.


1. What did you do before coming to Duke Law?

I worked at the Vietnamese offices of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer for more than four years.  At Freshfields, I was trained by top-quality lawyers, met with sophisticated clients, got acquainted with strict professional standards, and had opportunities to get involved in a broad array of legal work.  In my last two years, I focused on corporate and finance law, especially cross-border financial transactions.    

2. Why did you choose Duke Law?

Duke Law ranks among the best law schools in the U.S.  In addition, during my time with Freshfields, I worked with, and was trained by Duke alumni.  I always wanted to be here someday.  When I learned that Duke Law had started offering a Business Law Certificate to international LLM students, I knew I had chosen wisely.

3. What are your plans for spring term?

This spring I am taking “Business Associations” and “Securities Regulation”, both taught by Professor Cox, and “Regulating and Structuring Financial Transactions,” offered by Professor Schwarcz.  These classes, together with “Big Bank Regulation”, taught by Professor Baxter, which I took last semester, I think will equip me with a sound background of business law, necessary for me to become a successful business lawyer.

4. What advice would you give to prospective students wanting to study business law in the U.S.?

You will easily find reason, as I did, to come to Duke Law.  I am confident in saying that Duke Law has among the best faculty.  Further, Duke Law offers a wide range of business law-related classes that you will find very interesting and helpful.  In addition to the Business Law Certificate, it is possible to attend courses at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.

It is worth noting, however, that studying business law in the U.S. is challenging.  You will have to get familiar with Common Law, which may be a whole new legal system to you.  Basics of contracts and agency law are important, as well as an economic background (especially on the post-crisis context) and common business sense.  But you don’t need to worry if you feel that you lack some of those, as here at Duke, there are plenty of valuable resources in Goodson Library, professors’ doors are always open, and you will be studying alongside the brightest JD and LLM students.

5. Aside from the academics, what can you say about Duke and its surroundings?

Many will say that Durham is not an exciting city. Some will even say it is boring, particularly in comparison with big and famous urban cities in the U.S.  I sincerely dissent.  I have found Durham a great place to live.  It is easy to commute around the campus and convenient to travel to either the mountains or beach.  The weather is nice.  People are friendly in many ways.  And not to mention the other name of Durham: “The Tastiest City of the South.”  Also, being a student here, it is extremely exciting. If you come here, you will soon be breathing in a “Blue Devil” atmosphere and supporting Duke baseball, American football, and especially basketball.

– Pedro Soares ‘15