Name: Glaucia Petcov
Class Year: 2012
Law School: Pontificia Universidade Católica de São Paulo
1. Where is home? What is it famous for?
I am from São Paulo, Brazil. Brazil is the largest country in Latin America and São Paulo, its biggest city, is also the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere. São Paulo is the business, industrial and financial capital of the country and is also known for its excellent restaurants and rich ethnic diversity.
Much of the Amazon, the world's largest rainforest, is located in Brazil, which is also the world's largest producer of sugarcane, coffee and orange juice, a major exporter of iron ore and a global leader in agricultural research, biofuels and deep-sea oil production. Brazil is famous for soccer (futebol), Carnival, Christ the Redeemer statue (named one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World"), the spectacular Iguaçu Falls, bossa nova style of music, and some of the world's finest beaches.
2. What is your field of interest? Why?
International business transactions and international commercial arbitration and litigation. My professional background is primarily as an in-house lawyer with major companies in the steel and aluminum industries. Most of my practice has focused on commercial transactions, contracts and litigation.
My interest in law started at an early age. My father was a prominent criminal defense lawyer in Brazil. He instilled in me a great respect for the law and for its importance in modern-day society. Earlier in my career, my principal area of interest was labor law and litigation and I was fortunate to clerk at one of the leading labor law firms in Brazil while still in school.
I enjoy the challenge of being a business lawyer and, with the courses I selected at Duke, I am gaining an international perspective that will allow me to use my transactional and litigation skills in a cross border practice.
3. You have practiced law in Brazil for 15 years. Why did you decide to pursue an LLM now? Why Duke?
I believe it is critical for a lawyer to continue to learn in both formal and informal settings throughout his or her career. I have an MBA degree and also taught labor relations at the post-graduate level in Brazil. I believe it is a great time to invest in an LLM degree and an international career, to capitalize on my professional experience and to take advantage of the opportunities that a dynamic Brazilian economy is making available both inside and outside the country. I chose Duke not only for its outstanding academics, but also for the friendly environment that the Durham area offers to me and my family. I am happy that Duke chose me, too.
4. What are the main values you have learned in all these years as a lawyer? What advice can you give your classmates with less experience?
Your integrity is your most valuable asset. Be honest and truthful in your dealings and relationships with clients and colleagues – and demand nothing less in return. Deliver on time what you promise with the highest possible quality and excellence.
5. What have you liked the most about Duke so far?
This is a hard question, because there are many things that I like about Duke. I have the utmost respect and admiration for my professors. I am learning every day how to be a better thinker and a better lawyer with their direction and advice. I also receive excellent support and guidance from the International Studies staff. In addition, I have made many new friends with my LLM classmates, exchange students, and visiting scholars. It is an enriching experience to learn about unique cultural, educational, and professional backgrounds of students coming from 37 different countries. I also enjoy the opportunity to hear renowned speakers and experts in various fields who come not only to the Law School, but also to Fuqua School of Business. I would like to take at least a dozen more courses than I could possibly fit into a year’s time – and the time here passes so quickly!
6. What’s the biggest advantage of studying in the United States?
The biggest advantage is the opportunity to learn the common-law American legal system and develop new analytical skills at one of the most respected institutions in the country. Also, as the economic center of the world, the United States offers a range of possibilities for lawyers to practice internationally.
7. In one word or sentence, describe your Duke Experience.
8. Describe yourself as a student. What is the main difference between being head of a group of lawyers and being back in the classroom?
I am a dedicated student and take my studies and obligations as a student seriously. In many ways working professionally and being a student are the same. They both demand time, concentration and a passion for excellence. When managing others, leadership, communication, coaching and mentoring are the most important competencies, which also can be developed in the academic environment. Now that I am back in the classroom, I appreciate learning with a new generation of lawyers and experiencing their energy and enthusiasm for the law.
9. What has been your favorite class so far? Why?
I like all of the courses that I have at Duke; they are all excellent. My favorite classes have been in business law, where I am concentrating my studies. These include Antitrust, Business Associations, and Mergers & Acquisitions.
10. What are your plans for the future?
My three to five year plan after graduation is to practice at a major law firm or corporation in the United States, focusing on international business transactions or international commercial arbitration and litigation. Of course, that could easily grow into a 10 or 20 year plan. Other long-term options include returning to Brazil to start my own firm serving South American clients with US investments or to head an in-house practice in a general counsel capacity.