I come from the beautiful city of Cartagena, in Colombia. I’m a driven and direct person, and I love to spend quality time with my friends, talking for hours on just about any topic. I love traveling, discovering new places and learning from other cultures. After getting a law degree in my home country, I was drawn to private law and decided to pursue a career as a corporate lawyer in Spain.
A truly international experience at IE Law School
Recently graduated from IE Law School, María José Figueroa Sánchez is now working as a legal advisor in a prominent law firm in Madrid. She completed her first law degree at Universidad de los Andes, the top-ranked law school in her home country of Colombia. After winning a national corporate law moot court competition, she quickly secured a mergers and acquisitions role at a top-tier law firm even before she had completed her studies. She then joined the corporate law department of another leading firm, the first in Colombia to open a practice focused on advocating for the protection of minority shareholders.
When she decided to move to Spain and continue her studies, María José says her choice of university was obvious. She wanted to gain an understanding of the economic and business rationale behind the decisions of clients, so the fact that our Master of Laws (LL.M.) includes classes in finance, economy, tech, business strategy and innovation was a key factor in her decision to apply to IE Law School.
As part of her master’s degree at IE Law School, María José pursued a specialization in International Business Law. She says this is one of the few fields of law that is truly international, meaning she can use what she learned on the program almost anywhere in the world. For now, though, María José has decided to pursue a career in corporate law in Spain, so she is going through the process of validating her law degree and taking the Spanish Bar Examination. At the same time, she is working for Pérez-Llorca in a permanent capacity as a legal advisor in their M&A department.
When asked where she finds inspiration for success, she credits her parents’ determination to provide her with the best education possible. Their “hard work and unwavering commitment” has motivated her to excel, both as a student and a professional. María José says that their support helped her get to where she is today: having achieved the highest grade in her class at IE Law School and secured a job at one of the world’s top law firms.
She also cites the invaluable support of IE Talent & Careers, who helped her submit her resume to Pérez-Llorca and assisted her through the whole application process. “IE Law School contributed substantially to jump-starting my career in Spain,” she explains. “They provided a platform to connect with top employers in the country, and guidance to seek realistic work opportunities.”
Her time at IE University had its challenges, but María José used them as learning opportunities. “This was my first time in a truly diverse environment, with people from many backgrounds and nationalities. Learning from our differences was a truly enriching experience, as it encouraged us to challenge our way of approaching problems and coming up with solutions,” she told us.
She also learned a lot from participating in the Legal Clinic, which she describes as one of the most rewarding experiences of her time at IE Law School. Helping advise NGOs and startups opened her eyes to the potential positive impact of law. “I was able to grasp the contributions that initiatives like the Legal Clinic have on people who normally don’t have access to quality legal services,” she told us.
She strongly encourages other students to harness the opportunities provided at IE University, like the Legal Clinic. Another piece of advice is to get the most out of program content such as business, tech, strategy, innovation and finance—subjects that would not form part of a traditional law degree.
Reflecting back on her studies, María José says the ten months of the Master of Laws (LL.M.) went by too quickly. IE Law School exceeded her expectations and defied the belief she says is common among corporate lawyers in Latin America: that high-quality LL.M. programs are only available in the US or the UK. She is glad to have challenged that outdated assumption and encourages her peers to come to Madrid and see for themselves what IE Law School has to offer.