In their words: The many paths of a successful career in law
Three IE Law School alumni describe their experience in today’s legal landscape. From a legal tech entrepreneur who founded his own startup to a corporate global lawyer, learn how IE paved their path to success.
You’re studying law—you’re going to be a lawyer. For law students or recent alumni, this is how the conversation often goes with family, friends or acquaintances. But this statement doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the huge range of opportunity that’s open to anyone with a law degree. In every field and sector, there are numerous sought-after positions that young, ambitious legal professionals can occupy, whether as a lawyer, legal-tech innovator, or in another legal-based role.
At IE Law School, our programs – from a Bachelor Degree to an LL.M. in Business Law and beyond– are designed to mirror current developments, providing our students with the skills to take on dynamic positions in today’s legal landscape. With this approach, it comes as no surprise that our incredible alumni work in diverse sectors, with vastly different day-to-day lives. In a recent online webinar, some of these former students shared their experiences and insights of today’s reality as a legal professional. The discussion featured Isabella Ruiz de Rato, a lawyer at Cuatrecasas in London, Calum Hedigan, co-founder of Legolex (LegalTech) in Madrid, and Álvaro Hernández Vidal, a lawyer at Ontier, also based in Madrid.
“One of the most valuable aspects of IE is its global approach and comparative methodology, where you compare Spanish law with other jurisdictions in class. From a theoretical standpoint it’s interesting, from a practical one it’s amazing”, says Isabella Ruiz de Rato.
Discover where a law degree can take you
The three alumni kicked off the discussion by speaking about what they all have in common—the IE Law School experience. When asked about his time studying, Álvaro was the first to mention the learning methodology that has helped him in his current role. “As a lawyer, I don’t specialize in memorizing the law, I specialize in what I did years ago at IE. You get presented with a case, you need to create a solution, debate it among your team, and present it to your clients.”
This sentiment was echoed by Isabella, who highlighted the Moot Court competitions as fantastic preparation for her current role as a lawyer at Cuatrecasas. Isabella currently works in the Corporate Finance & Banking department at the firm, but she also has experience in M&A, Litigation & Arbitration and Tax. She says that “one of the most valuable aspects of IE University is its global approach,” referring to how they would compare Spanish law with other jurisdictions in class. “From a theoretical standpoint it’s interesting, from a practical one it’s amazing,” and it has been of great help to her working in various departments and countries.
Although they come from a similar educational background, they have each gone on to have vastly different professional trajectories. After concluding his law degree at IE University, Calum decided to take a more entrepreneurial route, co-founding LegoLex, a legal tech startup that’s supported by IBM and collaborates with IE Law School. Calum personally focuses on helping high-growth businesses in disruptive industries deal with legal challenges associated with expanding internationally. Interestingly, Calum claims that he originally “didn’t have the slightest desire to start my own company.” But over the years, immersed in the institution’s entrepreneurial environment, his outlook gradually shifted. When a close friend of his then began the business, he ended up getting involved.
Despite he chose the entrepreneurial route, Calum emphasized how interesting the experience of working in a large law firm can be. This is something that both Isabella and Álvaro know firsthand. In his role, Álvaro specializes in the IT sector—an extremely fast-moving area of law where new developments alter the legal landscape at surprising speed. He concentrates mostly on privacy law and says that, to stay ahead of the game, he spends a lot of time reviewing new guidelines on data protection: “As soon as one of these data agencies comes out with an answer, you need to stay focused and stay reading to see what the solution is.”
Isabella, on the other hand, emphasizes the development of soft skills with helping her achieve success in the legal sphere: “There are certain soft skills that are very useful, such as being able to adapt to any condition, and any environment you’re working in. Also, being able to collaborate—teamwork is very important.”
Looking to the future, Álvaro sees the legal profession—which is known for long hours—changing radically in the wake of the recent global pandemic. As remote working becomes more accepted and normal, the industry is adjusting to this new norm. In the end, it’s difficult to know exactly what’s in store with today’s evolving legal landscape. But what is certain is there are more opportunities for growth and unique legal paths than ever before.