“My generation will have to face the age-old fear of technology that exists among lawyers”
For Javier, the program’s practical, global focus means that students learn more than just theory alone. On a personal level, Javier’s IE experience has been greatly enriched thanks to the new family he has found amongst his fellow classmates. Now, Javier is kicking off his professional career in the corporate department at King&Wood Mallesons. This professional experience marks an important first step towards reaching his goal of joining a big international firm.
Javier Pedruelo, Spain
Where are you from? Have you ever lived abroad?
I’m Spanish. Before this year, when I moved to Madrid to do my master’s, I had always lived in Bilbao.
I have lived abroad, but only for brief periods. My most formative experience abroad was a 3-month exchange I did in the US during my final year of high school.
Why did you decide to study law?
Law was never my first choice when it came to selecting a bachelor’s degree. Nearly all my family works in economics, so a degree in business had always interested me. Nevertheless, I was aware that studying a single discipline wouldn’t necessarily guarantee me a good job in the future. For this reason, I decided to do a dual bachelor’s degree in business and law, with the intention of enriching my professional profile and opening myself up to more possibilities.
During my five years of undergrad, I discovered that although I liked economics, the world of law was far more interesting to me. So, I made the decision to pursue a future in the legal sector.
What about your IE Law School experience stands out, on both a personal and professional level? Any stories you’d like to share?
IE Law School is a demanding institution, and this has a very positive impact on the students’ learning process.
Throughout the master’s program, students are required to research topics before the professor discusses them in class. Although this is a complex task that requires a lot of prep time before class, it allows us to develop our learning skills independently, and to absorb the information presented in class more effectively.
In addition, students are required to work on several projects for different classes in the program. This means that we spend a lot of time on the IE campus, with class from 9AM to 2PM, and group work sessions in the afternoon.
During these frequent group work sessions, group members form a strong relationship with each other. It’s helped me become really close friends with some of my IE classmates. And, at the end of the day, no matter how hard we work there will always be time to unwind.
My IE experience goes far beyond my studies. As I said, every day is so intense, and this creates close bonds among classmates. Personally, I’m very happy with the friends I’ve made over the course of this program. I’m sure that these friendships will last a long time.
What areas of law are you interested in? Why?
The areas that interest me most are commercial law and labor law.
I find commercial law especially attractive because I have always been interested in the business world. My close family members studied economics and dedicated their professional careers to the field, so this connection ended up being the main reason I decided to do a dual degree in business and law.
Studying commercial law has given me a greater understanding of how companies work. Despite wanting to pursue a career in law, I would also like to follow in my family’s footsteps and work in the business world.
This is one of the reasons why I chose the Doble Máster de Acceso a la Abogacía y Asesoría Jurídica de Empresas. The professors who teach the program’s main courses (such as Fusiones y Adquisiciones or Asesoramiento Legal en Operaciones de Private Equity) are experienced professionals working at top firms. They’re also great communicators and educators, and I’ve learned a lot from them.
So, I would like to pursue a career in legal consultation because I can get first-hand experience in this field through the internship opportunities available through the master’s program.
My interest in labor law is mainly due to the fact that it’s the only field I’ve worked in professionally. During my undergrad, I had a professor who was really passionate about labor law. On top of everything I learned in his classes, this professor helped me get excited about this area of law. My mandatory and extracurricular internships were also related to labor law.
During my master’s, I had a labor law professor who managed to make classes very enjoyable and engaging for students, despite teaching a topic that’s generally considered to be less interesting.
Do you believe that IE delivers a global and comparative vision of law?
Without a doubt. The majority of the professors in the master’s program are practicing lawyers. Many of them come from Spain’s most prestigious firms, and they teach the area of law that they work in. This, in conjunction with the program methodology, means that the classes never turn into a dry reading of law, instead offering a more practical perspective on different legal areas.
What are your hobbies or interests? What do you like to do in your free time?
I usually spend most of my free time reading and running. Running in the city isn’t easy in Madrid, especially if you don’t have any green spaces nearby, so I’ve started running at the gym. As for reading, I like almost every literary genre.
I also like to play soccer and basketball with friends. We’ve actually organized a few games between people in the master’s program. After the game, we always take time to go for a drink and hang out.
What are your plans once you have completed your Master en Acceso a la Abogacía? What are your professional goals?
For now, I’m going to start off my career in the corporate department at King&Wood Mallesons. This is an opportunity for me to gain experience in an area of law that I’m interested in, while working with top professionals at a renowned firm. It’s a 6-month internship, with the possibility of getting hired at the end of the internship, so it’s difficult to know what my next step will be at this moment.
Though I studied business, I’m not interested in working as a company’s internal advisor. I have always aspired to develop professionally within a law firm, regardless of whether or not it’s where I’m starting my career from. One of my main goals is to become partner at a good law firm.
My other major professional goal is to have the opportunity to practice law abroad. In law it’s fairly uncommon to move between jurisdictions, but I think it’s an important experience for a lawyer’s personal and professional development, especially within large international firms.
How do you think technology has influenced the practice of law? How will this affect you and your generation in the near future?
Although technology has yet to make a noticeable impact on the legal world, technological innovations will undoubtedly transform the legal sector, along with all other areas of the economy. Ultimately, practicing law involves many repetitive tasks (some more repetitive than others), like face-to-face advising sessions, that could be simplified by using modern technological resources.
Maybe my point of view is a bit extreme, but aside from those highly experienced lawyers, every professional who wants to find their place in the legal world and to become a competent, qualified lawyer must be familiarized with legal tech. Those who manage to successfully adapt to these new processes will benefit from more sophisticated tools that will help increase productivity.
I think my generation will have to face the age-old fear of technology that exists among lawyers by learning how to incorporate tech innovations into everyday life. Not long ago, this is happened with Excel, when the program became a mandatory requirement for many positions. In fact, in the US, advanced knowledge of Excel is required to pass the Bar Exam. In the coming years, we’ll see the same thing happening with Smart Contracts in notary procedures, Big Data in the search for jurisprudence and Machine Learning for basic client consultations.
There are an increasing number of tasks that could be simplified using new technology, with an obvious exception being trials, which require the presence of licensed legal professionals. My generation of lawyers will have to know how to master technology before it really takes over. For this reason, I think it’s fundamental to include courses on emerging technologies in the curriculum, as is the case for IE’s postgraduate programs.