“I constantly find myself referring back to concepts I learned throughout the program. Also, I am always making connections between my academic and professional experiences”
Juan Felipe Roldán Pardo
Juan Felipe spent two years as a lawyer at Roldán & Roldán Abogados in Beijing, China, where he provided legal and commercial advice regarding business relationships with China. He then began working as a consultant at Sinowing Consulting and Investments Ltd., developing his expertise in cross-border trade, investment, project finance and international law. Upon returning to Bogota, he started as a Senior Associate at VGCD Abogados, before being named partner in late 2018.
Juan Felipe Roldán Pardo, Colombia
- Program studied
Why did you decide to pursue a Master’s degree at IE?
After a detailed review of the different LL.M. programs offered by different universities, I concluded that the Northwestern – IE Executive LL.M. was a perfect match for what I was looking. I was drawn to the following aspects:
- It is an innovative program which understands the key needs of the legal industry, the global trends of legal business (focusing on the reasons behind why clients are moving towards certain legal services), as well as the needs and requirements that the legal business itself imposes on law firms and lawyers.
- It is a program with a strong technical curriculum; both IE and Northwestern provide top tier professors, staff, facilities, and materials. This is highly important as the only way to sell and provide good legal services is with a good understanding of the technical basics.
- It is also a program which encourages you to interact with clients and competitors in a multicultural way. By doing so, it teaches you strategies to find and maintain clients, how to position a legal business in the market, and the key financial and management aspects to have in mind when conducting business.
- Also, its worldwide recognition played an important role in my decision. Not only does it boast an esteemed faculty of colleagues and reputation among clients, but by studying at IE, I am also able to join a strong international network which will undoubtedly help me enter the international job market with ease.
What skills and knowledge have you acquired since studying the Master’s program?
The core law courses such as International Arbitration, Civil Procedure, Negotiations, Corporations, and Contracts helped me broaden, and, at the same time, refine my knowledge of these different areas. These sectors of law relate directly to my everyday practice and have certainly had a positive impact on my day-to-day career.
Furthermore, the Business Administration module provided me with the necessary technical tools to understand how to run a business. After just being named partner at the law firm in which I work, this was a huge factor in helping me achieving professional success. Also, it has aided me to understand cases and negotiations from a business perspective in order to generate added value to clients. I am now able to approach this from not only a legal side, but also by rendering services and advice from an integral business approach.
You are part of a diverse class full of students from around the world. In relation to law, have you noticed any differences in culture? If yes, what are the differences and how they have enriched your learning experience?
Definitely! As people come from different parts of the world, they all have different cultural backgrounds, which also affects how they practice law and conduct their business. Differences lie with how they greet and create bonds, whether they disclose all relevant information or not, or their approach to understanding different material issues.
Personally, I believe that, as with any intercultural experience, this only helps broaden your mind, allowing you to be more receptive and open to different points of views. In this way, you are able to approach them both analytically and professionally. Most importantly, you are able to leave any prejudices, which may have previously been blocking you from seeing the true value of what people are saying aside. Finally, learning about different cultures, and being able to understand them, is an indisputably valuable asset (especially during this time of rapid globalization.)
What has been a stand-out moment during your time studying the program?
It may sound cheesy, but I have to say that the highlight of the program for me was the program itself. It was filled with such amazing moments, memories, and experiences – I could never pick just one!
What has been the most important achievement or project of your career?
The most important achievement of my career has to be being named partner last year at Gamboa, García & Cardona Abogados.
What was your professional experience like in Beijing? Did you notice any differences in terms of the way of working there?
My professional experience in Beijing was great. I really enjoyed it; not only do the lawyers work extremely hard there, but the experience as a whole was also incredibly self-fulfilling.
The intercultural atmosphere was definitely a challenge. Understanding when your boss or colleagues were telling you something compared to when they were asking you to do something was definitely a challenge. Also, keeping up with an extremely fast-paced market when everything is due before it has even been assigned certainly puts your nerves and stress management to the test. However, and without prejudice to any of the above, and no matter the cultural differences, everyone wants the job to be done well. I soon learned the need to carry out in-depth analyses and pay extremely close attention to detail. It also helped to get the work done as quickly as possible.
Have you been able to apply what you have learned throughout the master to your professional career?
Absolutely! I constantly find myself referring back to concepts I learned throughout the program. Also, I am always making connections between my academic and professional experiences.