I didn’t know what I wanted to do professionally when I first came to the capital. I think I just wanted to find a decent job and find my path. But after my LLM I found far more than that—I found my vocation. I realized I wanted to be a litigator and have now been doing that for more than 15 years. My professional goal is to be able to maintain the thrill of working at something that makes me happy.
Retaining her passion for what she does
During a professional life that has seen her work in both domestic and international law firms, including Garrigues, Bird & Bird, José Luis de Castro and Linklaters, Emma has worked alongside some outstanding colleagues who she’s learned a lot from. But her IE Law School Master of Laws (LLM) professor, José Luis de Castro, remains the strongest influence on her—a person she describes as a mentor and friend.
This particular professor convinced Emma that, by studying harder than anyone else, she could become anything she wanted. At IE University, Emma was shown the pursuit of excellence and learned a passion for law. Lawyers, says Emma, spend long hours working, noting that if you’re going to be a lawyer, you’d better enjoy what you do.
Early in her career, Emma was offered the opportunity to start teaching while she worked full-time at a law firm. She accepted, and has combined the two professions ever since—having taught at Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Universidad San Pablo CEU, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad de Navarra as well as IE University. She asserts that the need to explain law has also served to improve and deepen her own knowledge, and taught many students who have gone on to become colleagues. While this experience requires a lot of dedication, Emma finds it enriching. She now has the opportunity to share experiences and insights she would have loved to have received in her own legal education.
Emma began teaching at IE University last year. As a former student, she was thrilled, expressing how much it means to her to have become part of the organization professionally. She’s particularly pleased to be teaching Advocacy, a subject she describes as soft law. The “special features” of Advocacy allow her to be creative in her teaching, without the need to follow a set course or legislative code. Instead, she teaches from her own experiences, insisting that Advocacy is one of the most helpful tools she can impart.
What’s not in the legal books, she says, is how to behave, how to talk, how to draft documents within a law firm, how to deal with clients, and how to act before a court. She aims to give her students resources that will be valuable to them during their junior years in the profession. And it’s clear she gets as much from teaching as from her legal career—during what’s been a difficult period for everybody, Emma says that teaching students of many different nationalities has been particularly rewarding for her.
Away from her work, Emma’s number one hobby is travel. She loves visiting new countries, exploring different cultures’ food and visiting “amazing places.” She does this as often as she can, finding it helps her disconnect and recharge her batteries. She’s also a very keen runner, with a number of marathons behind her. She finds running keeps her fit not only physically but mostly mentally.
Asked what her keys to success are, Emma’s response is perhaps a reflection of her journey so far. Resilience, effort and passion, she responds. There is no magic recipe, but Emma says that if you don’t succeed, try harder.