“New York is my campus. Fordham is my school.” The Fordham motto summarizes LUISS Law graduate Chiara Coppotelli’s year in the Double Degree at Fordham thanks to the Joint Educational Program between the two universities.
“New York is a complex and fascinating city. I decided to take advantage of the multitude of possibilities that it offers,” explains the recent graduate. “Thanks to the other students that I met, I was able to taste real American culture while understanding both their university and professional mechanisms. Fordham Law School is not an easy challenge; we Italians have different rhythms, we study on a long-term basis. In the US they have daily deadlines and a lot of different exams, even during lessons. I had to put myself to the test and find new study methods. However, this helped me graduate with a perfect GPA.”
During the first semester, Chiara took a class in Investor-State Arbitration where she met stimulating colleagues and discovered her thesis topic. “I was fortunate to have the former executive director of the International Chamber of Commerce North America, Josefa Sicard-Mirabal, for a professor. At the end of the course, a group of us decided to participate in the International Commercial Arbitration Moot Competition at the University of Washington. Fordham really cares about their students and offering them opportunities to grow. They are particularly interested in arbitration competitions. Working in a group with available people who are open to debate was so nice, while the technical support and motivation from Professor Sicard-Mirabal, who prepared us for months, was fundamental. It wasn’t easy to coordinate our moot preparation with our other responsibilities, but my experience at LUISS, where I always participated in extracurricular activities, was excellent preparation.”
Competing with the Fordham School of Law team at the Moot Competition in Washington, Chiara was awarded Best Oralist alongside two other colleagues. “Our preparation for Washington was based on research and group work sessions. We arrived at the competition knowing that we had worked hard and we were well prepared, although my personal award was a surprise! In these events there are always so many native speakers and I was worried that I would have been penalized. However, LUISS always taught me to express my ideas to experts who could evaluate them, as a judges, arbitrators or lawyers. Having been awarded for my oral presentation skills was important because we were competing directly with other law schools. I gave it my all during every challenge, without thinking about the results. The most difficult aspect was playing a double role: sometimes an actor, sometimes a witness.”
Throughout her entire university career, Chiara felt a strong interest in international law, which she was able to further develop during her Erasmus experience at the University of Leuvain in Belgium. “International law is for countries, not individuals. My studies focus primarily on laws regarding the economy and international investment laws. The interesting aspect of investor-state arbitration is, instead, the confrontation between a public entity, the state, and a private entity, usually a business. This aspect makes this micro-area of international law a new and exciting field, characterized by strange rules and principles.”
After her experiences at LUISS and Fordham, Chiara is focused on her career abroad, particularly in the diplomatic field and in the United States. “After earning a double degree I received several job offers and accepted a position with a law firm in London. I hope to take the New York Bar Exam in 2017 to be able to practice law where I have already performed an internship and had a good experience. In the long term, my dream is to work in diplomacy as I believe it best represents both my career and lifestyle goals. I know it is a difficult path and requires a lot of preparation, but I know that if I go forward with my current level of commitment, I can do it.”