Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Cameroon, Ukraine, Brazil— from more than 100 countries on six continents, nearly 600 advanced-degree (LL.M., PLL.M., J.S.D.) students and visiting scholars have for years flocked to Berkeley Law to enhance their professional credentials and pursue meaningful research.
But the academic experience paints only part of the picture. The unique imprint they take back to their countries feeds an extensive network of Berkeley Law influence and connections across the globe.
“It was a huge experience in my life, professionally and personally,” says Marco Portillo PLL.M. ’15, from Mexico. He notes that faculty, students, and scholars he met at Berkeley have become not only lifelong friends, but important resources in an increasingly global marketplace. As an environmental and energy law associate at one of Mexico City’s top firms, Portillo often deals with international companies. “Now, if I’m working with a Swiss or Japanese company, it’s much easier because I can call friends in those countries, and they explain how the laws work there. I know these are great lawyers, so I trust them.”
Portillo says the Berkeley network has also helped grow his practice through referrals from alumni friends worldwide, as well as other alums in Mexico.
Visiting Scholars Program Director Lauren Webb says international scholars are drawn to Berkeley Law’s expert faculty, especially in key global areas such as environmental law, intellectual property, and business law. Campus culture is another selling point.
“They often come from countries where there isn’t the diversity and academic freedom they experience in Berkeley,” Webb says. “They build relationships with practitioners from different practice areas and legal scholars from all over the world, and bring those perspectives back to their countries.”
Connecting this vast global alumni network is a key priority for Assistant Dean of Advancement Amy Ambrose. In addition to the upcoming International Association of Boalt Alumni reunion in Berlin (June 24 to 26), Ambrose is excited for the launch of a new online portal that will enable alums to connect regionally and access the valuable and expansive Berkeley Law community wherever they are in the world.
— Rachel DeLetto