Now an associate at New York-based law firm White & Case, Aida Fernández Láez feels that getting her bachelor’s degree in Spain gave her the global experience she was looking for and helped get her where she is today.
Aida Fernández Láez is a powerhouse. She plunged straight from the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) at IE University into a Juris Doctor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, landing a position as an associate with international law firm White & Case in New York City right after graduation.
She chose IE University as the place to begin her legal studies out of a desire to gain an international perspective on law from the diverse and world-renowned faculty. She was not disappointed, crediting her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) experience and IE University’s powerful network with institutions across the globe with making it possible to achieve all she has today.
We had the opportunity to chat with Aida about her unique learning experience and how her time at IE University has impacted her career.
What did you like the most about the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) at IE University?
The Bachelor of Laws at IE University is exceptional—not only because of the faculty that comes from all over the world, but also because of the fantastic opportunities and relationships that IE University has with other institutions abroad, such as King’s College or Northwestern University. That, to me, was an invaluable opportunity as it allowed me to get to where I am today.
What skills did you gain that have been useful in your career?
During my time at IE University, I learned to work in teams, which is not very common in foreign law schools in my experience. IE University focuses on teamwork from day one, both inside and outside the classroom. In the classroom, students experience that teamwork through the interactive approach taken by professors and the different assignments we have to complete throughout the course. Outside the classroom, teamwork can be experienced in a variety of settings by participating in programs such as LawWithoutWalls or one of the many moot courts that IE University takes part in.
Tell us a bit about your professional experience since graduation.
I was fortunate to get a job offer from White & Case through the on-campus interviewing process at Northwestern, which I went through right after moving from Spain to the US upon finishing the LL.B. program at IE University. I was a summer associate at White & Case before joining full-time in October of 2021 after graduating from Northwestern.
The experience was fantastic, the attorneys I met were great and, despite it being a virtual summer, I was able to do work in all of the practice areas I was interested in. White & Case was my first choice and, since joining as a first-year associate, the work has been very intellectually stimulating—which is exactly what I was looking for in a law firm. Additionally, with my international profile and having studied law in Spain and then in the US, White & Case also provided that truly global experience I was looking for. I have had the opportunity to work with different offices and in different languages.
What do you see for your future?
I want to keep learning and growing in the practice of law. I am surrounded by very impressive lawyers who are willing to provide great feedback and mentorship, so I hope to keep learning from them as much as I can. I am lucky to be at a firm that also places a lot of emphasis on pro-bono work and I hope to keep giving back to the community and those around me through it. I was proud to have been recognized in this year’s White & Case Pro Bono Awards for my work and I definitely want to keep that up and further my commitment to pro bono.
What is your advice for anyone who wants to study law, especially outside of Spain?
The practice of law can be very demanding, but it can also be very rewarding, especially if you find yourself doing work you like and are surrounded by people you can look up to not only professionally but also personally. As a foreign-trained lawyer, trying to pursue a law degree outside of Spain—in my case, a Juris Doctor in the United States—was a very humbling experience. While at first it can feel very competitive, if you focus on your strengths and what you can bring to the table as a foreign lawyer and a foreign student, you can succeed. Do what works for you, don’t focus on what everyone else is doing and what everyone else thinks you should do, find balance, and—as cliché as it sounds—everything will fall into place.