Final-year student in the Dual Degree in Laws + International Relations, Paula Moreno, was a winner in the first edition of the Premio CONEDE Award for Legal Talent. In this interview, she talks about her career thus far, her award win, and what the future holds. 

Born and raised in Madrid, Paula Moreno is a native madrileña. She is currently in her final year of her Dual Degree in Laws + International Relations at IE University—and is taking full advantage of everything the experience has to offer. Paula was recently honored in the inaugural Premio CONEDE award competition, where she emerged as a winner over 50 other top students.

Learn more about Paula’s experience in the competition, the program at IE University, and her future plans!

Taking the golden opportunity 

Paula chose the Dual Degree in Laws + International Relations because she was “interested in studying international relations,” and complementing it with qualifications in law would make her a “strong asset” for any organization. Ironically, Paula soon discovered that she was most passionate about law. But, she also recognizes that studying international relations has given her a “humanistic and unique perspective to understand complex issues.”

Perhaps it was this multifaceted background that made Paula the perfect choice to represent IE University at the first-ever Premio CONEDE Awards. CONEDE stands for Consejo Nationale de Estudiantes de Derecho (the Spanish Association for Law Students). Since its inception in 2009, the association has made immense strides in protecting the interests of law students nationally, as well as supporting them through their formative years.

In 2021, the association debuted the Premio CONEDE Award for Legal Talent. The purpose of this extraordinary award is to recognize the academic excellence of law students from different universities around the country. However, the association doesn’t only aim to award academic excellence. They are looking for exceptional students who are well-rounded, proactive in their studies, passionate about the law, and have the soft skills to thrive in any setting. 

Paula got the opportunity to participate in this competition through IE University. She accepted the challenge because she thought it would be “an interesting experience.” She believes that her training at IE University—especially its focus on promoting soft skills—went a long way in preparing her for this opportunity. 

Making history with the Premio CONEDE

Despite tough requirements, Paula powered through every phase of the competition. The first step filtered out applicants based on their GPA: the minimum score required was an 8.00/10. Each candidate also had to submit their CV and other relevant academic records. At the end of this process, the top 50 students were selected to proceed to the next round.

In the second phase, the remaining students were required to make a short video about themselves for a panel of judges. These judges further whittled down the number of competitors based on their extracurricular achievements, such as previous internships. From the pool of 50 students, only six were then selected to progress to the third and final debate stage.

The last step of the competition was held on November 5th at Casa de América in Madrid, where Paula was able to meet the other five finalists. The day started with introductory speeches from some of the award’s top sponsors, among which were managers of several top law firms and banks. 

After these preliminaries, it was time for the finalists to battle it out in front of a jury. They first participated in a case study based on Spanish civil and labor law. Paula performed so well that she ensured her place in the final round of the competition with three other students, where she emerged in fourth place overall.  

A sneak peek into the future

When she first joined IE University in 2017, Paula knew she had become part of a prestigious institution with an international outlook and a wide range of resources to help students advance their careers. However, she never imagined that it would also give her the opportunity to emerge as one of the best law students in the school, if not the country. 

Paula adds that she has really enjoyed her years at IE University, and that it offered her some “incredible opportunities” on both an academic and professional level. When asked about the future, Paula explains that she looks forward to pursuing further qualifications in public and administrative law, doing pro bono work in human rights law, and enjoying her hobbies in culture and the arts.