In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we sat down with Gabriela and René, two former OsgoodePD Canadian Common Law LLM alumni to discuss their love story, where they are today and how the LLM assisted their careers. Gabriela has her own Immigration practice and René is a Research Lawyer focused on Privacy and Data Protection Law.
How did you two meet?
We met in 1993. It was the first week of our LLB at the Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas. Universidad Catolica (UCAB) is located at the far west of Caracas. We both lived far east at the time, and it’s a very long commute and neither I nor Gabriela had a car. A friend in common gave us a ride and that’s the first time we met. We remained friends during the five years of our program. At some point in the last year, we started to date. The rest is history!
What made you want to pursue an LLM in Canadian Common Law?
The main motivation was to pursue NCA accreditation. Many additional benefits ensued.
Since completing your LLM, where have your careers taken you?
Gabriela was called to the bar in Ontario and started her own practice as an Immigration Lawyer.
I am a Research Lawyer focused on Privacy and Data Protection Law. I also became a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and earned the Canada (CIPP/C) and European Union (CIPP/E) certifications. I am also pursuing an LLM in Privacy and Cybersecurity Law at Osgoode Professional Development.
How did having an LLM help you in your careers?
- It was a fundamental part of earning the NCA accreditation
- It has been a tool to communicate with other lawyers from both Civil Law and Common Law jurisdictions while trying to develop solutions that can be workable for stakeholders in global jurisdictions.
- Having a Masters Degree in your resume is a plus in terms of securing job opportunities. There is no indication that the market is going to become less competitive.
- We started a network of contacts within the legal profession in Canada. Losing our network in Venezuela was the price we paid for to have the privilege of immigrating to Canada.
What advice can you offer current and prospective LLM students?
Before graduation: Never be afraid to bring new ideas to your research papers. (Pursuing new knowledge is the whole point of an LLM)
After graduation: Be as different as you can be. An LLM give you the ability to broker new thinking within your organization. Although lawyers are trained to conceive Common Law as a system rooted on tradition and precedent, your LLM should make it evident that the true strength of the system lays on its ability to evolve with the times. Take every opportunity to be part of that evolution.
René Mendizábal, LLB (Venezuela, 1999), LLM (Canadian Common Law, 2015), LLM Candidate in Privacy and Cybersecurity Law Program at OPD. Member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Certified under Canada and the EU (CIPP/E) (CIPP/C).
Gabriela Martinez, LLB (Venezuela, 2002). Specialization in Human Rights (2005). LLM in Canadian Common Law (2015). Admitted to the Bar in 2018. Gabriela has worked in the human rights and refugee field for the UNHCR and not- for profit. Since being called to the bar she practices in immigration and refugee law.