Soledad Atienza, the director of the Bachelor of Laws, talks about the future for lawyers, and what it takes to follow your passion. “Nowadays lawyers need more than just legal training to become successful lawyers. They need to be business oriented, they need to be trained in management, they need to be innovative and they need to be international.”
What made you realize that Law was what you wanted to study?
I was looking for a program that would open my mind to the professional world, not just to the legal field, but also the business and political world; a program that would help me understand the way the world is run and how companies, governments and people interact. My law degree has given me the perfect frame to work in different professions, always being able to apply the legal knowledge and skills I have acquired studying law.
What advice can you give to someone who is considering studying a degree in Law?
If you want to become a lawyer, you should know that the legal profession is a hard one; if you practice as a lawyer you will have a lot of responsibility and you will work long hours. But in return it will give you independence and an intellectual profession– Independence because you will have to make decisions concerning your clients based on your own analysis of the situation and recommending what you consider is best for your client or telling them what is right and what is wrong. And it is intellectual because this profession is about studying and thinking.
This is a degree that will open doors to the professional world. You will be trained to practice the law but you will be ready to do nearly anything you want in the business and political world.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve seen for lawyers now?
Nowadays lawyers need more than just legal training to become successful lawyers. They need to be business oriented, they need to be trained in management, they need to be innovative and they need to be international. They need to be business oriented in order to understand their clients business’ and to give them better legal advice. They need to have management knowledge and skills in order to manage their law firms, or their teams of lawyers. They need to be innovative because this profession has become a very competitive one and lawyers have to identify new areas and new ways of working and be ready to accept new challenges. The practice of the law is becoming a global practice and lawyers have to be ready to work with international clients as well as in international transactions.
If you study a degree in Law, it doesn´t necessarily mean you will become a lawyer, does it? What other career paths do Law graduates take?
I studied law and I have worked as a lawyer in a law firm, I have worked in management and in the academics. A law degree gives you the knowledge and skills to work in the legal field as well as in many other fields, such as business, banking and consultancy. It is also very good training if you want to become part of the public administration, both at the national (notary, judge …) and international (EU, International Organizations …) level. You can also enter easily into the academic world through studying law. If you are an entrepreneur you can open your own law firm, your company or NGO.
What will this program offer that is unique?
The Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree at IE University will prepare students for a career in global legal practice and to qualify as a lawyer in Spain and UK. The curriculum will combine business law with business administration and humanities topics. A lot of importance will be given to the acquisition of legal and business skills. A four year clinical seminar called “Law unplugged” will allow students to simulate the practice of law as they learn. They will also benefit from the exchange agreements with top law schools all over the world that IE Law already has in place.