After earning her J.D. at the Central University of Venezuela in 2011, Mariana Briceno joined Baker & McKenzie’s Caracas office, where she worked as a junior associate in the firm’s mergers and acquisition group. Briceno had interned at Baker & McKenzie and at Citibank during law school, and she liked her work supporting local and international corporate transactions and assisting foreign clients with tax and other legal issues related to their investments in Venezuela.
Her desire to learn more about U.S. corporate law led her to explore LL.M. programs. Mariana chose Vanderbilt Law because of its strong Law and Business Program. “Vanderbilt’s Law and Business Track is very demanding, but it’s worth the effort,” she said. “I learned many new things at Vanderbilt about the management of companies in the U.S., mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and securities regulation. I wanted to enhance my knowledge in business law, corporate management, accounting and finance, and thanks to the program, my knowledge of business law is now much more comprehensive.”
Mariana found her class in Securities Regulation with Professor Yesha Yadav particularly useful. “I had never studied that topic before, and it was extremely interesting,” she said. “Professor Yadav’s passion for securities regulation is contagious.”
She also gained insights into the U.S. legal system in her Contracts class with Professor Tracey George and by working as a research assistant for Professor Randall Thomas, who directs the Law and Business Program. “Vanderbilt professors have an open-door policy and are always willing to help students,” she said. “Professor George made classes very interesting with the Socratic method. Professor Thomas a top corporate law scholar, and I learned a lot about corporate law while working for him.”
Mariana recommends that even fluent English speakers enroll in the optional summer class, English for Legal Purposes. “The professors in that course are extremely kind and well-prepared, and the class is excellent,” she said. “I got more out of my LL.M. classes all year because I took the summer class, which improved my English greatly.”
After completing her LL.M., Mariana studied for and passed the New York Bar exam. She is now an attorney with LMN Consulting in Washington, D.C., where her work focuses on regulatory compliance and corporate tax law. She strongly recommends Vanderbilt’s LL.M. program “because it offers a variety of interesting courses, the quality of the professors and the environment are both excellent, and both J.D. and LL.M. students are friendly,” she said. “Vanderbilt emphasizes a collegial environment, and everyone helps each other.”
Mariana also enjoyed living in Nashville, Tennessee, during her year at Vanderbilt. “Nashville is a friendly city, and I loved the delicious food, especially barbeque,” she said.