Bruna Bromfim chose Vanderbilt Law School’s LL.M. program because she wanted to deepen her knowledge of corporate law and change the focus of her law practice. After earning her undergraduate law degree in Brazil, Bruna lived and worked in Boston and New York for two years before returning to Brazil to start her legal career. She spent more than a year as a legal assistant for the state attorney of Mato Grosso do Sul, one of Brazil’s 26 states, working in the state capital, Campo Grande, before joining the legal staff of Ernst & Young Brazil in São Paulo.
At EY Brazil, Bruna quickly advanced from a business tax services trainee to a senior tax consultant. Her desire to focus on corporate law led her to attend an LL.M. career fair, where she met Vanderbilt LL.M. Program Director Cynthia Coleman. “Although Brazil is a civil legal system, most corporate law doctrine we use comes from the United States, so I wanted to learn directly from the source. Cynthia put me in touch with other Brazilian attorneys who had earned their LL.M. at Vanderbilt, and they recommended the program and had liked living in Nashville. When I did my research, I found that Vanderbilt offered one of the best LL.M. programs for corporate law,” she said.
Bruna says the Corporations and Business Entities class she took in the fall semester, taught by Professor Amanda Rose , gave her a strong foundation for the advanced corporate law classes she took during the spring semester. “The foundational knowledge of American corporate law I got from Professor Rose’s class gave me the solid grounding in U.S. corporate law I needed to prepare me for the advanced classes in Corporate Finance and Securities Regulation I took in the spring semester.”
She found her Vanderbilt law classes academically rigorous and challenging. “They required a greater commitment of time and intellectual energy. Classes are taught by faculty who are extremely well-qualified, and you have to work hard and prepare for class. The common law system was new to me, and I really enjoyed learning about it. It was interesting to see the differences in how laws are interpreted and applied in the U.S. from what we do in Brazil.”
Bruna recommends that LL.M. students take at least one practical skills class in addition to the required Legal Writing class. “I took Social Enterprise in Theory and Practice from Professor Lauren Rogal , and it helped me a lot with my drafting and presentation skills,” she said. The class examined mission-based business structures, legal mechanisms for facilitating social investment, and methods of measuring impact and preserving mission as social-enterprise businesses expand.
Bruna shared an apartment within walking distance of campus with another LL.M. student, Christiana Katsapi from Athens, Greece. “Nashville has a justified reputation for southern hospitality, and I really liked the friendly culture,” she said. “There are lots of things to do and lots of good music, but it’s not overwhelming. The Vanderbilt campus is in a central location, which made it easier to explore the city.”
Bruna took a leave of absence from Ernst & Young to earn her LL.M. degree and plans to rejoin the firm after she studies for and takes the New York Bar exam.