After graduating in the top 2 percent of her law school class at the prestigious UERJ Law School in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Antonella Consentino joined the law firm of Sergio Bermudes, known for its work in international law.
"I quickly developed a taste for private practice and became increasingly interested in international law," she says. "And I resolved to develop skills in two specific areas: antitrust law and alternative dispute resolution (ADR)."
A restructuring of Brazilian laws has opened up the country - one of the largest emerging markets in the world - to increasing foreign investment and a need for more lawyers with experience in antitrust and ADR.
At Columbia, she deepened her knowledge with the courses Antitrust Law, Transnational Litigation & Arbitration, Contracts, and Deals, as well as the seminar in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Ms. Consentino, 27, has another focus in her life that is perhaps as intense as her law career: soccer. While in law school, she served as vice president and general secretary of the Ricardo Lira Athletic & Academic Association and played the sport regularly until suffering a knee injury last year.
"This accident was really frustrating for me because one of my dreams was to wear a Columbia Lions jersey," she says. While she knew she was ineligible for the team, she was looking forward to attending some of its practices. Still, she remained active at the University's Dodge Fitness Center, working out, swimming, and "sometimes running - against my doctor's orders!" She will have surgery after returning to Brazil.
"I have learned a lot here at Columbia, but the one thing that I can say will be truly useful for me in Brazil is how to better assist my clients using different methods of dispute resolution," she says. "My experiences here taught me how to evaluate different methods of resolution to choose the best option for my clients."
After graduation, Ms. Consentino had plans to search for a position as a foreign associate in an American law firm in New York for one year to enrich her professional experience and then return to her firm in Rio. She also hopes to pass on what she has learned here in antitrust law and ADR by teaching students in Brazil.
Ms. Consentino is now an associate at Nixon Peabody, where she focuses on corporate law and structure finance. She plans to go back to Brazil in a year.