Ank Santens ’99

International Affinity

Winter 2009

Ank Santens ’99 LL.M. always believed philosophy was her calling. Her parents disagreed. Sometimes parents know best.

“They thought being a lawyer was the perfect job for me, as I am strong-willed, outspoken, and analytical,” Santens recalls. “I ultimately did combine a bachelor’s in philosophy with my last year in law school, but I realized that the contemplative—read: isolated—life of a philosopher was not for me.”

Santens came to the United States from her native Belgium in 1997. Fresh out of law school, she found a job with a multinational pharmaceutical company assisting the international counsel in both corporate matters and legal disputes. Litigation quickly captured her fascination. “Whereas reading contracts put me to sleep, I found the submissions in pending litigation and arbitrations fascinating,” she says. “In short, I realized that I loved advocacy.”

The international aspect of her work also appealed to Santens, who speaks Flemish,
French, English, Spanish, and German. After completing her LL.M. at Columbia Law School, she put her newfound zeal for dispute resolution and her cosmopolitan background to good use in the New York office of White & Case, where she was recently promoted to partner. “My clients are all around the world,” Santens says. “And most have become friends or at least friendly, which is something in which I take pride. It shows they are happy with my work and the results.”