A world-class speed skater from Bormio, Italy, Nicola Franceschina ’11 LL.M. has logged thousands of hours on the ice, perfecting an ability to make tight, fast-paced turns while balancing on twin steel blades. Between the ages of 9 and 29, he skated and competed, juggling muscle-straining workouts with primary school, then high school, and ultimately law school. His schedule was grueling, but the hard work paid off: In 1998, Franceschina broke the world record in the 500-meter race. And at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, he won a silver medal in the 5000-meter relay.
Franceschina, a member of Columbia Law School’s LL.M. Class of 2011, admits that he found the speed of competitive skating exhilarating. But more than that, he delighted in the underlying strategy involved in determining just when and how to blur past opponents toward the head of the pack. When Franceschina hung up his skates in 2006, that competitive drive lingered, and eventually found a fitting outlet in the practice of corporate law at Bonelli Erede Pappalardo one of Italy’s leading firms.
“I used to skate at the top level, and I wanted to practice law at the top level,” Franceschina explains.
Not surprisingly, he has approached the law as he once approached his sport, placing an emphasis on the importance of solid training.
At Columbia, Franceschina embraced the Law School’s menu of unique and challenging courses, as well as the accessibility and insights of his professors. “At the Law School, you really appreciate what the current legal issues in this country boil down to,” Franceschina explains. “And what happens in the U.S. today, both in the academic and legislative debates, will likely be debated in Italy tomorrow.”