Graduate diaries: corporate legal counsel in the shipping industry

Andrea Sesin-Tabarelli, a lawyer and LLM (Master of Law) graduate, discusses her law career to date, and shares her top advice on working abroad

I was born and raised in Costa Rica

During my studies and work to qualify as a lawyer, I kept an international background, where I trained in China, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. I describe myself as an outdoor lover – during the weekends you might find me hiking, running, skiing, rock climbing, or going for a swim in the lake.

I completed the Cambridge LLM (Master of Law) programme on 2016-2017

Besides surviving the exam season, I like to look back at all the great friendships I made during my time at Cambridge. I had the opportunity to participate in many extracurricular activities like rowing, women empowerment trainings, conferences and bible study groups.

After graduating from Cambridge, I moved to Switzerland, where I trained with a top-tier law firm in the field of dispute resolution

I then leveraged this experience, together with my background in corporate and international law, to start working as a corporate legal counsel in a shipping company based in Geneva. I am now responsible for drafting and reviewing the company’s global contracts. One of my favourite aspects of my job is the practical exposure to commercial negotiations. Working in-house at a company has allowed me to combine both my legal training, together with my interest in commercial negotiations and international trade.

languages will differentiate you from other candidates

The key is resilience

Applications, interviews and selection processes tend to be tedious and discouraging . It is therefore important to understand through this process, the market and industry you are applying for, and what requirements are needed for that specific job you want. The shipping industry is saturated, like many other fields of law, but having previous corporate experience with a law firm, together with a practical approach when proposing solutions, will open the door to many opportunities. Finally, languages will differentiate you from other candidates, regardless of which area or industry you decide to work in.

During my time at Cambridge I met with a careers adviser to structure a plan for my applications

Through these meetings, we also conducted mock interviews, which I found helpful in the preparation process.

And something you may not know about me…

In addition to my ties to Costa Rica, my family comes from a town in Lebanon called Jounieh!

For more on careers in law, explore our Career Sectors A-Z, and sign up for the Law mailing list on CamCareers

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