Two Students Pursue Texas Law-ITAM Joint Degree

Last week the summer-quiet halls of Texas Law clamored back to life, echoing with student traffic, chatter, and momentum. Among the seniors, midlaws, and freshlaws are two new students who join us from Mexico for a unique opportunity. Paulina Nenclares and Luis Roberto Leos Yeverino will spend the next two years at Texas Law, after four years of study at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).

Texas Law has partnered with ITAM to provide the opportunity for selected students to earn both the Juris Doctor (J.D.) and the Licenciatura en Derecho from ITAM. The aim of the Texas Law-ITAM Joint Degree Program is to train lawyers to be exceptionally well qualified to practice law on an international level. Students who complete the joint degree program will be academically eligible to sit for the bar examination in any U.S. jurisdiction and to file a license before the Mexican Ministry of Education in order to practice law in Mexico.

We spoke with Luis Roberto Leos Yeverino about his choice to pursue the joint degree and his goals for after graduation.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born in Monterrey to a family rooted in diverse customs: Mexican and Catholic customs inherited from my mother, a former Mexican judge and in-house counseling lawyer, and Texan and Christian customs inherited from my father. In high school, I studied and lived in Germany as an exchange student with Youth for Understanding. That is when I developed a drive to understand how, why, and if it is necessary that our societies and institutions are arranged as they are and learned that law was the area of study that could help me not only see my own context through different lenses, but also make an impact. Inspired by my mother’s accomplishments and how the field enables one to develop professionally while contributing to the welfare of others, I decided to study law.

What led you to pursuing the Texas Law-ITAM joint degree?

While choosing where to study law, I learned of the then recently approved Texas Law-ITAM Joint Degree Program. Astonished that both ITAM and Texas Law were catalogued as top universities in each country, I was equally impressed by the caliber of faculty members and graduate students. I immediately realized that this would be the most fruitful and challenging learning opportunity. I could equip myself with all the means that this program offers and develop in two different legal environments. This program will help me be a lawyer that has mastery in both civil and common law traditions and contributes to the cultural, political, and commercial ties that Mexico and the United States share.

Which areas of study do you wish to explore here?

Now that I’m beginning my J.D., I am, due to my personal experience in Mexico, inclined to further explore the tax, international trade and constitutional law areas of study under the esteemed professors of Texas Law. However, as I progress through my stay, I might bring my attention to other subjects that are more promising or interesting in the common law tradition. Additionally, I am considering working with the human rights, immigration, transnational worker rights, or entrepreneurship clinics that Texas Law offers. I will endeavor to help others who do not have the privileges that I have been afforded.

This program opens many doors for the transnational practice of law. How do you see yourself applying your joint degree after graduation?

In the long-term, I would like to work at a law firm or public institution with transnational influence on tax, commercial, or political matters (e.g. with Latin-American projects or cross-border transactions). I am confident that by succeeding in the Texas Law-ITAM Combined Degree Program, I will be able to secure a good job where I can enrich both the Mexican and American practices of law while contributing to both societies. However, only need and time will tell what awaits me at and after Texas Law.

Reprinted from the Magazine of the UT School of Law.