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Highlights from LALSA’s “Making It in Latin America”

February 04, 2014

By Angela Hooks C’14

Penn Law’s Latin Law Students Association (LALSA) hosted its annual conference Jan. 31, with the theme “Making It in Latin America.”

The first panel of the day-long conference was “Is Latin America the Next Frontier for Top 250 Law Firms?”

The panel featured Cathleen McLaughlin, a partner at Allen & Overy in New York overseeing her firm’s finance practice in Latin America; Antoina Stolper, head of Shearman & Sterling’s Capital Markets-Americas group, as well as the firm’s Latin America affinity group; Allison Tanchyk, a partner in Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP Litigation Practice; and Patricia Menéndez-Cambó, Vice President and Secretary at Greenberg Taurig. The moderator, Donald Canavaggio, is a first year associate at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and a recent graduate of Penn Law. His questions led to lively discussion on an array of topics.

The four discussed growing relationships between law firms in the U.S. with countries in Latin America. Among the topics they considered were ways to gain entry into international lines of work, Latin America’s role in the future of law, and the importance of having fluency in Spanish and Portuguese, and the gender dynamics of Latin America’s law and corporate worlds.

Prompted by an audience member’s question, the four female panelists also touched upon the gender dynamics in Latin America’s law and corporate worlds and the challenges that women face.

Tanchyk responded by saying, “To be perfectly honest with you, I haven’t experienced or at least I haven’t observed, that I’ve had any difficulty practicing…in Latin America than my male peers.”

McLaughlin, Stolper, and Menéndez-Cambó all agreed with Tanchyk, offering that they have faced more challenges within the U.S. as women than in other countries.

The conference also featured a panel focusing on “Essential Tips for Doing Business in Latin America” before concluding with its keynote speaker, the Honorable Gustavo Arnavat L’91, U.S. representative on the Executive Board of the Inter-American Development Bank.

See more tweets from “Making it in Latin America” on LALSA’s Twitter @PennLALSA.