Q&A: Karina Uribe Peña, LL.M. ’17, Legislative Advisor, National Congress of Chile
Karina Uribe Peña, LL.M. ’17, works as a legislative advisor for the National Congress of Chile. She also teaches at the Universidad de Valparaíso, including courses in International Law and Immigration Law. In addition, she teaches teaching Immigration Law at Universidad Andrés Bello. She has been invited to teach at the Judicial Academy and in a program called Ser Migrante as guest professor where, with some students, faculty give legal advice to civil society about immigration laws as well as migrant´s rights.
How did your experience in the LL.M. program at Minnesota Law help further your career goals?
My LL.M. program gave me not just legal knowledge about American law, but also the tools and skills to work under pressure and with different people and topics. The possibility to study law in another language was very helpful. Also, my volunteering at the James H. Binger Center for New Americans and at Advocates for Human Rights gave me experience which I can share in Chile with my students, lawyers, and other people.
What was the most valuable part of your LL.M. experience at Minnesota Law?
The best part was the friends that I made. I met people from all over the world, which was the most beautiful and enriching experience in the LL.M. Besides, getting to know a comparative legal system such as the common law was very interesting because I come from a civil law legal system. This experience gave me broad understanding about American law and how it works.
What was the most enjoyable thing about your experience in the program and/or your time in the Twin Cities?
I enjoyed every day during the program – except maybe the exams period! From the first moment, LL.M. students were very well received. Hannah Kuether, Karen Lundquist and all the LL.M. team were very concerned about all aspects of our experience during our stay in Minneapolis. Minneapolis, despite the winter, is a very enjoyable city. I had the opportunity to work as volunteer at the Advocates for Human Rights in the Refugee program. My work there was valued from the first moment, and I was able to work on the front lines of one of the most difficult topics of violations of human rights, thanks to Prof. David Weissbrodt, who encouraged foreign students to join the NGO and work in the field of human rights.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your post-program experiences or life today?
When I decided go to United States to get my LL.M. degree, I never imagined how useful it would be for my career in Chile. My LL.M. from Minnesota Law has been a key that that has opened many doors, forcing me to be a better lawyer, and started me thinking about obtaining a Ph.D.
What message would you like to give to those contemplating enrolling in the LL.M. program at Minnesota Law?
My advice would be that they do not have to think so much about “how will be the life in Minnesota,” because the experience that you can have is unimaginable! The LL.M. program in the Law School is first-rate as well as the academic environment and the quality of the professors. The winter is difficult, but not terrible — moreover a perfect condition to study and focus on the program! Chicago is very close, and if you love nature, Minnesota is the place!