International Arbitration LL.M. Alumni Feature – Arda Barlas, J.D./LL.M.’20

International Arbitration LL.M. Alumni Feature – Arda Barlas, J.D./LL.M.’20
Arda Barlas, J.D./LL.M. '20

Name: Arda Barlas

Country of Origin: Turkey

Year of J.D./LL.M.: 2020

Law School(s) attended: University of Miami School of Law, Yeditepe University, Istanbul/Turkey

Language(s): Turkish, English

Current Position: Associate, Reed Smith, Miami, FL

Legal Internships during J.D./LL.M.: Summer Associate, Reed Smith, Miami; International Dispute Resolution Intern, International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID); Fall Intern, Reed Smith, Miami; Summer Intern, Shutts & Bowen LLP, Miami; Student Intern, University of Miami School of Law - Investor Rights Clinic

Awards & Honors: University of Miami School of Law, IA LL.M./J.D., cum laude; CALI Excellence for the Future Award - Negotiation Skills; Miami Law’s International Arbitration Institute Merit Scholarship; University of Miami School of Law - Investor Rights Clinic

Publications: Co-author, “International Arbitration Review, Turkey chapter", The Baker McKenzie International Arbitration Yearbook, 10th Anniversary Edition, 2016-2017

What Are Your Current Position, Title, and Day-to-Day Tasks?

I work as an Associate at Reed Smith’s Miami office. Reed Smith LLP is a global law firm headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with more than 1,500 lawyers in 30 offices throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Throughout my career, I always liked getting exposure to both transaction side and the dispute side. Reed Smith’s Miami office is a great place to access both worlds. Now, I work closely with the partners in firm’s business and finance group and the international dispute resolution practice group. I participate in drafting agreements, such as credit agreements, commitment letters, security agreements, guarantees; I draft ancillary and corporate documents, including board and shareholder resolutions, and legal opinions. I also liaise with clients and counsels on transactions, and coordinate and manage signing/closing logistics. Additionally, I conduct extensive legal research.

How Did Your LL.M. Studies Help You Build a Successful Career in the Field?

The International Arbitration LL.M. Program allowed me to work with experts in the field and presented with immense networking opportunities. One way or another, almost all of the program’s features contributed to my career. Networking events helped me to meet colleagues and experts in the field, practical skills courses allowed me to build or further develop muscles and reflexes necessary to perform in the field, the International Arbitration LL.M.’s Practicum placements allowed me to gain hands-on experience directly related to my studies, and the opportunity to work as graduate research assistant with the University of Miami School of Law’s International Arbitration Institute allowed me to deepen my knowledge in the field while advancing my legal researching skills.

What Was the Most Impactful Experience During Your Studies at Miami Law?

The International Arbitration LL.M.’s Practicum placement with Reed Smith during my J.D./LL.M. studies at Miami Law was the most impactful experience I had. It was a great experience directly related to my studies and it presented me with an opportunity to work at an excellent firm with great colleagues, where I now continue to work post-graduation.

What Advice Would You Give an Incoming LL.M. Student for How to Make the Most of Their LL.M.?

It’s good to go back to law school to complete an LL.M. program and gain access to a field you are not familiar with. However, classes alone will not give you the secret of the universe. For instance, some of the information covered may also be available in libraries or books. Therefore, a well-structured LL.M. program offers much more than mere class instruction. It offers you a toolbox to tailor and develop your future career path. You should make sure to take advantage of your LL.M. program’s various features and opportunities outside of the classroom, including legal internships and practicum placements, networking with and mentorship by faculty, staff and legal practitioners in the field, career advising and fairs, etc. Come up with a strategic plan and focus your efforts on the specific areas, in which you want to improve and progress.

How Has the Graduate Experience Impacted Your Current Work?

The graduate experience also had a positive impact on my work, as school connections and friends very soon became colleagues. As you are focusing on your career and constantly improving yourself, your friends are doing the same, allowing you to access and get involved in a great community.