Ukrainian Lawyer Arrives at Miami Law as International Arbitration Scholarship Student

Ten days after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Anastasiia Sydorenko and her family fled Kyiv to find safe shelter.
Ukrainian Lawyer Arrives at Miami Law as International Arbitration Scholarship Student
Ukrainian lawyer Anastasiia Sydorenko

CORAL GABLES, Florida (September 20, 2022) — International arbitration lawyer Anastasiia Sydorenko had settled into working as an associate with a prominent local law firm in Kyiv in commercial disputes and trade matters when Russia invaded her country February 24.

The recent graduate — with a bachelor's and master's degree in law from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv — and mother, brother, aunt, and cousin escaped to Berlin, Germany, as the 24-year-old's legal priority shifted to contributing to the postwar restoration of Ukraine. (Her father stayed behind in the countryside with his parents to support the war effort.)

Scholarship and support

Soon after the invasion, Miami Law announced two full scholarship opportunities to graduates of a Ukrainian law school. Additionally, the law firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP partnered with a gift to create the Orrick Graduate Law Student Support Fund at Miami Law to provide financial assistance for fees and living expenses to Miami Law graduate students pursuing an LL.M. degree who are experiencing financial and other personal hardship due to events in Ukraine. Orrick also is planning to provide mentorship support to these students.  

The fund provides financial assistance for fees and living expenses to graduate students pursuing an LL.M. degree at Miami Law who are experiencing financial or other personal hardship due to events in Ukraine.

"This is a global humanitarian crisis— and our team felt compelled to take action," said Siobhan Handley, chief talent officer for the San Francisco-headquartered international law firm. "Of course, we have team members and clients with ties to Ukraine, although it goes beyond that. Witnessing the bravery and perseverance of the Ukrainian people only strengthened our commitment. Can you imagine being a Ukrainian law student today? Their education will enable them to play a leading role their nation's recovery – and it's an honor to be able to support that and to do it with Miami Law." 

Miami Law will welcome a second student under its scholarship program in support of graduates of Ukrainian law schools in spring 2023 to one of its international LL.M. programs, where the student will study and write on topics related to armed conflict and its aftermath, including the law of war, the use of force, humanitarian law, transitional justice, and international criminal law, as well as the effects of war on global commerce, contracts, and investments. As part of this scholarship program, Miami Law is offering a full-tuition scholarship (current value $58,300). 

"We all have to do our part to show our support for Ukraine," Professor Caroline M. Bradley, Dean's Distinguished Scholar and associate dean for International and Graduate Law Programs.

With one of the largest number of faculty members who teach or do scholarly research in the area of international law of any American law school, the University of Miami School of Law is renowned for its global and international law programs. With an extensive course catalog in international, foreign, and comparative law, Miami Law prepares students to work in a transnational global environment, address significant international law issues, and practice and engage with global policy issues.  

"We believe that our strong international programs and our faculty expertise in international law, international human rights, international finance and trade, and international dispute resolution, among other subjects, can really benefit Ukrainian law graduates looking to contribute scholarly work that can support the heroic efforts of Ukrainian people now and in the future," said Bradley.

Miami Law supports additional Ukrainian students by facilitating job opportunities on campus and with law firms, with generous scholarships, and by distributing funds raised through a 'Canefunder campaign for Ukraine.

"The Russian war irreversibly changed our perception of the modern world, and so it did to my personal priorities," said Sydorenko, the first recipient of the scholarship and Orrick support funds. "When the naked evil revealed itself in the 21st century at the heart of Europe, ruthlessly jeopardizing all the values which determined the life on this planet since the World War II, the Ukrainian people are standing up to protect these values at the incommensurably high price." 

"My country and the Ukrainian people deserve the best once the peace comes. I am sure that the study and training at the University of Miami School of Law will let me deepen and broaden the expertise in the field of international arbitration and alternative dispute resolution in general. As a result, I will be able to bring the best world practices, combined with my previous experience as Ukrainian law-trained lawyer, to the legal market of my country," Sydorenko said.

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