For Tanya Luo, her journey at Notre Dame Law School started in 2016 in the LL.M. program and concluded in 2018 with earning a J.D., passing the New York bar, and giving herself a leg up in the competitive legal market in Beijing.
Luo, who began learning English in the third grade, studied foreign economic and trade law for her undergraduate degree in Beijing. She considered studying abroad during her undergraduate years, but she and her parents decided an LL.M. program would be more beneficial. Notre Dame became her top choice after a detailed search of the campus showed her beautiful quadrangles, collegiate gothic architecture, and a warm and inviting community.
She enjoyed her time at Notre Dame Law School so much so that she transferred from the LL.M. program to the J.D. program to spend two more years on campus.
Notre Dame Law School has two LL.M. programs. One program allows students to develop an individual study plan tailored to their particular areas of interest, while the other program is for lawyers who want to specialize in international human rights law.
LL.M. students at Notre Dame Law School take classes with regular J.D. students, and select LL.M. students with exceptional academic performance may be eligible to apply as transfer students to the Law School’s J.D. program.
Luo decided to seize the opportunity as an LL.M. student to transfer to the J.D. program.
“I found the LL.M. program was too short for me to really know the beauty of Notre Dame, and everyone here had been very generous and kind to me,” she said. “Plus, my interest in intellectual property had been increased by Professor Steve Yelderman after I took his patent law class. I decided to transfer into the J.D. program — I knew that a J.D. would not only enable me to study more intellectual property classes, but even join the IP & Entrepreneurship Clinic and do real intellectual property work through an internship.”
Thanks to dedicated professors and administrators who look after the LL.M. students, Luo said she never felt homesick while she was at Notre Dame. She credits LL.M. Student Services Program Director Margaret Lloyd as instrumental to the fun she had while at Notre Dame Law, whether that be in great classes with dedicated faculty members or celebrating Thanksgiving or carving pumpkins with her classmates. Her study carrel next to a window in the Kresge Law Library was also a prime location for taking photographs of Notre Dame’s campus during all four seasons.
“I guess people at Notre Dame are just like the alma mater says — ‘tender, strong and true.’ The people at Notre Dame helped me have such an awesome experience,” Luo said.
After graduating with her J.D. from Notre Dame, Luo took and passed the New York bar exam. While passing the New York bar was not a requirement for her current position in China, she said the fact she had done so gave her a step up in the competitive legal market.
“I am now working in a law firm in Beijing. I focus on providing data- and privacy-related legal services to foreign companies who do China law compliance and to local companies who seek compliance with U.S. and EU data protection laws,” Luo said. “My experience at Notre Dame Law School, especially the experience of working at the IP Clinic and in an externship, enable me to smoothly communicate with foreign clients and my understanding of the common law system, as well as the culture difference between the east and the west.”