2019 Lessons From the LL.M. – Rachel Cortes Gomez

We asked the Class of 2019 to nominate their peers — whether inspirational leaders in the classroom or a student group,  activists or artists around New York City, or simply great friends and pizza companions — to share what they’ve learned over the course of their LL.M. year. The result, Lessons from the LL.M. Here’s what Rachel Cortes had to share:



Name: Rachel Cortes Gomez


Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic


Pre-LL.M.:  Associate in the Corporate Department of Headrick Rizik Alvarez & Fernandez, in the Dominican Republic


What’s next?

Bar prep and taking the New York Bar exam (fingers crossed).


Three things you learned during your LL.M. Year:

1) Don’t get discouraged if you get rejected by potential employers. Keep trying. You have a bright future ahead of you.

2) The 3Ls are not as competitive as they say.

3) Legal Research and Writing is actually important.


New York Moment:

I served as a witness at the wedding of one of my LL.M. friends at the New York City Hall. Definitely one of my most New York moments.


Favorite Class:

Law and Economics with Profs. Eric Talley and Kristen Underhill. Our task was to read and criticize an unpublished paper on Law & Economics. The following week the author would join our discussion and exchange reactions regarding the paper. Contributing to papers written by the finest scholars of renowned universities is an opportunity that only Columbia has offered me. The econometric component was a challenge, but thanks to it, the discussion was taken to a level I had never experienced before as a lawyer; it got me out of my comfort zone, and gave a new perspective on behavioral economics applied to contracts, criminal law, torts, deterrence, public policy and other areas of the law.


Best Coffee Spot: Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chelsea. The place is beautiful and they close at midnight.


Best Place to Study: Barnard College Library. Great illumination and you will not run into many people you know – so less distractions!


LL.M. Protip:

Don’t feel pressured by your firm, the classes your colleagues are taking or what you understand will make you a “good fit.” In the end, you have a limited amount of credits to fulfill in a very short time. This is your year and hopefully opportunities will come to you based on what you really wanted and not what others wanted for you. Also, start networking on day one because tomorrow is too late. The New York market is all about connections, so don’t be shy and start collecting business cards.


Would you change anything?

Apart from doing more sports and eating less pizza, I think that I wouldn’t change a thing.