Maria Fernanda Chacon

Year group: 2010

Degree: LLM, Law

College: Darwin

Home country: Colombia

Current position: Lawyer at the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic of Colombia

Maria studied law at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, where she graduated with distinction and was awarded the “Orden al Mérito Académico Javeriano”, the highest distinction granted by the University to its best students.  Maria was ranked seventh among 8269 final year law students in the Government Exam aimed at assessing the quality of higher education. She chose to pursue a specialization in Administrative Law, which facilitated her joining one of the most renowned law firms in Colombia, where in addition to advising and defending the Government and the largest private corporations, she learned from the most respected and influential lawyers in the field of administrative and commercial law in Colombia.

Maria was able to persue an LLM at the University of Cambridge after being awarded a Santander Cambridge Scholarship. Her studies at the University of Cambridge represented the most challenging and interesting experience in Maria’s life; she always knew that the LLM offered by the University attracts the most prominent professionals of many countries in the world, who have experience as practicing lawyers or as academics, but only during her studies did she realize how important it is for a student to find in his/her peers professionals of the highest level. In fact, when one notices that other students are excellent, one feels compelled to improve every day, and learn that it is always possible to be better and learn more. Professors at the Faculty of Law, who Maria says are of the best professional and human qualities, not only encourage their students to meet the objectives of the programme but are ‘a vivid example of the lawyer any student wants to become’. The opportunity that I had to study at the University of Cambridge allowed her to learn from the best Professors about international and environmental law. This knowledge will give her more elements to contribute to the development of more efficient and effective legal institutions in Colombia.

Maria says ‘the academic experience at the University is even more valuable when one takes part in some of the many extra-curricular activities that the University and Colleges offer.  I attended conferences delivered by important personalities, seminars and debates on topics of interest which were not necessarily related to law.  Moreover, I enjoyed several artistic events, most of them organized by students, supporting legitimate causes. The University offers the perfect atmosphere for studying, and gives all the opportunities a student needs to have an integral education’.