Courtroom Experience in Bankruptcy Clinic Affords Foreign Lawyer Invaluable Know-How

The Eleanor R. Cristol and Judge A. Jay Cristol Bankruptcy Pro Bono Assistance Clinic at Miami Law offers pro bono legal services to low-income individuals who are dealing with bankruptcy.

The Bankruptcy Clinic, directed by bankruptcy expert Patricia Redmond, gives the opportunity for students with an interest in business law and litigation to gain hands-on experience representing clients.

LL.M. to J.D. student, Ana Paula Carrijo Barroso from Brazil, successfully argued a Motion to Reinstate client’s bankruptcy case in Bankruptcy Court. Working under the supervision of local attorney Jeffrey Bast, who serves as a clinic mentor, she represented the client in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Lawyering Skills in Action

The Brazilian attorney chose the Bankruptcy Clinic with a purpose.

“I decided to apply for the Bankruptcy Clinic because I wanted to challenge myself. I had never studied nor worked with bankruptcy before. I was also looking forward to improving my writing and oral skills, and I had heard about the excellent preparing offered by the Bankruptcy Clinic,” says Carrijo Barroso.

For this case, she dove in and worked “hands-on from day one.” She not only drafted the Motion to Reinstate the Case and prepared the schedules in a 3-hours in-person meeting with the client by herself, but also presented the motion in the court hearing.

Clinic Benefits to a Foreign-Trained Lawyer

Carrijo Barroso, who attended Universidade Positivo in Curitiba, Brazil and was trained in civil law, appreciates how the Bankruptcy Clinic offers her full immersion in the common law system.

“I learned how to develop my arguments, considering not only the applicable statutes but the caselaw. I also, learned how to write and present myself orally following the American standard.”

She also went an extra mile to prepare to present in court, “on the day before, I discussed the key points with my mentor and practiced my presentation by recording it on my phone. As the hearing was over the phone, I needed to make sure my language was clear enough to avoid misunderstandings. Therefore, I recorded myself until I was satisfied with the result.”

On the hearing day, she was sure to print the key documents and organized them on a binder with labels for easy reference. When the moment arrived for her to speak, she was confident and prepared.

In the end, Carrijo Barroso vividly remembers the moment when the judge announced his verdict and recognized her participation, “It was thrilling hearing that our motion was granted.”

Life as a Law ‘Cane

Beyond the clinic, Carrijo Barros plays an active role in various student organizations at Miami Law. She serves as a Senator for the Student Bar Association (SBA) and is a member of both the Brazilian Law Association and the Miami International Arbitration Society.

She also argued cases via Miami Law’s International Moot Court Program where she represented the law school at the Moot Madrid competition in April of 2022.

Carrijo Barros started at Miami Law in the White & Case International Arbitration LL.M. program and transferred to the J.D. program.

She is looking forward to graduating with both her J.D. and LL.M. in 2023.

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