VLP Gains a Brazilian’s Legal Perspective
Renata Xavier is the new Summer Law Clerk for the Volunteer Lawyers Project (VLP). In her role, Renata will assist Elizabeth Zak, VLP Managing Attorney, to manage client contacts and conduct legal research.
Where are you from?
I grew up in the Brazilian countryside, but moved to Sao Paolo for a better opportunity. Sao Paolo is a huge city; compared to a U.S. city, it’s like L.A.
Where did you go to school?
In Sao Paolo, I studied law at McKenzie Presbyterian University. After my law studies, I worked for two years on international cases.
I then came to Cincinnati for further study and recently received my LLM degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. At UC, I participated in the extern program, externing with Chief Judge Jeffery Hopkins of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Ohio. I had the opportunity to spend a semester helping the judge and his clerks with legal research and draft memos.
In Brazil, I was working with international bankruptcy cases at Krikror Kaysserlikan Associates. I had the opportunity to work with cases from the U.S., Europe, and other Latin American counties. It made me curious about the legal system here and want to take one more step in my studies.
How does the U.S. legal system differ from that of Brazil?
The fact that the US is a common law country and the U.S. has the most different method of using cases as law. I think the jury trial surprised me too. I feel this is a flexible system.
Why did you decide to work with the VLP? What do you hope to learn this summer?
I heard about a wonderful job representing people who cannot afford legal representation and I wanted to put my experience in practice to help people. I hope to learn more about practicing law here and how to help people solve their crises. I also hope to sharpen my skills of legal writing and research.
What’s next for you?
I’m planning on taking the Ohio Bar next year and staying in Cincinnati. I have a better opportunity to develop my career here compared to Brazil.
What type of law are you hoping to practice?
I am interested in civil law but I don’t want to close the door for other options. I’m excited about the impact you can have on society and the changes you can make. It’s important to understand the needs of the people and the available tool for helping them.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I like to run. I’m training for a half marathon in September. I live in Clifton close to Burnet Woods so I can run in the park. It’s really convenient. I love Ludlow Avenue, and the restaurants and stores.
What surprised you most about the U.S.?
It’s totally different. Brazilians are warmer when interacting with each other. We usually kiss and hug more. Here is more handshakes. Brazilians also normally spend more time in the restaurants and bars as compared to the U.S. Here we order food, and as soon as we finish, the check is on the table. The check in Brazil never comes unless you request it. And Cincinnati traffic is much better compared with Sao Paulo.
Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation