Nicolas Hurtado

(Photo Courtesy of Nicolas Hurtado) 

LLM Class of 2018: With Career Advancement in Mind, Colombian Lawyer Nicolas Hurtado Turns to Arizona Law for Practical Training Opportunities

Alejandra Cardenas Cuestas

Nicolas Hurtado was working as a criminal law attorney in Colombia, but wanted to continue his education. He knew that in order to improve his craft and build a better career profile in his country, he would need to earn a Master of Laws (LLM) from the United States. He began his search for law schools but says he was set on University of Arizona Law because of the great reputation of the trial advocacy program and the college’s emphasis on practical training.

“I didn’t want to be sitting in a classroom the whole time,” says Hurtado. “I wanted a hands-on experience, and Arizona Law had some of the best reviews. And it really has been [that experience].”

He says the real-world techniques he has gained from his courses are things he will continue to use after he graduates. Noting specifically how his interviewing, consulting and negotiation class has prepared him to better manage and interact with his future clients.

“That is something that I had never learned in law school,” he adds.   

Hurtado also credits his professors with helping him feel better prepared when he returns to practice.

“The fact that you can talk to professors is awesome, and I will miss that,” says Hurtado. “They are willing to help you, not just to pass their course, but help you become a better student, professional and lawyer.”

This year he won second place in the college’s Richard Grand Closing Argument Competition and says it was one of his most memorable moments as a student. Hurtado is the first LLM student to receive this award.

He looks back on his time at Arizona Law with gratitude and says he is glad he took the time to interact with everyone, specifically with JD students.

“The JD students were friendly, and they have a lot of events,” he says. “It is good to talk to everyone and meet with students outside of the law school. You need to have a balance in your life.”

Hurtado says he “definitely” recommends the LLM program at Arizona Law. 

“You will find a lot of courses that will fulfill your interest,” says Hurtado. “With the general LLM, you can pick courses to help you build what you want, not what you have to.”

After graduation, Hurtado says he is focused on studying for the bar exam and says it will take him a while to adjust outside of student life. He will miss his professors and the connections he has built.

“I am so thankful and will miss many of my professors. They were incredible to me and helped me to become a better lawyer,” says Hurtado. “I improved my skills because they took the time, not just to teach me but to listen to me and talk to me. That is what makes this law school so different.”