Meet Mary-Pat Cormier and Securities Regulation

Mary-PatThis summer’s Boston session features two courses: U.S. and Trans-Border Securities Regulation and U.S. Contract Law for the International Lawyer. Mary-Pat Cormier will be leading the securities regulation class, which she has taught since 2015. We have not yet featured her on a blog, however, so we are overdue for a formal introduction!

Mary-Pat Cormier has been a civil litigator for over 20 years, at both the trial and appellate levels of state and federal courts. She currently is employed as Coverage Counsel at Liberty Mutual Insurance, where she has worked since September 2015. Prior to that, she was a partner at Bowditch & Dewey for 2 1/2 years, and a partner at Edwards Wildman Palmer, where she was employed from 1996 to 2013. Her primary areas of practice are financial services and securities litigation, and she works extensively with professional and management liability insurers on market analysis, product development, and policy drafting for risks. Mary-Pat is also actively involved in the representation of liability insurers in coverage and bad faith/extra contractual litigation throughout the country in state and federal courts, including bankruptcy courts. She is a frequent guest speaker and author on matters including data security and a wide variety of financial and insurance related topics. As she explains:

“My background is in financial services litigation, so I am a ‘trial geek’ at heart. I love the stories of securities litigation, because they are the chronicles that bring securities law and regulation to life. I love to teach and explore the historical and socio-political dynamics that are implicit in the laws and regulations that we learn about in this class, raising questions such as: what led to these laws? What are they trying to address? Where do they achieve those goals, and where do they fall short? And why? My hope is that this dynamic and interactive approach to this area of law will animate it and make it memorable in a way that the law and regulations, standing alone, cannot.”

‘Dynamic’ and ‘interactive’ have proven to be hallmarks of her course in the ELLM program. Her course focuses on key issues related to U.S. securities laws, principally the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, with respect to the offer, sale, and trading of securities. It includes a study of what constitutes a security, the public offering process, mandatory disclosure requirements for public companies, exemptions from registration, and potential liabilities and sanctions. The course emphasizes the evolving nature of securities laws and regulations and gives students practical insight into how regulation is motivated by consumer protection principles. Students gain a deeper understanding of how legislators balance such consumer protection principles with incentives allowing companies to make more money. Mary-Pat states that “in my view, securities law is more than the ‘cook book’ for registration and issuance of shares; it is about the financial history that led to securities laws– political avarice and greed, self-dealing and deceit. So I really focus on case law in this class, because securities litigation is a lens on the practical mechanics of securities regulation. To cases, I add a generous dose of the dramatic historical events that led to securities laws and regulations on topics, including public disclosure, insider training, and ‘Blue Sky Laws’. In addition, we are almost 2 years into a new administration and its SEC. What are the new goals for the SEC, and how have they changed? What are the changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, and how will the changes affect US and foreign companies? What other changes can we expect, and what will the effects be of those changes? Add to this that transborder issues are constantly evolving, including cross-border cooperation, enforcement, an financial reporting; in addition to things like the European General Data Protection Regulation’s impact on US mergers and acquisitions, cyber-related threats and misconduct, regulation of Bitcoin futures, etc. In this course we therefore explore the cutting-edge and most pressing issues related to securities laws and regulations in the US and abroad. Even if you do not necessarily encounter securities regulation on a regular basis, the subject matter of this class is important to any lawyer (or ‘C’ suite occupant or contender”) who needs to understand the laws that impact the raising of capital to finance growth, to fund R&D, for balance sheet restructuring and buyouts, or for M&A activity.”

As an added bonus, the course now counts towards the Certificate in Transactional Skills (CITS), a newly approved specialized certificate program allowing professionals to advance their skills related to international business law transactions. Indeed, previous students have sung Mary-Pat’s praises, not only for her dynamic teaching style (previous evaluations have described her as “fantastic”), but also for the emphasis on experiential, hands-on learning. As one student evaluation noted, “I loved the reading materials, which included very practical case reviews”, while another stated that “the way [the] professor teaches securities law is very practical and easy to follow.” It was this combination of high-level intellectual theory coupled with her real world experience and a teaching style incorporates ‘hands on’ learning that prompted Dr. Pilarczyk to recruit Mary-Pat to teach this course, as he believed she would be ideal for the role. “I have known Mary-Pat since 1991, when our paths crossed at McGill University during my undergrad years. A few years later, when I returned to McGill to do my LL.M., she was completing her LL.B/B.C.L. degrees and was Editor-in-Chief of the McGill Law Journal. She eventually settled in Boston, as did I, and so I can say that I have known her for nearly 30 years. She is a spirited and indefatigable person, a highly-accomplished and experienced litigator, and she possesses a great wit in addition to an extremely agile and skilled legal mind. Mary-Pat is the perfect fit for this course, because under her expert instruction you will count this course as one of the highlights of your time in the ELLM program, regardless of your background or area of interest or practice.”

To register for the course, please find the form here or on our course registration page.



ELLM Announces New Certificate in Transactional Skills

Well, we alluded to a new development over the horizon in our 2017 ‘Year in Review’ blog…and now it’s time to make it official!

The Executive LL.M. Program is proud to announce that our latest offering, the Certificate in Transactional Skills (CITS for short) has now been formally approved by Boston University. One of the hallmarks of the ELLM has been its marriage between theory and practice, with a strong emphasis on the application of skills that will be of direct relevance and benefit to working practitioners. As such, all of our courses have explored the theoretical and doctrinal aspects of subjects related to international business law, while simultaneously incorporating a practical approach to learning. The CITS showcases this feature of the ELLM, through allowing for the obtaining of an additional credential. Given that the CITS is comprised of many of our most popular courses, we are sure that the add-on will be an attractive feature to many of our students. This certificate was made possible through the strong ‘hands-on’ emphasis in many of our courses, as well as our latest addition to the ELLM curriculum, International Business Negotiation. Moreover, some of our existing courses such as Mergers & Acquisitions and Securities Regulation are being slightly modified to incorporate even more transactional content.

Similarly to our well-received Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance (CERMC), this credential is available both as a free standing 12 credit certificate and as an add-on credential (requiring the completion of 3 additional credits), and will be available as of June 2018. Students may obtain both certificates if desired, provided they meet the requirements of both certificates and complete a total of 26 credits towards the ELLM degree.

To obtain the CITS as part of the ELLM degree program, students must complete all degree requirements, plus the completion of 12 credits from the following basket, with a total of 23 overall credits:

  • XB 814 US and Trans-Border Securities Regulation (3 cr.) (hybrid)
  • XB 818 US and International Mergers & Acquisitions (3 cr.) (hybrid)
  • XB 819 International Arbitration (3 cr.) (hybrid)
  • XB 822 Global Compliance: Introduction and Best Practices (3 cr.) (online)
  • XB 823 Deals: The Legal Engineering Behind Corporate Transactions (3 cr.) (online)
  • XB 825 Directed Study in transactional-based subject (1-3 cr.)
  • XB 828 International Business Negotiation (3 cr.) (online)

In order to obtain the CITS as a free-standing certificate, students must complete 12 credits from the basket above. Students who apply directly into the certificate program may use it to obtain advanced standing in the ELLM, if desired. This program is pending ABA acquiescence.

For more information on CITS, please contact the ELLM program office at or at 617.358.5956 or visit the website.



ELLM Alumni Feature – Yun Liu

Yun (Amy) LiuYun (“Amy”) Liu graduated from the Executive LLM in January 2018. She currently lives in Shanghai, China and is Vice President and Head of Legal and Compliance at Roche China Pharmaceuticals.

Congratulations on your recent promotion. How have your responsibilities changed and what are you working on at the moment? 

Before starting the ELLM program, I was Legal Director of Roche China Pharmaceuticals, in charge of all legal affairs and leading a team of 10 people. After completing the program, I was promoted to company Vice President and Head of Legal and Compliance. My role has been expanded to cover compliance, and now I am leading a team of 30 staff. Apart from my original legal work, I also take the overall responsibility for compliance management, including policy shaping, training, monitoring, and investigation.

How has understanding international business law been useful in your career? Were there any ELLM courses that were particularly useful to you?

The ELLM program provided me with a full picture of the legal frameworks in different countries and the best practice sharing by classmates from various industries brought me lots of useful information and insight. Some courses that were particularly helpful to my work:

  • International Business Transaction and Agreements: This is a very practical course from which I learned many skills on risk control and contract drafting in cross-border transactions.
  • Intellectual Property Law:  IP protection is the key for a pharma company. This course provided me with a full picture of the U.S. and global IP protection system. In 2017, Chinese legislators sought public comment on the revision of IP laws and policies. Through industry association, Roche China submitted its suggestion that China may share the best practice from the U.S. (which was shaped from what I learned in this course). We are glad to see that see some suggestions were taken by the government (e.g. patent linkage system in the healthcare industry, drug patent extension, and protection on data exclusivity). I believe the changes will bring a positive influence to the IP protection environment and encourage innovation in China.
  • Global Compliance: This course not only introduced compliance related laws but also shared best practices in terms of risk control and compliance management. The discussion with my classmates was fun and enlightening. Some topics are exactly what I needed to face in my work ( e.g. FCPA, anti-trust, data privacy, etc.). This course is very helpful to my new role in the compliance field.

What were some of the challenges you faced on the job that made you want to do an LLM in the first place?

As an in-house lawyer working in a multinational company, my work requires not only the knowledge of Chinese laws but also global insight. My previous local legal education was not sufficient to support my career development.  That is the main reason I decided to join the Executive LLM program.

What has your experience been in balancing earning a master’s degree and working full-time?

I did not have too much challenge in the time balancing during my study. The ELLM program provides a very flexible schedule for study. The mixture of online and campus courses is convenient and efficient. (e.g. the live classes, which are also recorded, enables me to study at any timeslot convenient to me). And I was lucky to get my manager’s full support to study.

Of course, I sacrificed some vacation, but the campus study in Budapest and Boston was a beautiful memory, and my family also enjoyed it very much (they traveled together with me).

Did you feel like you benefitted from being in classes with students from all over the world?

Yes, absolutely. I was deeply impressed by the seniority and professionalism of my classmates. I benefited a lot from the class discussion and off-line communication with my classmates.  Making friends from different countries/industries is a wonderful thing, and I trust the network of global lawyers will also be very helpful in my future work.

Goodbye, 2017– Hello, 2018! A Year in Review

Dear friends of the ELLM Program:

2017 offered its share of challenges and rewards. As we look forward to the New Year before us, I wanted to take a moment to recap some of the highlights of the past twelve months, and offer some hints as to what you might expect going forward.

One of the largest questions our program faced this past year was whether we would be returning to Budapest in 2018. As you may know, 2017 marked our 5th anniversary in this beautiful and dynamic city. Recent education legislation passed by the Hungarian government requiring “bilateral” agreements between States and the Hungarian government posed some issues for U.S. institutions, ourselves included, and until recently it was far from clear whether we would be returning there. At this point I am delighted to announce that we will be returning to Budapest in 2018 for our Summer Budapest Session, and for at least the next few years thereafter. This is welcome news, and for those of you new to the ELLM, or who have not yet joined us for a Budapest session, I hope we will see you there in June!

BU Law Tower (2)One of the most significant changes to the ELLM also took place last year, namely revision of our academic regulations to allow completion of the ELLM degree entirely online. This provided our students with enhanced flexibility, and while our hybrid courses remain popular, recent indications are that this increased curricular flexibility has proven extremely popular. Not only have we recently surpassed our all-time high in enrollments, but for the spring 2018 online session students are taking six partner courses, directed studies, and our new course in International Business Negotiation. This addition to our curriculum not only enhances our transactional offerings, but allowed for some exciting (and challenging) experimentation with new technologies to deliver the course. I am supremely confident that you will find this course both interesting as well as professionally useful, and that you will see firsthand why Professor Bob Burdick has been a valued member of the BU Law faculty for decades. In addition to Bob Burdick, we welcomed two members of the full-time teaching faculty to our program, Professors David Walker and Maria Hylton joined the ELLM, taking over the teaching of U.S. Corporate Law for the International Lawyer and U.S. Contract Law for the International Lawyer, respectively. We will be featuring in-depth introductions to each of them over the new few months.

2017 was also the year that we modified one of our existing certificates, the Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance (CERMC), so that it could be offered as an ‘add-0n’ credential in addition to the free-standing 12 credit certificate option. Under the ‘add-on’ option, ELLM students may complete one additional 3-credit course in order to obtain both the CERMC as well as the ELLM degree. Several ELLM students have already availed themselves of the opportunity to receive the CERMC in addition to the ELLM degree through the completion of one extra 3-credit course.

Looking forward, here is a ‘sneak peek’ of one upcoming announcement: we will be offering a new certificate in the fall of 2018. While I cannot formally announce it until it has received University approval, I can say it will be related to (and include) our new Negotiation course and will be modeled after the CERMC in that it will be offered as both a free-standing certificate as well as an ‘add-on’ credential.  I am sure there will be other exciting announcements and developments in the months ahead which I will look forward to sharing with you, but in the interim please feel free to contact our office if you wish to know more about this planned new certificate, or if you wish to earn the CERMC as an add-on credential prior to your graduation.

On behalf of myself and Zac, we wish you a healthy and prosperous 2018! As always, we welcome your questions and comments.

ELLM Student Feature: Hala Bou Alwan

Hala Bou Alwan2

Hala Bou Alwan is the Head of Market Development at Thomson Reuters for Global growth and Operations & Emerging Countries. Connect with Hala

What are your main responsibilities in your current position?

I am responsible for market development of the Risk Business across all emerging markets (we call it at Thomson Reuters, Global Growth Organization). My main focuses are people readiness, market readiness, and product readiness. I enable key people and talent in emerging markets, making sure that they have the proper training and access to resources. In terms of market readiness, I make sure that people in emerging markets know our brand and that we are addressing market needs and challenges. I am also responsible for developing and maintaining close partnerships with regulators, who of course play such a major role in the compliance industry. And finally, I make sure that we have thought leadership in each emerging market, since what a lot of clients look to us for is thought leadership within a specific region and industry. In terms of product readiness, I make sure that when we plan and offer any service or solution, we know exactly what the market needs. That means I spend a lot of time managing how to localize our offerings to be closer to our customers. For instance, if we have a solution for a specific issue in the Latin America market, I make sure that solution is properly localized for addressing that same issue in China.  Some of our customers’ challenges across emerging markets that I deal with, for example, are mitigating the risks of money laundering, bribery, corruption, fraud, illegal weapons trafficking, human trafficking, slavery, and child labor.

In terms of professional backgrounds, what types of people do you see as marketable and successful in the regulatory compliance industry?

I generally see three categories of people. The first are people with specific domain knowledge. They have a history of working on something like compliance or anti-money laundering. And they might have been a lawyer, an investigator, or worked as a compliance officer in a bank, for example. Then there are those from management roles in business. The key marketable skill there is being an expert communicator, as so much of working in a compliance role is communicating with various stakeholders. Finally, I see people with business development backgrounds. These people have expertise in building programs from scratch and ideally have operational experience as well.

How has the ELLM curriculum been beneficial to your current job?

The ELLM is satisfying a big curiosity of mine. I have not had the opportunity to study things like U.S Contract Law, International Business Transactions and Agreements, and Cyber Law in a formal setting. So learning the legal doctrines in these subject areas and how they are applied is fascinating to me on an intellectual level. On a practical level, a lot of what I have learned in the classroom translates directly to things I encounter on the job. For instance, now when I am confronted with entering a new market and localizing agreements, I have a deeper understanding of contract structures and the larger business implications. Similarly, I am now better equipped to identify and deal with information security and privacy issues. Cyber law is one of our growth areas, and we are always looking for new thought leaders and ideas on how to spread awareness. Having a background in cyber law allows me to speak more clearly about such topics with both industry experts and clients.

What are you currently working on in the ELLM?

I am currently pursuing a Directed Study with Professor Greiman. After taking her Global Cyber Law and Governance class I wanted to continue my studies in this field. For my Directed Study, I am investigating cyber policies on an international level, looking at research on how and why corporate cyber policies fail and the impact on public and private sectors. Part of my inquiry looks at how companies can take an efficient approach to cyber policies that are adaptable to different jurisdictions. As a lawyer, I am of course also interested in how law firms implement cyber policies to address their cyber issues.

We heard that you are teaching now as well. How is that going?

This past September I began teaching at American University in Dubai. I teach a business communications class to junior and senior level students. It has been a wonderful experience for me and I love the teaching process. I have actually adopted teaching techniques from my professors in the ELLM and have also used similar course structures. I even integrated storytelling, poem writing, and role-playing into some of my classes; an inspiration taken from Professor Pettit. I hope to continue both my professional and academic career in the future, as I find both stimulating in different and enriching ways.

ELLM Alumni Feature: Robert Brown

Robert Brown

Robert Brown is the Vice President of Strategic Business Development at ViaSat (NASDAQ: VSAT), a company headquartered in Carlsbad, California. Robert works out of their Dallas offices.  Robert’s company is involved in a wide range of projects from satellite internet to managed WiFi networks and other connectivity services for businesses, residents, military, commercial airliners and aircraft for the U.S. government’s executive branch (including Air Force One), and as an underlying service provider to cable companies.

Robert graduated from the Executive LLM program in 2014. In addition, Robert also holds an MBA from Colorado Tech and a BS from University of Texas Austin. We recently caught up with Robert and asked him the following five questions.

What was your motivation behind earning the Executive LLM in International Business Law?

Attending law school was something that I had thought about pursuing after my undergraduate and graduate studies. However, by the time I was actually ready to do it, I was far enough along in my career that it would have been difficult to step away from work to earn my JD. So I never ended up pursuing the traditional JD route.  However, I had still desired to build an acumen in law through formal education. Throughout my career, I have faced legal related issues, particularly with respect to contract negotiation and business development. Earning a degree in law was important to me in terms of fully appreciating the language of the law and elevating my understanding of legal issues that I encounter on the job. I also knew that earning the ELLM would be a positive step for my career, and was proud to have earned that from Boston University. The degree ended up being a lot more than just checking a box on my career bucket list per se, or adding a line to my resume. The program was run really well, the BU community was great, and the professors were simply outstanding. Moreover, I really got a lot out of the program on both a personal and professional level.

How was it being a non-lawyer in the program?

I understand there are more non-lawyers in the program these days than when I was enrolled. What I truly appreciated about the curriculum and exchanges with my fellow students was that I was never given the easy questions, nor in any way meant to feel inferior to others in the class who had a JD. To the contrary, my comments were heard and appreciated and I felt included the whole time. Despite the fact that I wasn’t a lawyer, what was also great about the program was the diversity of the students from around the world and getting to hear their perspective on current events, socio-economic matters and political influences in their home country. It goes without saying that sometimes Americans have a skewed understanding of how things are done abroad, especially those privileges we take for granted that may be a struggle for those in other countries. Some folks in the program were younger than me (in their twenties and early thirties), whereas others like myself were in our forties. I wasn’t completely green though coming into the ELLM program as I have for many years dealt with international business law concerns, regulatory compliance, data and privacy laws and litigation, and mergers and acquisitions from a corporate standpoint. And throughout my career, I have also worked on very high-level multimillion-dollar contracts. From those experiences, I looked at deals from a different perspective than the corporate lawyers. The non-lawyers, particularly those folks like myself in the corporate world who serve as subject matter experts for our technologies and services, bringing real-world perspective is important for the lawyers to fully appreciate the business at hand for which they are advising risk or negotiating on behalf of the business. There was also good banter between the lawyers and non-lawyers in class. I was sort of a sponge in the sense of seeing how the lawyers would respond to a professor’s questions differently from how I might and was fascinated listening to classmates talk about how they would handle things in their countries or at their firm. Often times during that banter the professor would side with the non-lawyer, which I thought was interesting.

How did the program improve your ability to deal with legal related matters?

While I can’t say I left the program stating I could draft an entire contract from scratch, I am confident that I understand the language of law.  Moreover, I now understand the construct of a contract much better, from the preamble to the definitions, to all the different sections, components, and exhibits, and have drafted several contracts since which our Legal team then cleans up.  As a direct result of the  course in this program, I now have a deeper understanding of why contracts are constructed the way they are, of why certain pieces in them are more passionately negotiated (i.e. indemnities, reps. and warrants), whereas in other parts of that same contract a company may stand their ground.  I recall early in the program learning about contract remedies, which I thought helped set the stage for when dispute scenarios were raised in later classes such as trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property law. It prompted me to start thinking about my own contracts and how I/my company would deal with arbitration, mediation, and how to define all the different courses of action in the event of a dispute.

Was it helpful to take courses that did not directly align with issues you faced on the job?

Yes, of course.  However, I may not have had the confidence participating in similar discussions in my current role, had I not first learned about the subject in this program.  For instance, dissecting the Enron corporate structure and finding out the way they structured their various entities in and of themselves was not illegal. It was how they recognized earnings and inflated CapEx and OpEx that ultimately caught up with them (and was illegal), as was what similarly happened with Worldcom. That particular class, Corporate Finance, ended up being one of my favorites… and I hate math! Remember, however, I came into this program with an MBA already, so I understood much of that, but my appreciation for finance was from the lens of a CPA or business owner managing their P&L, and not that of lawyer. Professor Wilson made the class fun. He didn’t just say here’s a balance sheet and here’s how we do functions. Instead, he used layperson analogies and fun exercises so that the material would resonate.

What are some of the kinds of legal issues you are currently encountering?

One of the things I’m contending with these days is international data laws.  What’s interesting is that I began the ELLM program completing a 1-year contract with Google, which is obviously a very large company and frequent target for litigation, both from the private sector and from regulatory bodies (i.e. the EU recently slapping fines against them for specific PII related to Google Maps). Shortly after Google, I joined a small private company in Texas called NetNearU as their Chief Business Developer Officer, and immediately upon hire was told by our CEO that we’re going on the road to sell the company.  Thus, much of the stuff I was learning at the time in the ELLM program was relevant to the M&A process.  Within a year, we were purchased by a multi-billion dollar public company, ViaSat, which is where I am today.  As NetNearU, we went from being content with self-attestation of PCI compliance for example, to now with ViaSat doing a full audit of our systems, policies, people and more.  Similarly, certain personally identifiable information that we would have been fine storing on our servers in Texas, such as names, emails, passwords, social media login info, etc. had to be migrated to a more secure, anonymized or tokenized way as we moved to cloud-based services, and to conform with data laws per country.  Furthermore, data transfer and storage may happen differently here in the U.S. than over in Country X. In fact, in certain EU countries, much of, if not all of that data transferred across a network must reside on cloud servers which are in that country, or we face breaking local laws.  As a global company, we have to look at all factors of doing business in each and every country where we sell our products and services, to ensure we are compliant with their local laws, in addition to how we setup entities, hire employees and provide employee benefits in those countries, among many other things of course.

In summary, as I continue to be faced with new challenges each and every day, I have been fortunate in both my career and in my decision to have enrolled in the ELLM program at Boston University.  I recommend this program to anyone interested in law, whether a practicing lawyer aiming to add a mastery in International Business Law to their credentials, or for other professionals who wish to have a deeper understanding of International Business Law in support of their line of work.

Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance Now Offered as ‘Add-On’ Credential

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As of November 2017, I am pleased to announce another program refinement for our friends in the Executive LL.M. Program at Boston University–  degree candidates can now obtain the Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance (CERMC) as an add-on credential to their ELLM degree. While the CERMC will still be available as a free-standing credential that allows for advanced standing in the ELLM, for students matriculated in the ELLM program they can earn the CERMC by completing just 3 more credits during the course of their ELLM studies! In order to receive the ELLM degree with the CERMC certificate, the following are the requirements for completion:

  • XB 815, International Business Transactions and Agreements (3 cr.)
  • XB 813, Contract Law for the International Lawyer (3 cr.) — required unless waived
  • XB 816, U.S. Corporate Law for the International Lawyer (3 cr.) — required unless waived
  • completion of sufficient ELLM courses to achieve a total of 23 credits towards the degree requirements, including at least 12 credits towards the CERMC requirement.

The CERMC requirement is met through taking 12 credits from the following basket:

  • XB 616, Enterprise Risk Analytics (4 cr.)
  • XB 610, Enterprise Risk Management (4 cr.)
  • XB 613, Enterprise Risk Planning and Compliance (4 cr.)
  • XB 822, Global Compliance: Introduction and Best Practices (3 cr.)
  • XB 826, Global Cyber Law and Governance ( 3 cr.)
  • XB, 825, Directed Study (variable credits)

To clarify, the extra 3 credits completed need not be from the CERMC basket — but of course can be, if so desired — provided that the Certificate requirements are otherwise fulfilled during the ELLM studies.  ELLM degree candidates remain free to obtain existing concentrations if desired, although it is not possible to receive both the Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance concentration as well as the CERMC as part of the degree program as they are structurally similar.

So, in short, completing the CERMC requirements and all other degree requirements, with a total of 23 credits, allows you to obtain both the ELLM as well as the Certificate.  This is reflective of a new approach to some certificate programs at Boston University, and we are pleased that the ELLM has been an early adopter of this as well. We believe, as I am sure many of you will, that this additional credential will be attractive for reasons of personal and professional advancement and enhancement. If you have any questions about this, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss!

Coming this spring: International Business Negotiation


Professor Burdick is joining the ELLM faculty in spring 2018 with an innovative new online skills course: International Business Negotiation.

The course will mix online negotiations with live seminar classes to give students the opportunity to leverage distance education technologies to advance their negotiation skills. Below, Professor Burdick has shared his personal background and vision for the course.

My Background for Teaching “Negotiation”

I am a Clinical Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law and the Director of its civil litigation clinic. I have a BA from Harvard, ’68, and a JD from Boston University School of Law, ‘72. In 1975, I began teaching in the civil litigation clinic at BU. I taught second and third-year law students how to help clients solve civil legal problems by negotiating and litigating while representing the clients of Greater Boston Legal Services. In 1977, I became the Director of the civil litigation clinic, a position I have held ever since.

I immediately recognized the remarkable power of negotiation roleplays to teach professional problem-solving skills and legal concepts in action. In 1989, I added a negotiation simulation course at Northeastern University School of Law to my teaching load. I typically teach two-quarters of Legal Negotiation a year at Northeastern. In 1992, I added a non-legal negotiation simulation course for graduate students in urban and environmental planning at Tufts. I now teach Tufts undergraduates how to negotiate in the Fall and Tufts graduate students in the Spring and Summer every year. I also taught negotiation at Tufts’ Gordon Institute for mid-career engineers.  In 1993, I partnered with Dan Burstein to develop negotiation training materials under the name Negotiator Pro. We have a website,, where many of my negotiation simulations can be purchased. In all, I have taught well over 100 separate simulation courses in negotiation.

My Goal for teaching International Business Negotiation in the Executive LLM

My goal for this course is to help students lay the foundation for teaching themselves how to negotiate better over time. Over the years I have broadened my understanding of the definition of “negotiation” and what it is I am teaching. While most people tend to think that “negotiation” means “bargaining”, I believe it involves many other skills and strategies such as relationship building, agenda setting, strategizing, goal setting, information sharing, and brainstorming as well as bargaining. I have come to think of “negotiation” as “the process by which we work more efficiently, more creatively, more ethnically and in general, more effectively with other people whose help we need to satisfy our own interests better than we can by ourselves.” I believe that our formal educational system has a large blind spot about teaching this process. I hope this course can be part of a long-term strategy for filling this gap using the unique potential of distance learning technologies to reach a much larger audience.

My Strategies for Teaching Negotiation using Distance Education Technologies

My strategies for teaching people how to negotiate involve introducing them to several written models of negotiation, inviting them to test these models for themselves in real and simulated negotiations, to write plans and self-critiques for each simulation, and to demonstrate and discuss what these strategies look like in action. There are assigned readings, live seminars, live simulations, written assignments based on the simulations, and different kinds of feedback about their negotiation theories and performance. By teaching the course online, we will be able to record simulations and share them with the class, which will be an exciting new way to review and analyze the simulations. During an average week in this course, students would conduct an online negotiation simulation that would be recorded and which I would be able to view after the fact, and they would “participate” in a one and a half hour “seminar.” During the seminar, the simulation and the strategic topic for the week would be discussed and illustrated in different ways. We are currently working hard to develop this course on Blackboard and are very excited to offer it to ELLM students. If you have any questions about the course, please feel free to contact either me ( or Zac (

ELLM Course and Program Updates for the Fall

Dear friends of the Executive LL.M. Program:

It has been an exciting and dynamic year. As was previously announced, the ELLM program is now a fully hybrid program, allowing practitioners the opportunity to complete their LL.M. studies without a residency requirement, should they so desire. We have already seen an increase in enrollments in our all-online courses as a result, and it is clear that current degree candidates are pleased that the always-flexible ELLM program is now even more so! After graduating a record number of 23 graduates in 2016, the ELLM has swelled with new enrollments. We just successfully completed our Summer Budapest session in June-July 2017, which marked our fifth year anniversary (you can visit our blog about our inaugural visit in 2013 to look back at our first year). There are also additional curricular enhancements in the works, which will be announced as they become more ‘ripe’ in the months ahead, and we will be announcing our 2018 course schedule shortly.

But there are still more changes underway. I must take this occasion to say a fond farewell to two of our long-time ELLM instructors, who are also full-time faculty members in the J.D. program: Professor Kevin Outterson, who teaches U.S. Corporate Law for the International Lawyer; and Professor Mark Pettit, who teaches U.S. Contract Law for the International Lawyer. Mark has taught with us since our inception in 2011, and Kevin for the past several years. My relationship with Mark goes back much further than that, as I have fond memories of his Contracts course as a 1L student at BU LAW in 1992 (seems a lifetime ago, but I still remember some of his songs). Both are leaving us after this latest iteration of their course in our Summer 2017 Boston residency session. Mark is retiring from the ELLM in order to spend more time with family, while Kevin takes on new responsibilities as the Executive Director of the recently-established CARB-X initiative housed at the School of Law. They have enlivened and enriched our curriculum through their commitment to first-rate teaching, their expertise, their good-natured senses of humor, and their dedication to the ELLM program, and I offer them both a fond farewell with best wishes on all their future endeavors. I am sure we will see them again as colloquium speakers.

Announcing their departure brings me to happier news, namely the new faculty who will be joining us: Professor David Walker will be joining the ELLM program and taking on the teaching of our Corporations course; while Professor Maria Hylton will be teaching Contracts. We will be introducing them more formally in the months ahead, but a few words of introduction are apropos now: David Walker is a Maurice Poch Faculty Research Scholar and is a recipient of both the BU LAW teaching award as well as Boston University’s highest teaching award, the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching; his areas of research include corporate, business and transaction law; economics and law; and tax law. Maria Hylton, a full-time faculty member since 1988, is an expert on labor and benefits law and teaches Contracts in the J.D. program, among her other courses. Her areas of research interest include contracts, employment, ERISA, and labor law. Both are superlative teachers and academics, with wide-ranging expertise that make them first-rate additions to the ELLM teaching roster, and I am honored to welcome them to the ELLM family.

I also have the happy task of announcing a new ELLM course is in production, an all-online course in International Business Negotiation scheduled to be offered in Spring 2018. Taught by the newest member of the ELLM teaching faculty, Professor Robert Burdick, he brings a wealth of teaching and practical experience to the ELLM. Also a full-time member of the J.D. teaching faculty, Bob Burdick is the Director of BU’s Civil Litigation Program and also someone I have known for years. We will offer a separate introduction to his course in the coming months, but in the interim this should prove to be an exciting ‘teaser’ for all of our degree candidates interested in expanding their knowledge of Alternative Dispute Resolution skills, and should prove a potent adjunct to Phil D. O’Neill’s  popular International Arbitration course (see a previous blog entry on it here).

For more information on the ELLM curriculum, please visit our link here which will take you to that section of the BU Law website.

As always, please contact us at for more information, and thanks for reading!


ELLM Student Spotlight: Cecilia Barrero


Cecilia Barrero is currently an attorney and business developer at Aguilar Castillo Love, a Central American Law firm with 7 offices across the region, including Panama and Ecuador. She is in charge of generating new business for the firm and coordinating cross-border transactions.  She is currently in the process of relocating to Boston.

You have had a varied professional history across five countries in the Americas. Can you share how those experiences shaped and enriched you as a lawyer?

As you mentioned, I lived and worked in 5 different countries across Latin America and, even though it was challenging sometimes, after 20 years in this “professional trip” across the region, I can certainly affirm that I am a better lawyer because of that.

How have those experiences enriched me as a lawyer? Well, first of all you have to study and learn new laws that are different from what you studied at home. Secondly, culturally speaking, I was enriched too, not only on a personal and day-to-day basis, but professionally I learned how to think like local colleagues and act accordingly. In the end, all this sharpened my skills in coordinating cross-border deals, as it is so much easier to coordinate them when you know how the attorneys involved will think and act.

On the other hand, and probably as a way of adapting to changes in life, I got into a niche within our profession that is not a normal path for a traditional lawyer, which ended up becoming one of my passions: marketing legal services. Let’s say it is the “human” part of the profession, where you learn to deal with and create business among lawyers from different cultures. As someone once told me, only a lawyer can really market and sell what lawyers do, and that’s part of what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years.

There was only one country were I decided to leave my attorney role aside and become an entrepreneur, Brazil. I co-founded an events and catering company and it was a great experience where I strengthened my business skills.

Now, I am moving to the U.S., Boston to be more precise (things of destiny), and as of February 1st 2017, I started working as Business Developer and attorney with my previous firm, Aguilar Castillo Love. So far, it’s been another amazing challenge.

What kinds of issues did you face professionally that made you want to pursue additional education in the form of the Executive LLM in International Business Law?

The ELLM is a great instrument to complete my professional education. I started the ELLM at a time in my life when I already had many years of professional experience, and I felt, and continue to feel, that what I’ve been learning in the ELLM enriches and completes what I’ve been dealing with in my profession during these years.

As one of the attorneys in charge of coordinating cross-border deals at a Central American Law firm, taking into consideration that most of those deals involve either a North American law firm or an American company as partner in the deal or as a counter part, what I’ve been learning in the ELLM has helped me better deal with American laws and the American way of practicing law and doing business.

Based on what you’ve observed, how do you see U.S. and other international legal systems impacting how cross-border transactions in Latin America are handled?

In terms of the actual law, say that you have a cross-border transaction that involves a lot of different foreign laws and regulations. Part of the success of the transaction turns on figuring out which rules are actually implicated and figuring out how best to choose and work with good local attorneys. But it is the human part of the cross-border transactions that, from my perspective, is often a critical piece of the deal. There is still a lot to do in this field, lots of transition processes to observe more closely, and even new ones to create to make the deal work. As Latin America continues to grow and develop, the international influence on this human element will continue to shape the form of future deals.

In the ELLM mergers and acquisitions class with Professor Sullivan, I learned that many cross-border transactions fail because of not knowing how to deal with this human aspect of the transition. When you deal with these kinds of operations, you are also dealing with different cultures, different ways of seeing things and, basically, different ways of doing business.

How have you found balancing your studies with pursuing a part-time Master’s degree?

Well, let me tell you that we women are good at multitasking. So it is hard, but not impossible. I am completely loving the process.

Where do you hope to take your legal practice in the next five years?

Since I’ve just started a new professional challenge and am moving to a new place, I hope to be succeeding in this challenge over the next 5 years. I personally plan to develop new business for my firm in the U.S. and the Americas, and coordinate more and more complex cross-border transactions. I also have a more “complicated” dream. Since I’m going to be living in Boston from now on, I would love to sit for the Massachusetts Bar Exam.