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.


Hisham posted on December 15, 2017 at 2:09 pm


Rakesh Awasthi posted on December 17, 2017 at 2:57 am

Fantastic interview…lots of information on the subject…really great inspirational discussion….

Nabil posted on March 29, 2018 at 12:28 am

Excelente interview, sky is the limit khalo

shranik jain posted on August 11, 2018 at 3:21 am

i am i 1 st year ba llb …And i want to study cyber law and want to expertise in it.so whta should i do from where i get classes ?

ipilar posted on August 17, 2018 at 11:20 am

Hi– thank you for your interest. The ELLM program is only open to experienced practitioners.

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