Sept. 14, 2017 — Just a year after completing her legal education at the University of Houston Law Center, Vladi Hennessee '16 is applying her legal skills in an international setting as a deputy counsel at the International Chamber of Commerce's International Court of Arbitration in Paris.
The court exercises judicial supervision over international commercial and investment arbitration proceedings. The cases come from around the world, including the U.S., Canada, Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
She began her new role in June and assists with the daily management of cases handled by the court. Some of her responsibilities entail ensuring that arbitrations are conducted in accordance with the rules and in an efficient manner, managing the financial aspects of cases, and providing the legal and factual information needed for the decisions of the court and the secretary general.
Despite an adjustment period, Hennessee said the Law Center has prepared her well for this opportunity.
"The Law Center gave me all the tools I need and more for the kind of work I am doing," Hennessee said. "While I am still learning on the job, the research and writing skills acquired at the Law Center, as well as the substantive knowledge in commercial and investment arbitration, make the learning process much easier, faster and more enjoyable."
Hennessee said she got the job after two rounds of interviews and a 90-minute assignment that assessed her ability to complete the daily tasks performed by the court. She believes she was offered the position based on her academic and clerkship experiences, which included jobs with Airbus, the international law firm Clifford Chance LLP, Lone Star Legal Aid, Baker McKenzie, and Arnold & Porter. A native of Bulgaria, Hennessee is also able to speak five languages, including English and French, the primary languages used at the International Chamber of Commerce.
She said her interest in arbitration was sparked after an internship with Airbus' legal department. The Law Center fostered that interest into a passion thanks to a number of activities and professors.
"I had been curious about arbitration since the internship, but my interest grew while at the Law Center with the Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court competition and the international arbitration and transnational investment classes taught by Professors Benjamin Sheppard and Julian Cardenas Garcia," she said.
Hennessee said she looks forward to her continued growth with the ICC and relishes the global nature of her practice.
"I get to work in an international environment with extraordinary, brilliant people from all over the world, with different legal and cultural backgrounds, and speaking more languages than I can list," she said. "I am learning so much, not only from the job itself, but also from the people I work with every day.
"I love this job. It is more enriching than I could have ever imagined, and the UH Law Center helped me get here."