Hot Bench: Lina Leal LL.M. '19

Lina Leal
LL.M. ‘19

Lina Leal LL.M. ‘19

Lina Leal LL.M. ‘19

Where did you grow up? 

In Bogotá, Colombia. 

What were you doing before coming to UVA Law? 

I was a clerk at the constitutional court of Colombia. 

What was that like? 

It was amazing. It was a great job. All my life, all I wanted to do was to protect people’s rights, and the constitutional court is the highest court where Colombian citizens got their rights protected, so I think it’s the best place to do that, to really help people. 

What made you decide to come here? 

After law school in Colombia, one of my goals was to work for a while and then get a master’s in the U.S. because the master’s education is outstanding and very good. And I really wanted to go to an Ivy school, and this is the Ivy public school, so it is an honor to be here. For me it’s an honor to be here. 

You’re the President of LLMs. What is that like? 

It’s fun. I’ve been meeting a lot of people because of that. It’s cool because I think it’s a link between the LLMs and other things in law school but also to other graduate schools. It’s kind of interesting. I think it’s a great position to meet people and do fun things with the LLMS. 

What do you wish the JDs knew about the LLMS? 

Well, I don’t know if the JDs know exactly what an LLM is. I’ve been to different conferences and meetings, and I always introduce myself like, “Hi, I’m Lina, an LLM from Colombia.” They’re like, “Cool, what’s an LLM?” When I tell them it’s a master’s program, they’ll ask, “So, are you a lawyer?” “Yes, I finished law school in my country, I worked for a while, and then I came here to get my master’s degree.” But I thought it was common knowledge, and it’s not. Not for everyone. 

What is your favorite English word? 

My favorite English word, and I use it for everything and everywhere, is “amazing”. To me, everything is amazing. 

What is your favorite Spanish word? 

My favorite Spanish word, I could say lo máximo, which is great or amazing, but yeah, lo máximo. 

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had? 

That’s a tough one because I’ve had so many, but I would say in Spain they have this plate huevos estrellados, so it’s scrambled eggs with French fries. 

If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and why? 

This guy, I’m in love with him, Daniel Brühl. The one from Inglorious Basterds and Good Bye Lenin! He’s German. I love him, and I love his films. In Inglorious Basterds, I think he is amazing. 

What is your favorite hobby to escape the stress of law school? 

Watching Netflix, I think, is my favorite. And I’ve discovered this new TV show called La Casa de Las Flores. It’s great, and I watched it all in two days! 

Where is your favorite place to vacation? 

Somewhere with a pool or a beach. Somewhere very calm, like nothing to do, just read a lot of magazines, and Netflix. 

What did you eat for breakfast? 

Popcorn, caramel and cheddar. It’s a mix. It’s so good! 

What is your least favorite sound? 

I’m a very nerdy person, so whenever I’m in class and someone has a pen and is tapping it on the table––I hate that. 

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? 

I would say in a city, like a big city like Bogotá or a small city like Charlottesville, but near my parents and my friends. 

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? 

This old, vintage record player from my boyfriend on my birthday. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville? 

Now, I would say hiking. I’ve been here for two months, and I’ve been on two hikes, and I think that’s my favorite thing.