The 2017 Graduation ceremony

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© Christophe Rabinovici

This is a hard time for us: the exam period has begun and we certainly need motivation to end the semester. That is what I will do today through writing about what we, GED students, all dream about: graduate from an LLM.

On the evening of the 27th October, we had the pleasure to be reunited at the 27th floor of the Tour First in La Defense for a very special moment, which every GED student dreams to be part of. Indeed, more than just being in one of the most breathtaking sight of the capital (which is still extremely weird for young students which have just left high school), we were celebrating the graduation of the alumni who had just come back from their LLM.

First of all, I have to say that it was pretty awkward for the new promotion to attend the event since we did not know the graduates (exception put aside), although it made us proud to be there with them. It was a happy moment but I still felt that it was the end of their GED experience, that it was probably the last time they’d be reunited and that they’d be taking different paths.

Although the newly graduated promotions had started different masters throughout the Paris area, they still looked glad to see each other and tell the stories and experiences they had brought back from their LLM.

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© Christophe Rabinovici

Me and my fellow GED 1 sat in the back of the room in order to let the graduates and their families enjoy the front seats. We watched the ceremony with passion and admiration as we wished we were them. Even if the LLM is far, the graduates gave us the envy to succeed in our studies so we can have the opportunity to live what they lived during their year abroad.

The ceremony began by the welcome speech of Mr. Baller, a tradition when the GED is gathered in La Defense. Then, the graduates received some words from the professor Magnier who has supported them from the very beginning of their formation.

Tali and Mathis, our two hosts for the night made an amazing job to give their great great godfatheRDM Tali et Mathisrs and godmothers (of the GED family) the ceremony they deserved. With this kind of seriousness due to the importance mixed with humour, our two hosts let us discover the experience of those who have crossed the same hardships we are dealing with right now (it was just a great comfort to see people who have reached the end of the path we are travelling on).

We had the pleasure to hear Mrs. Harris’ speermdd-mme-harris.jpgch in French which was very sweet and touching. She gave a kind word to each of the graduates. It was a bit disturbing to listen to her speaking French since we are used to her speaking exclusively English in class.

© Christophe Rabinovici

To illustrate what was the Budapest promotion, a speech was delivered by two members of it. That gave us two different styles to show that the GED is composed of very different people united in a common purpose. I mean, this speech was very revealing of what we could consider being the GED spirit: a delicious combination of seriousness and fun. They shared with us every moment which has made their experience unforgettable.

It was very touching because they were one of the very first generations and it is thanks to them that we can live the GED experience as we do now: we are walking on the path they have paved for us, but yet they let us make our own experience.

The graduates transmitted us the feelings they have developed in 3 years together, the bounds which link them and the strong memories they have made. Stories of each year were told, a time of shared happiness before the moment they were all waiting for: the LLM. Even if they were far one from one another, they kept in touch, proving that the relationships we create in our formation help us to become the person we want to be.
Some of the graduates who had the opportunity to continue their studies abroad broadcast short but strongly emotional videos to share this moment with the others.

I believe that this touching speech has inspired every GED 1 and also the previous generations in the room at the moment.

The graduation happened between the different speeches. We had the chance to discover some of the most prestigious LLMs in the world, from Singapore to San Francisco with a stop in the UK and in Washington, DC. Each of the graduates was an invitation to outperform ourselves in order to ensure their work was being continued. It was stunning to see the diplomas they had received, even more for us newcomers who still see the LLM as a dream and not a reality. Diplomas were given by Professor Magnier. I think it is important to say it because it is a kind of accomplishment for her to see us graduating: that proves she accomplished her first mission which is to allow French student to graduate from the best law universities in the world in order to have the best masters and the best professional life we can imagine.

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© Christophe Rabinovici

RMDD PierreTo conclude this ceremony, we listened to the speech of our dear Pierre Delassis who knows the graduates quite well since he is 2 years older than them. He shared with us the difficulties to be part of the first years of the GED but also the great memories the alumni have created together. Short details were given and we realized how impressive our alumni were in the solar field. Every speech was more inspiring than the previous one and delighted, I thought we would be like them in a few years.

© Christophe Rabinovici

During the cocktail which followed the ceremony, we had the opportunity to talk with the graduates. It was a bit awkward to disturb the moment they shared with their families but they seemed pleased to talk to us.

Anyway, it was a chance to learn a bit more about themselves and the LLM they made. Such exchanges are a good way to help new generations define their own projects and reinforce the bounds between the different promotions.

It is now our task to write our own story so that one day, we are able to tell it during our very own graduation ceremony.

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Guillaume Huan

 

How a five minutes break at la Grande Ecole du Droit changed my life – From Paris-Sud University to the University of Oregon

 

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  • The chance of an application, the work of the will

During the break in the lecture by Professor Harris, on another freezing December day about a year ago, my eyes froze on one of the innumerable posters which line the walls of the faculty. That day, it was not a poster offering me a job as an English speaking baby sitter but one with the serious label ‘French-American Fulbright commission’ which is known to offer a generous scholarship in different US universities. The list also mentioned the criteria to be eligible. What a bargain ?! usually, you get discouraged when you see you’re not eligible although the first sight of the poster had made you dreamt. But this time, I checked all the criteria and was delighted to see I matched them all ! I was thrilled and I must say I already pictured myself on the benches of a US campus, holding a Starbucks cup. I was ready to live the American dream.

After a period of a few weeks of application punctuated by the writing of the application form, an oral and in short, an intensive work, I received the mail of selection by a warm day of spring.

• An exceptional academic experience

The program is called “Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders from Europe”. The SUSI programs for Student Leaders from Europe last five weeks. The institutes consist in a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures. In 2017, each Institute had up to 22 undergraduate students from all over Europe and included a four-week academic residency component and a one-week integrated study tour. In 2017, the institutes were hosted by the University of Southern Carolina, the University of Oregon, and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga on the topics of Civic Engagement, Environmental Issues, and Social Entrepreneurship, all respectively.

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The Institute I attended is the SUSI on Environmental Issues. It has allowed me to explore current themes in environmental studies, which included natural resource management, sustainable development/ sustainable agricultural practices, food security, ecotourism, energy generation (new and traditional forms), and water management and treatment. The program was interactive and experiential, with field trips to research facilities and opportunities for classroom discussion. The issues were explored from numerous angles: local grassroots activism and civic initiatives, market-oriented approaches, and federal government policies and regulation. I had amazing opportunities to engage with policy makers, lawyers, individuals in technical positions, community representatives, indigenous leaders, and other key actors committed to the protection and management of the environment.

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During these five weeks, I developed a project around green tourism with some other participants. I had the honour of presenting this idea in Washington DC at the SUSI Review Ceremony. Now back in France, I intend to continue this project in team through the program “Les Entrepreuneuriales”, Paris-Saclay edition, for which our project application was successful.

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• An extraordinary human adventure

The 2017 Summer will probably remain my most important summer in my young adult life. I participated in a human experience that made me grow up, challenge my achievements, widen my field of vision and finally has allowed me to access new perceptions as well on my field of study that on the surrounding world. I came back to France, changed, with all the unforgettable moments I had in the United States, determined, ready to meet new challenges.

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What I remember, after 5 weeks of seminar, is that only one person, one project, one moment can change our lives forever. To change our mentality, our thinking, to force us to see under another angle everything, that we thought, that we knew and force us to ask ourselves the toughest questions: Who am I? Did I understand what happened? Do I want to lead this life?

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Link for 2018 SUSI’s Application: http://www.fulbright-france.org/fr/espace-bourses-USA/programmes/summer-institutes-student-leaders

Link for 2017 SUSI on Environmental Issues video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQd9mhqEf7w&t=179s

Benjamin Bienert (GED2)

Introduction to Tax Law : The Afterwork

Mathilde’s point of view

Eight o’ clock on a Friday night. While Parisian Ernst & Young lawyers discuss their plans for the weekend as they walk out of the elevator, I get in heading to the 27th floor.

The afterwork team, which I am part of, is holding a conference that night and the room is surprisingly full, but everything seems to be under control. In the organizing team’s mind, it is a mess though. We won the first round: our communication worked and the room is full. We are all hoping that the conference will go well. It is the occasion to answer all of the questions students may have about tax law but we mustn’t be too long.

The biggest challenge is thus that of the speakers, professional tax lawyers and directors who all came with different interests: sharing their experience or maybe find their next intern.

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Organizing such an event teaches many things and is a beautiful challenge right at the heart of the professional place. We got to organize ourselves as a team, distributing roles but then always referring to a leader. We got to contact some of the best professors and Masters directors and of course professionals whom we might meet again as lawyers in our careers.

As a consequence, it is very important to make a good first impression to them without taking the front of the scene: they are the ones we must hear from first. But planning this conference also brought some surprises. An odd issue came up, as to how we would thank the speakers for instance. I know it does not sound very important, but that’s a tough question. Eventually, we went for the classical chocolates, but I think Roxanne’s final picture is much more meaningful.

A great challenge was also that of the settling of the conference as it took place as The ‘Tour First’ where our partner Ernst & Young is headquartered. Being the highest skyscraper in ‘La Défense’, the access to the conference was very controlled and needed more logistics than usual.

The Grande Ecole du Droit is very lucky to be well surrounded by professionals and I think that all our guests were satisfied with the way EY and the GED welcomed them.

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As to conclude, I’d like to invite first-year students who like challenges to host events like this one and I would be interested in meeting students and professors from all Parisian universities, but also professionals to come and join the Afterwork team!

Juliette’s point of view

Having joined the Grande Ecole de Droit this year, during my second year of studying law, I am keen to catch up on all the activities and events the GED organises. What better way to learn than to actively participate in organising an afterwork evening!

While talking to my « marraine » (interestingly I cannot find an exact word to translate this word into English to reflect its true meaning!) I learned that the next Afterwork event would be dedicated to tax law. As this could be the area I would like to specialise in once qualified, I jumped on the occasion to help lead the organisation of the event.

Once I was told 150 people were expected at the evening and that I was due to speak in front of everyone I started feeling rather nervous….

Let me tell you about the evening itself. It was held in the offices of Ernst and Young at la Défense, and several professionals specialised in tax law were invited to speak about different aspects of Tax law. The objective was to allow students who still don’t know exactly which branch of law they wish to study to have a clearer idea of what tax law entails.

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We were very fortunate to hear presentations from:
• Pauline Biaggi, lawyer in transaction and tax services in EY society
• Lucie Thomas, international tax manager at Christian Dior
• Locif Choulak, Tax intern in CMS Bureau Francis Lefebre
• Francois Dutertre, tax director in Allianz France

They explained the reality of practising everyday tax law. In addition, a professor involved in teaching master degrees in law was there to explain his courses and what directors expect from students who would like to apply.

Following the presentations, students had the opportunity to ask their own questions to deep dive into particular subjects of interest. Thereafter, other students started asking very pertinent questions, in front of all the room, which was good as it allowed everyone to learn more together especially, as many students do not have the courage to ask questions in front of everybody.

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The evening ended with a cocktail, which was well attended. Discussions continued amongst the students and with the speakers. The evening was judged to be a success by many, it certainly gave an excellent overview of what to expect from a career in Tax law, and what courses are available. A big thank you is extended to everyone who took part, and enabled this evening to be as successful as it was.

Juliette Perrotin and Mathilde Thibault (GED2)