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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lucia Martel-Dow ’12: Cultivating the Big Picture

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“It’s the human capital, the network that UC Hastings offers,” says Martel-Dow. “For me it was vital.”

Lucia Martel-Dow ‘12 LLM has a career that spans three continents as well as fields from human rights to financial investment, so it’s hard to imagine a common thread connecting her first job in the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to her current position as senior compliance consultant for Gordian Compliance Solutions.

There is, however, a consistent theme, the Venezuelan native points out. “I’m still dealing with government, but instead of working within it, I work for the other side. But I’m constantly trying to figure out what the government requires,” she says, adding that she often considers how her work fits into a bigger picture. “What have we done as a society by regulating certain things? What should we be regulating?”

When Martel-Dow graduated from law school in Venezuela, her dream was to be a diplomat. Working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she began training to become an ambassador, but in 2005, she says, the political situation in Venezuela had become so polarized that she considered her position untenable. “Working as a diplomat had become less professional,” she says, “and I was kind of forced to leave.”

Martel-Dow moved to Spain, her father’s birthplace, and worked as a consultant to the IberoAmerican General Secretariat. It was during that time that she took a trip to San Francisco, where she met her future husband. Together, they decided to live in the Bay Area.

Despite her love of San Francisco, Martel-Dow describes her first year in this country as being quite difficult. Her experience with government and international agencies did not have a likely extension on the West Coast. Although she found she liked working with the immigrant community at nonprofit organizations, she found she “wanted a bit more, to focus on issues that were more macro."

“In the beginning,” she says, “it was difficult to find a niche where I could use my skills and be happy with what I was doing.” 

Martel-Dow’s search led her to UC Hastings to earn her LLM. Learning U.S. lawyers’ approach to problem solving was invaluable, she says, as were the contacts she made.

In fact, it was the people she met there, including her alumni mentor, Jed Clark ’10, that led her to secure her current position, Martel-Dow says. “It’s the human capital, the network that UC Hastings offers,” she says. “For me it was vital.”

This article first appeared in the Spring 2013 UC Hastings Magazine. Read More. 

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