18 February 2021
International Legal Sector

Adriana de Buerba (Pérez-Llorca): "Law profession is one of the professions that is best adapting to new times"


The Impact Lawyers conducts an email interview with Adriana de Buerba, White Collar Crime and Investigations Partner at Pérez-Llorca, who has recently been appointed as senior vice chair of the Criminal Law Committee of the International Bar Association (IBA)

How are you approaching your recent appointment as senior vice chair of the criminal law committee of the IBA?

I’m delighted. I’ve spent a few years linked to the IBA and worked in different roles in the CLC. In January 2021 the whole committee was replaced, as is the case every two years. The new co-chairs of the committee are Christine Braamskamp, partner of Jenner & Block London LLP, and Heiko Ahlbrecht, partner of Wessing & Partner in Dusseldorf. I have to thank them enormously for having thought of me to be vice chair of the committee, alongside Janusz Tomczak, partner of the Polish firm Raczkowski, in Warsaw.

We have some very exciting projects for the next two years. The IBA CLC’s main focus of interest is transnational criminal law, mainly with an economic component. We will continue to work in this vein, as is logical, since it corresponds to the professional profile of most of the committee members. But we also want to work to strengthen the collaboration with other areas such as, for example, the Anti-Corruption Committee, the pro bono or Human Rights Committees and with organisations like Lawyers Without Borders

What would you like to highlight about the IBA's presence and influence within the legal sector?

The IBA was founded in 1947, not long after the creation of the United Nations, to bring together the efforts of bar associations in different countries to improve the administration of justice. 

Over time, the IBA has evolved, and today, in addition to professional associations all over the world, over 80,000 individual lawyers are members of the association. This enormous reach means that the IBA is in an unbeatable position to influence the development of international law, and, in general, contribute to defining and improving the profession.

Globally, the world faces enormous challenges in the coming years, many of which affect citizens’ most fundamental rights. In this context, the IBA’s aim to be the voice of the legal profession in the world to contribute to stability and world peace through justice is of particular importance.

What motives pushed you to embark on your career as a lawyer?

Unlike some of my colleagues, I did not have a defined vocation for studying Law. I had studied my secondary education overseas and the Ministry cut my average note by a lot when validating me, so I was left with few options when applying for University. At that time, everyone around me was telling me that the Law degree had many opportunities. So I decided to start Law at the Complutense University in Madrid, where my dad had studied years before.

From then on, I was lucky enough to have some of the best Law professors in our country, such as Iñigo Cavero for Political Law, Pérez-Prendes for History of Law and, above all, Enrique Gimbernat for Criminal Law. Enrique was the one who made me fall in love with criminal law, which led me, after finishing my degree, to prepare for the public prosecutor’s exams.  

From your point of view, do you believe that the law profession is adapting itself to new times (remote working and flexibility, digital transformation)?

I believe that the law profession is one of the professions that is best adapting to new times in terms of more flexible work through the incorporation of new technologies. Lawyers have to adapt to the needs and changes demanded by society and their clients and, fortunately, the profession allows this and facilitates this. It has also allowed us to carry on working during this strange and difficult year, unlike other professionals who can only work in person or who, unfortunately, have lost their jobs.

Hopefully the administration of justice will be able to keep pace with society in this respect. I hope that, for example, all of the investment of public funds into digital media that is being carried out to mitigate the effects of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be used afterwards to modernise and speed up legal activity in the short and medium term

Which do you think are the aspects that would make a criminal lawyer a successful professional?

To liberally paraphrase J. V. Foix, six things are fundamental. The first is studying, which is the most important one. The second, no less necessary, is studying. Afterwards, you have to keep studying. The fourth and fifth are walking and walking again and, lastly, walking is also recommendable. I read it in an article by Laura Ferrero, although she was referring to writers, and I loved it so I’ve appropriated it.

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