Student Spotlight: Joaquin Jacome Barsallo LLM ’24

Tell us about your volunteer work helping migrants with asylum applications.
I volunteered at the New York Legal Assistance Group and New York City’s Asylum Application Center. As a law student volunteer, I helped applicants express their narratives in a comprehensible manner that the immigration authorities could easily understand. Being from Panama, I have personally felt the severity of the global migrant crisis and its consequences on all affected parties. Looking to contribute my grain of sand, I joined hoping my background and experience as an English-Spanish translator could help applicants from Latin America. 

Joaquin Jacome Barsallo
Joaquin Jacome Barsallo LLM ’24

As a Panamanian, what resonated most about this experience for me was hearing their stories of crossing through my country on their journey to America. The struggles people endure to cross the treacherous Darién jungle are not lost on anyone familiar with the region. However, it was not until I spent an entire day helping one applicant that I fully appreciated the  toll this process can take on a person and their family. That said, it felt rewarding to know that our work was making a difference in people’s lives, as they are allowed to apply for an Employment Authorization Document 150 days after filing their asylum application. I have since gone on to speak on ABC’s “Tiempo” to share my experience, promote the NYC Help Center initiative, and hopefully shed more light on the issue. 

What drew you to pursue a LLM in Corporation Law at NYU?
Since childhood, I have developed a love for New York that convinced me I would eventually come here. When or how that would happen remained unclear while I was in law school in Panama. What became clear relatively early was my passion for corporate law, which I attribute to my personal background and professional experience.   

While working at my family’s law firm, I learned of the intentional resemblance between Panama’s corporation law and the Delaware General Corporation Law. As my education progressed, I became familiarized with the nearly paternal relationship between Panama and the US. My deepened understanding of this connection convinced me that mastering both legal systems was a worthwhile career goal. Hopefully, this will lead to a career in international corporate practice and help serve a greater mission of preserving a healthy relationship between Panama and the US. 

To that end, I became determined to thread the needle and fulfill my personal, professional, and academic dreams simultaneously. My thorough due diligence revealed that NYU Law was the perfect fit for three reasons: corporate law faculty, extracurricular offerings, and location. As I write this, at the tail-end of my LLM, I can confirm that my decision was correct for the above and too many other reasons to name.  

What has been your favorite law school class so far?
Mergers and Acquisitions with Professor Laura Turano! Her practical approach to teaching is ideally suited for such an ever-evolving field, and it enriched the class in every way possible. For instance, the syllabus was structured very practically, each week addressing a different topic within the context of M&A. As a seasoned practitioner, Professor Turano was never short of colorful stories that helped illustrate some of the more ambiguous doctrinal issues we encountered in case law. She would invite some of her impressive friends and colleagues to complement her lectures. Learning about such a practical subject from a rising star in the industry was a true privilege. 

Favorite podcast or book? 
At the moment, my favorite podcast is Pivot. What makes this podcast so special is its unique pairing of co-hosts: the quintessential Silicon Valley reporter Kara Swisher and brainiac NYU Stern Professor Scott Galloway. I can’t get enough of their energetic chemistry, colorful commentary, and insightful analysis of the latest developments in business and tech. It’s become a can’t-miss in my podcast rotation and I encourage everyone to give it a listen! My favorite book right now is Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar. This is a must-read for anyone interested in M&A and private equity.

Posted on April 16, 2024