I couldn't have designed a better work atmosphere.”
Associate General Counsel, Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank
The legal education Ingrid Busson initially sought as "background" for an NGO career is front and center in her international law practice. Since 2007 she has been associate general counsel for regulatory issues in the New York office of Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank, one of France's largest banks and a global actor in investment, insurance, and corporate finance. Tighter financial regulations following in the wake of the economic crisis make Ingrid busier than ever translating U.S. restrictions to foreign constituents who want to do business here.
"I couldn't have designed a better work atmosphere," notes the Canadian of her position. "I can use my languages and international perspective in a dynamic field." (Fluent in the languages of her French father and German mother, she's also conversant in Russian and Spanish.) Although she'd originally imagined a career negotiating international treaties for environmental NGOs, timing intervened. A Semester in Practice at the Center for International Environmental Law in D.C. strengthened her skills and opened real-world windows, but Ingrid graduated to find herself in a soft job market without law firm experience. Fortunately, the bracing advice of a favorite professor, David Firestone, had pushed her to be practice-ready. "I'd mentioned that I wasn't planning to take the bar exam," she recalls. "He told me, 'You're crazy! You're wasting your time and mine if you don't!'"
During her job search, Ingrid relied on VLS's Career Services Office, which found her an opening in mass torts at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in New York. "It was right before the dot-com bubble burst, and many young associates had moved west, thinking 'hey, I can work with my dog in my flip-flops in Palo Alto.'" Ingrid recalls. Three strenuous years litigating in the New York offices prepared her for a new opportunity. "A Skadden colleague in Washington mentioned they needed people in financial services regulation. I didn't know what that meant-but being responsive and versatile is part of what I learned at VLS." Over the next two years, she became involved in the U.S. Congress's "oil for food" investigation representing BNP Paribas, the French bank that handled payments for the UN.
The case set Ingrid squarely in the international law field and on the path to her job at Crédit Agricole. "Much of my work is international-we advise constituents, for example, on sanctions related to Iran and Cuba. My practice is fascinating right now, because the market for so many products will change under last July's Dodd-Frank Act."
Ingrid takes free time to work with the American Bar Association, encouraging career development in international law. When talking with recent law graduates, she recalls the encouragement one VLS mentor, Professor Stephen Dycus, gave her right before the bar exam. "He said, 'Ingrid, I know you're worried, but you shouldn't be. You'll do amazing things in your life.' I repeat that to myself and to the recent grads I talk with."