When Gerardo Pico, ’00, came to Missouri with his young family in the late 90s for his LLM in Dispute Resolution, he never imagined the many doors it would open for him in and beyond the legal fields.
After earning his law degree from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico in 1992, Pico began working at a state agency as head of the legal division, where his interest in dispute resolution began.
“I became significantly involved in the mediation project and found its potential for helping with access to justice,” Pico said. “At the same time, I was impressed with how it could provide practical solutions to people’s everyday conflicts.”
In 1999, he heard about the Mizzou LLM program from a story by the Puerto Rico Bar Association and decided to move his family to Columbia to continue his education.
He said that while the program details drew him to apply, the sense of community kept him going while he completed his degree.
“Coming to Columbia and bringing my young family along was a big dream and a big challenge,” he said. “The people behind this program helped through every step of the way, and meeting and learning from each of them continues to be an honor and my most cherished experience.”
After graduating with his LLM, Pico has explored a variety of career interests, including teaching law, working as an administrative law judge, and serving in mediation and arbitration roles. Pico said that the skills he learned through the program have been vital to his success.
Last fall, MU had the opportunity to welcome Pico back as an online adjunct professor, in addition to his other professional roles.
Pico had this advice for other students interested in the program:
“Coming to Mizzou has contributed to making my life and career an enjoyable and rewarding experience and it will do the same for you. Conflict management and dispute resolution skills can be useful in all aspects of one’s life. They make the practice of law even more enjoyable.”