Hi Ayça, from which country did you come to Bucerius Law School?
I came here from İzmir which is the third-largest city located on the west coast of Turkey.
What was your experience coming to Hamburg for the first time? Which impressions did you gain of the city?
I absolutely loved the city and the vibe that it gave was fascinating. I have visited several cities in Germany but I think that Hamburg is the most beautiful one. It is elegant, international, fun and it is also a great city to be a student in. This city really offers you everything you need, and I consider myself lucky for having this amazing experience.
You obtained an LLB from Yaşar University in Izmir. Why did you choose to study Law?
In fact, I studied at a Science High School, which is a type of high school that you mostly get education on science and math-related subjects. If you have studied in one of those schools, people generally expect you to be a doctor, dentist, architect, or engineer.
However, during this time at the high school, I realized that I had the social skills and also the mind to be a lawyer as I was my class’s representative during four years at high school. After the university entrance exam, I chose to study Law and changed my path. I need to mention that studying math and science in high school helped me to develop my analytical thinking which I think is crucial for studying and practicing law.
What was your job in Turkey before moving to Hamburg?
I worked as an attorney for two years in a well-known law firm in İzmir. Before I was an admitted lawyer to İzmir Bar Association, I also did a one-year mandatory internship in the same law firm and continued to work there as an attorney. My tasks were to advise companies on data protection law and developing corporate legal solutions.
In addition to that I was also consulting them regarding their legal needs such as international contracts, general assemblies, labor law etc. My special focus was on contract negotiation and drafting as well as on advising clients on procedures of acquiring the citizenship.
What made you choose to practice data protection law?
To get admitted to Izmir Bar Association, trainee lawyers must submit a thesis to the bar and get a score high enough to apply for their certificates to practice law as admitted attorneys. When I was thinking about the topic for my thesis, data protection law was still a new legal area. There were no much publishments and in general people had a lot of confusion about it. So, I finally decided to write my thesis about data protection law and its effects on companies.
With my thesis, I got the highest score range and it was also awarded with the title of “Worthy of an Award”. After that, I became involved with data protection compliance procedures for our clients. I had the chance to advise more than 10 companies in different business areas regarding GDPR/ data protection compliance and contemporarily supervised their procedures. Besides this, I was also a trainer for the employees of the client companies and made audits regarding data protection compliance procedures.
You are a member of a Turkish NGO and you were an election observer during the 2015 General Election. Why was this important to you?
As a lawyer, I think one of our fundamental duties is to seek other people’s rights as well. I joined the NGO Öy ve Ötesi to prevent corruption and unlawful acts in the election. What I also find to be important is to attend elections as a legal body and observe everything as a third-independent person which I see as a must for a democratic environment at elections.
Why did you decide to get an MLB? How do you think having an MLB is going to help you pursue your career goals?
I always knew that I wanted to attend a master’s program after getting some experience and therefore I was searching for the program that would fit best to my needs. After working with companies for almost three years, I genuinely faced and realized that the most important and common problem for businesses was evaluating legal advice since both parties evaluate the legal problems in different ways.
Approaching a look on Law and Business at the same will improve my ability, career, and the most important of all, my knowledge. After attending Bucerius Law School’s Legal Tech Essentials 2020 virtually, I wondered more about legal tech and thought that I could combine it with the knowledge that I have on data protection law. The combination of the specialization in Legal Tech and Operations made me decide that the MLB is the best program for what I wish to be.
What made you specifically choose Bucerius Law School to pursue an MLB?
One of the most tempting parts of the MLB program for me was the diversity of the classes and modules, which are so important to understand better both legal and business concepts. I realized the importance of that already after only one month in with the program. With the education system that Bucerius Law School offers, we will be completely capable of legal and economic dimensions of the various stages of an enterprise. After only one year of education, we can pursue careers in different paths if we want to.
The opportunity to specialize in different areas was another relevant aspect for choosing Bucerius Law School. Also, the reputation and the powerful connections this university has, confirmed by final decision. Excellence is the reason why Bucerius Law School is the top-ranked law school in Germany. From the first day, I understood and realized that choosing this program and Bucerius Law School is the best decision of my life and the best thing that I could do for myself.
Ayça, thanks for the interview.