Posted: December 16th, 2019 | By: Kaitlyn Ruhf
A different way of life prepared Frédéric Joly (LLM ’00) to bring his career back home. His journey to senior legal counsel for Saint-Gobain Group in Paris, France, started as a mere curiosity – a passion for other legal cultures – and later transformed into a year-long journey at a small school in the foothills of North Carolina.
“I wanted to discover another legal culture,” Joly says. “Experiencing a different legal system and rules based on Common Law was an exciting and instructive challenge for someone coming from a Civil Law country”.
But Joly also wanted to pair culture with academic rigor. His search for American law schools started at well-ranked programs and narrowed into a short list of prestigious institutions that offered curriculums built on community and history.
“It was important to study at a well-ranked law school where I wouldn’t just be a number in a crowd of students,” Joly says. “Wake Forest School of Law allowed me to make strong connections with professors and even take classes with JD students.”
This closeness to professors had its benefits. One of Joly’s strongest memories of Wake Forest was the amount of preparation he had to take in order to attend class. Because classes were small, there was always a strong possibility that a professor would involve you in a lecture, Joly recalls.
“The time spent in readings for class preparation enabled me to acquire new legal skills and enhanced knowledge,”
His focus on preparation would lead him to success. Upon graduation, Joly was named the CALI Excellence Award winner for his achievements in European Law. He immediately landed an internship with the Paris-based Deloitte Law Group, where he began to practice tax law.
From there, Joly was recruited by Bouygues Group, a major international construction, telecommunications, and media group. He joined their legal counsel team in 2001 and accrued years of experience in numerous practice areas, including real estate, business, and intellectual property law.
By 2010, Joly joined the legal counsel team at Saint-Gobain Group, a role that evolved into the senior-level position he holds today. He attributes part of his success to the global prestige of his degree.
“My Wake Forest diploma helped me a lot throughout my career,” Joly says. “My American experience, my legal English language skills, and my international diploma added a strong value to my profile.”
Beyond the success of his career, Joly reflects on the impact of his experiences at Wake Forest.
“Above all, the relationships with my classmates, professors and staff, and the discovery of a different way of life in a wonderful region, has truly enriched my life.”