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Felix Hilgert


Professional career after the DFM

After the DFM, I passed my exams in Germany. For my elective traineeship, I was in Canada, albeit in the Anglophone West, in Vancouver. Then I started working in Cologne as a lawyer at Osborne Clarke, where I had already worked during my studies and legal clerkship. There I specialized in IT law, and in particular in advising companies in the software and computer games industry, and finally became a partner in January 2020. In between, I took a year off and worked at a small law firm in Toronto that handles German-Canadian cross-border cases - that was a colorful mix from international child abduction to employment contracts of ice hockey players. However, it was also clear to me afterwards that no family law specialist had been lost on me and that I was already quite at home in tech law. Since last year, I've been running the Osborne Clarke office in San Francisco, which has also changed my previously very traditional day-to-day work as a lawyer. We don't practice U.S. law, but help U.S. companies with all legal aspects of their expansion into Europe and Asia. I now spend only a small part of my time on actual legal advice and much more on project management, relationship management and acquisition. However, after the Corona break, it feels really good to be back giving talks at conferences and networking!  

Connection to the DFM program

A great opportunity to study in a sworn community even at two mass universities, an exciting and guaranteed personality-developing change of perspective, a thoroughly European project. I would do it again anytime.

Influence of the  program on the career development

The degree itself wasn't that important when I started my career, but that was certainly because the firm already knew me well. From an employer's perspective, however, I can say that the DFM is absolutely perceived as a strong asset in the application process. I myself have hired quite a few DFM alumni as WissMits, Refs and Associates over the years. Here and there, the French legal and language skills already help in client work, even though most of my international clients have always been from North America. When communicating internally with our offices in Brussels and Paris, I like to switch to French to stay in practice. But I certainly benefited most from the overall experience of studying abroad. Immersing yourself in another culture, dealing sensitively with cultural differences, looking at legal and other issues from different angles, and getting involved in new environments instead of nursing homesickness are extremely valuable skills in the mobile, agile "future of work" - and the DFM trains them all very well!