August 2016 Alumni Highlight

Mila RomanoffMila Romanoff ('11), had set the goal to work in the International Affairs field since she first began studying law. In 2008, Mila graduated summa cum laude from the National Academy of Law in Odessa, Ukraine, where she concentrated on International Law, Human Rights, and Intellectual Property. In 2011, Mila graduated from Pace Law with her LL.M. in both Comparative Law and Environmental Law. She was then admitted to the New York State Bar.

"Already being a licensed attorney in Ukraine, I was looking to diversify my knowledge more. Pace provided many interesting opportunities during my time as a student and as a post graduate. I was able to work in multiple areas of law in order to solidify my core attorney skills which helped prepare for a career in international law and policy."

Currently, Mila serves as the Privacy and Legal Officer at Global Pulse - a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General which focuses on accelerating the use of Big Data for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, which she’s been working on since 2012. "Big Data is a powerful fuel of today’s world. Data Privacy and Data Protection law in the ‘Big Data’ and the ‘Internet of Things’ world is a rapidly developing space requiring constant learning, adaptation to present technologies and risks, and multi-stakeholder engagement globally."

In her capacity as a Legal Specialist, she advises and implements mechanisms for public-private data partnerships. Mila currently leads the development and implementation of Global Pulse’s data privacy and data protection strategies and policies, including across the Pulse Labs in Asia, Africa, and at the UN headquarters in New York. She coordinates an international Global Pulse Data Privacy Advisory Group and represents Global Pulse on a number of UN and non-UN working groups on big data and privacy.

Before joining the UN and while still in law school in Ukraine, Mila worked in a variety of roles and organizations which served the public cause. She started at the Odessa Kiyivskiy District Court, and next went on to an externship at the Odessa City Office of Land Resources, and then to the Odessa Regional Department of Justice. Mila also worked in the private sector as a commercial contracting and litigation attorney at New York and Ukrainian law firms. After beginning her enrollment at Pace, she continued her passion in International Law at both the Permanent Mission of the Union of the Comoros to the United Nations, and the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations.

Mila believes that gaining practical experience is the key to success, which is why throughout her school years, she also worked pro bono at Pace legal clinics - gaining litigation skills. In addition to and when she had free time from her regular classes and required study time Mila also worked part-time as a legal assistant at a New York law firm, specializing in contracts and real estate.

She has been a guest speaker at multiple international events and institutions presenting on data privacy and big data ethics globally. These events engaged all sectors and stakeholders in solving the pending issues relating to the establishing of frameworks and policies that enable protection of the right to privacy and the use of Big Data for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Most recently, she presented during the expert meeting on "Safeguarding Rights in the Big Data Revolution" at Wilton Park in the UK, the UN Internet Governance Forum panel on "Big Data for Development: Challenges and Opportunities", hosted in Brazil, the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting of the data protection regulators on Privacy and Disaster Preparedness, organized in Peru, and for the meeting of the Privacy Advisory Group on Big Data for Development "Towards Responsible Governance" at the Peace Palace in the Hague.

Mila is an active member of several legal and privacy associations, such as NYCBA, WBA, NYSBA, and IAPP. As a legal observer and a member of the NYCBA she was selected to join Military Commission proceedings on the issues of attorney-client privilege, confidentiality, data security, and privacy of communications at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay. Mila is also an independent member of the Future of Privacy Forum Advisory Board.

"Pace is a wonderful school where I received not only a high quality education, but also met a lot of interesting people who guided the students throughout the studying process. I think Pace can be distinguished by its atmosphere of mentorship and warm welcome to all of the students who are willing to work hard towards their goals."

If Mila had one piece of advice for those pursuing a law degree, it would be to "[s]eek opportunities for practical experience to apply the theories learned in classes. Work hard and zealously towards pursuing your career passion, no matter the obstacles that life may bring. I embraced the goal to work in international law in high school – since then my career experiences have made me a forward looking thinker and believer; it introduced me to many inspirational people along the way with whom I have been fortunate to work with both previously and currently. I look forward to continuing to contribute towards stronger law and policy as part of my professional growth."