Already an attorney in Argentina and about to complete a master’s degree in international relations at Harvard University, Betania Allo LL.M.’20 was searching for a way to combine law and policy with her interest in cybersecurity and technology. While attending a career fair at the U.S. embassy in her native country, she spoke to Andrew Horsfall L’10, Assistant Dean of International Programs, who told her about the Master of Laws (LL.M.) Program, a two- or three-semester program for foreign lawyers, judges and academics who want to broaden their knowledge of the U.S. legal system. Today, after completing the program, Allo is using her collective professional skills and education at the United Nations, where she is a senior officer, program specialist, at the Office of Counter-Terrorism.
Allo was drawn to Syracuse Law’s Institute for Security Policy and Law, an interdisciplinary collaboration among the College of Law, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and other schools and colleges across the University. At the Institute, students learn from experienced professionals on topics ranging from counterterrorism law and policy, cybersecurity, emerging technology, international humanitarian law, international relations, and more. The program also offers guest lectures, symposia, research seminars and simulation-based experiences, as well as networking opportunities with legal professionals from around the globe. As an LL.M. student, Allo was a graduate research assistant at the Institute.
Determined to make the most of her time at the College of Law, Allo carefully planned out all the courses and activities she wanted to experience before the program even started. One that she hadn’t anticipated, however, was a blockchain course through the School of Information Studies (iSchool) she discovered through Associate Professor Lee McKnight, who was co-teaching Allo’s Cyber Security Law Policy course at the law school.
“I was very eager to gain more technology skills than the average lawyer might have, so I asked if I could audit his blockchain class,” she explained to Lee, who is a member of the iSchool faculty, “He encouraged me to take the class for credit, and it turned out to be one of the most wonderful experiences during my time at Syracuse University. It helped me expand my knowledge of how law, policy, and technology work together.”
“I wanted to learn to speak the same language as innovators and policymakers to address legal voids, human rights challenges, and regulations that come with addressing emerging technologies, and I was able to explore that on many levels while at the College of Law,” she added of her interest in this field.
Following the completion of her LL.M. degree, Allo accepted an opportunity at the United Nations in New York City as a legal intern with the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate. That eventually led to a position as an associate political affairs officer, where she used data-driven political analysis and research to help craft counterterrorism solutions.
Last September, Allo was promoted to her current role of a senior officer, program specialist, at the Office of Counter-Terrorism at the UN, where she continues to integrate her knowledge of law, technology, and policy in areas related to counter-terrorism, human rights, and fundamental freedoms.
Allo acknowledges that most people think that a lawyer only knows about the law, but she is determined to keep discovering new information and broadening her network. To that end, she is currently pursuing a Doctor of Engineering in Cybersecurity from The George Washington University.
Allo hopes her expertise in cybersecurity, policy, and law will open new possibilities within the United Nations and beyond. She also intends to expand her role as a speaker at international conferences on cybersecurity. Allo is determined to continue to leverage her valuable experiences at Syracuse University.
“I believe I really took advantage of so many of the resources from the College of Law and adapted them to fit my specific interests,” she said. “For me, the LL.M. program was a very fulfilling experience.”