Puerto Rican alum finds extension of home at St. Mary’s Law

August 01, 2023

Marianist roots in Puerto Rico

by Leticia Romero

Puerto Rico, known for its vibrant culture and history, decadent cuisine, and majestic beaches and mountains, is a tourist destination for some. But for Carlos Chévere-Lugo, J.D. (LL.M. ’17, LL.M. ’18), the U.S. territory is home.

Carlos Chévere-Lugo, J.D. (LL.M. ’17, LL.M. ’18) seen in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Carlos Chévere-Lugo, J.D. (LL.M. ’17, LL.M. ’18) seen in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

As a teenager, Chévere-Lugo graduated from Colegío San José, a Marianist high school in San Juan. The teachings made such an impact on him that he sought further Catholic institutions.

After earning his law degree from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico, he applied to the St. Mary’s University School of Law’s LL.M. program. He was thrilled to learn that it was both a Catholic and Marianist University.

“It was the best decision I ever made because St. Mary’s Law was like an extension of my family, far, far away,” Chévere-Lugo said. “These Catholic and Marianist values have been taught in my family, so it’s very easy to relate.”

Territorial law

Chévere-Lugo reflected fondly on living in San Antonio for the two years it took him to complete two LL.M. programs — in American Legal Studies and International Criminal Law.

The LL.M. program at St. Mary’s consists of 24 credit hours that can be completed on-campus, fully online, or through a combination of courses and in-person externships.

A newly launched Territorial Law concentration educates those who intend to or currently practice law in the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa. Additionally, St. Mary’s offers a Master of Jurisprudence, or M.Jur., for nonlawyers with a new Territorial Law concentration.

“I’m so grateful because we have an opportunity to create a consciousness not only about the territory of Puerto Rico, but also about the other territories in the nation,” Chévere-Lugo said.

Building bridges

With a law practice in Puerto Rico, Chévere-Lugo mostly creates corporate and labor regulation manuals for clients. Chévere-Lugo aspires to teach and works with other attorneys in the Bar Association of Puerto Rico to facilitate community awareness and an understanding of basic inherent human rights, such as the right to adequate housing.

He has continued to help St. Mary’s build bridges in the territory. In March, Chévere-Lugo hosted St. Mary’s Law Dean Patricia Roberts, J.D., and Assistant Dean of International Programs Jen Stevenson, J.D., in Puerto Rico for a brainstorming collaboration with Puerto Rican universities, other law school deans and the Puerto Rico Bar Association.

“It was the best decision I ever made because St. Mary’s Law was like an extension of my family, far, far away.”

Carlos Chévere-Lugo, J.D. (LL.M. ’17, LL.M. ’18)

St. Mary’s Visiting Assistant Professor of Law Sigrid Vendrell-Polanco, J.D., a Puerto Rico native, also joined Chévere-Lugo at the Law & Society Association Annual Meeting in San Juan in June. Together, they continue to promote the St. Mary’s Law LL.M. program’s Territorial Law concentration and find other points of collaboration.

“We’re hoping to explore everything worth exploring in territorial law, continue to bring awareness to the issues that arise in territorial law and bring it more into the law school curriculum,” Vendrell-Polanco said.   

Back to top