Where do students from Erasmus University end up? In this section, graduates talk about their careers and their lives: what have they learned? They also provide tips on what you should and shouldn’t do to plan your career path.
Study: Law (1992-2002)
Current job: One of the partners of the legal firm Libertas Lawyers. The firm combines Verloop’s specialism in environmental criminal law with financial, tax and corporate law, as well as compliance, monitoring and disciplinary jurisdiction. ‘We didn’t want to be forced into the legal straitjacket of other firms, but create our own.’
Career path: After graduating, he continued working in the criminal law department as director of the Erasmus Centre for Penal Studies, the third flow of funds institute. He taught students, as well as judges, public prosecutors and lawyers wanting to update their knowledge. He then spent many years working as a lawyer and was one of the editors of the Jaarboek Compliance and SR Updates.
‘When I put on my gown, I’m conscious of my role during the hearing: getting the best result for my client. That’s never a problem for me, because I’m only defending the accused and not the deed. However reprehensible it may be. I haven’t yet found a case I wasn’t willing to do.”
Conflicts in court
‘I’m always right, but not everyone agrees with me. Even if I totally disagree with the judge’s ruling or the public prosecutor’s opinion, we can always have a chat over a coffee afterwards. There are many judges and prosecutors with whom I can have serious disagreements in court, but get on well with outside.’
‘Addressing the court is what I love best about my profession. That’s why all law students should aim to join the bar – that should be their ultimate goal. The great thing about a hearing is that it’s where all your preparation comes together. I feel a healthy stress and adrenaline when I start arguing my case, because that’s what it all comes down to. Incidentally, I’m not known for being brief. A plea can last hours, because I want to be comprehensive.’
‘Although addressing the court is the highlight of our work, we try very hard to keep clients out of court. My clients are organisations that are accused of fraud or of violating environmental regulations. If, despite all our efforts, it comes to a public hearing, this could damage reputations. Actually my work is paradoxical: I try to prevent what is also the best part.’
Why criminal law?
‘Call me a geek. Criminal law is the most exciting part of jurisprudence, because it’s about people and their emotions. Anyone involved in criminal law is tense, because no one wants to be accused of anything. Unlike other legal fields, where it’s mainly about money: who owes what? My love for criminal law wasn’t immediate. After doing Japanese Studies for two years, I switched to Law, because that was the only course left after I’d dismissed the others.’
‘My sizable student debt to DUO proves that I enjoyed a long student life. I took my time over my studies, because being an active member of student association SSR was just as fun. And equally educational too, because I made plans, carried them out and made new contacts to get things organised. By living independently and doing all kinds of things, I learned to organise my life.’