In 2009, NSU Professor of Law Catherine Arcabascio and Rebecca Spitzmiller, a 1985 NSU Law alumni, gave a presentation at the Università degli Studi di Roma Tre to students there about the international J.D. program offered at NSU Shepard Broad Law Center. Valerio Spinaci, a student at Roma Tre, was inspired by Arcabascio's presentation and decided to postpone his graduation date in order to enroll. The international program would allow him to earn law degrees in both the U.S. and Italy. "Everyone thought I was crazy. I had my Italian thesis prepared and was set to graduate," he explains, "but I had studied abroad previously as a student at Roma Tre, and I was excited about the opportunities that an international program like the one at NSU Law could offer me."
Valerio began his studies at NSU Shepard Broad Law Center that fall. He joined several student organizations and became a member of the Nova Law Review. He worked for Professor Wilets and Kundawala as a Research Assistant. "The relationship with the professors and staff at NSU Law was most impressive to me," Valerio admits, "In Italy, many professors are often busy and inaccessible. At NSU Law, all the professors are so approachable and responsive. They're willing to discuss topics and collaborate with you on projects. It was truly an experience I will never forget."
Valerio graduated from NSU Law summa cum laude. He has passed the Bar exam in Florida, New Jersey, New York, and California. "New York has a huge financial market. California is known for the film industry and the rising technology companies, while Florida's niche is Real Estate. Florida is also a hub with South America. I wanted to take the Bar while the information was still fresh, and I chose those states because of their markets and the Italian communities in each area." Following graduation from NSU Law, Valerio travelled back to Italy and graduated summa cum laude from Università degli Studi di Roma Tre. Italy recognized his U.S. Bar passage and waived the otherwise mandatory 2-year internship period that is required of law students prior to taking the Italian Bar exam.
Having an international dual degree opened doors for Valerio that may have otherwise remained closed. As a result of NSU Law's international program, Valerio is the world's first lawyer to ever be admitted to both the Florida Bar and the Italian Bar. He joined the firm Finizio & Finizio, P.A., in Fort Lauderdale, founded by two NSU Law alumni, Jamie Finizio Bascombe ('93) and Paul Finizio ('83). Valerio's focus is on immigration, litigation and business matters with international outreach, and his multilingual and multicultural background is perfectly suited to handle complex litigation cases and international business transactions. "For me, the international program was truly a life-changing experience. It opened doors to an entire new world of scholars and professionals, and helped me make international connections that I could not have made had I stayed in Italy," says Valerio.