Fernando Landa '06 (MSRE), '08 (JD)

Ivy League Grad Completes MSRE, J.D. at USD

Fernando Landa '06 (MSRE), '08 (JD) For an Ivy League graduate with two advanced degrees, a law degree and a master's in real estate, Fernando Landa MSRE '06, J.D. '08 is remarkably self-deprecating. After eight years of higher education—four at the University of Pennsylvania, four at USD—the 27-year-old says, "I don't think I'm any more ambitious than any other real estate student." Modesty aside, Landa's graduation marks the first time any student has completed both programs at USD—a remarkable achievement in itself.

For Landa, graduation has been a long time coming. After receiving bachelor's degrees in both political science and history from the University of Pennsylvania, Landa enrolled in law school at USD. After one year in the J.D. program, he focused his studies in real estate by attending the MSRE program full-time, while working part-time and continuing law school in the evenings. Upon completion of the MSRE program, he worked full-time and finished law school at nights. Landa graduated law school at USD this year with concentrations in both real estate and corporate law.

Landa says he believes the blending of the two programs will be an ideal combination for the career he wants to pursue. He found that the MSRE program—highly "practical" and rooted in the industry—complemented the J.D. program, which Landa found to be more theoretical in nature. He hopes the two degrees will allow him to understand both the business and legal sides of real estate. "With real estate being so highly regulated, particularly in California, law was a good background for a real estate education," he says.

Although there was some curriculum overlap, Landa says the two graduate programs were vastly different. The cohort atmosphere of the MSRE program was a marked contrast to the highly competitive culture of the law school.

Landa is currently an associate at Hecht, Solberg, Robinson Goldberg & Bagley LLP, a law firm specializing in real estate. The majority of his clients are developers, a perspective he appreciates after both completing the MSRE program, and growing up in a household of developers.

Landa is specializing in land use and real estate finance law. As of late, he has been spending a large amount of his time researching the legal implications of the recent government bailouts of U.S. financial institutions and helping clients structure and manage workouts. In the future, he hopes to be involved in helping to solve the industry's challenges, including brownfield redevelopment, sustainability and the development of workforce housing.

Alumni Update: Since this profile was written, Fernando Landa was named General Counsel at Trigild Inc. He also now serves on the Burnham-Moores Center's Young Entrepreneurs Council.