Cuatrecasas Foundation awards second Manuel Olivencia Scholarship to Irene Sánchez Frías


Law graduate Irene Sánchez Frías (Universidad de Málaga) to take Master in Intellectual Property and the Law of Information and Communications at UCLo

Cuatrecasas Foundation awards second Manuel Olivencia Scholarship to Irene Sánchez Frías
October 21, 2022
The Cuatrecasas Foundation has awarded the second Manuel Olivencia Scholarship to law graduate Irene Sánchez Frías at an academic event held on Thursday, October 20 at the Picasso Museum in Málaga. In the selection process, the panel assessed the academic records, the soundness and strength of research projects and the personal qualities of all the candidates in this second edition.

Rafael Fontana, senior partner of Cuatrecasas and vice chair of the Cuatrecasas Foundation, opened the ceremony. After thanking Patricia del Pozo, Andalusia’s regional minister of educational development and professional training; Patricia Navarro, government delegate in Andalusia; and Javier Arenas, senator in the Spanish parliament, as well as other reputed experts, Rafael highlighted the importance of the scholarship: “This is a day to mark in our calendar as important, a day for defending young talent and the energy dedicated to a key and necessary practice in the development of our society such as the practice of law.” He also highlighted the panel’s excellent work, its dedication and determination to reach the final selection. “The prosperity of communities and of the welfare state is difficult to understand without a free and independent rule of law, without free and independent judges, and without the participation of free and independent lawyers. That is one of the reasons we like our profession so much,” he added. 

Rafael Hidalgo, counsel at the firm and secretary of the Manuel Olivencia Scholarship panel, explained the reasons for the unanimous decision to award the scholarship to Irene Sánchez Frías. With a Bachelor of Laws (2016-2020) and a Master in Legal Practice (2020-2022) from Universidad de Málaga, Irene has been accepted on the university’s doctorate study program in legal and social sciences, where Dr. Eugenio Olmedo Peralta, associate professor of commercial law and specialist in digital markets will supervise her thesis. Irene obtained 10 distinction grades throughout her studies and received two scholarships for research in private law.

Based on her outstanding academic achievements and excellent analytical skills, Irene received the second Manuel Olivencia Scholarship yesterday; this will enable her to take the Master in Intellectual Property and the Law of Information and Communications Technology at Université catholique de Louvain during 2022-2023. The prize of €60,000—which can be used at any university or higher education institution in the US or in any country in the European Higher Education Area, excluding Spain—will enable the student to complement her research for her thesis covering unfair commercial practices against consumers in digital markets. 

Irene collected the diploma granting her the scholarship and was grateful for the opportunity for her career. She turned to Francisco Ballester, honorary partner at the firm, saying: “When I heard the panel’s decision, it was clear to me that this scholarship is not only for me, but for society; it raised the question that defines you as a person: How could I return to society all that has been given to me? I promise all of you that I will always do my best, dedicating all my effort and love to this beautiful science that is the law.” She ended her speech by referring to Manuel Olivencia: “I did not have the honor to meet him, but I acknowledge his vocation and invaluable dedication to law. It is an honor to receive the scholarship that carries his name as a firm reminder that effort paves the way for a better society.”

With this initiative, started in 2019, the Cuatrecasas Foundation wants to (i) support excellence, research, mobility and professional qualifications; and (ii) encourage and award Andalusian students with the best academic records in the field of business law. It also helps continue the legacy of the distinguished lawyer and academic Manuel Olivencia, who died in 2018.

The panel, made up of independent and recognized Andalusian legal experts and other personalities from the world of business, was chaired by Guillermo Jiménez Sánchez, vice chair emeritus of the Constitutional Court and professor emeritus of commercial law. Honorary chair on the panel was Macarena Olivencia, counsel at Cuatrecasas. 

Patricia del Pozo, Andalusia’s regional minister of educational development and professional training, ended the ceremony by saying: “This ceremony acknowledges excellence, excellence rooted in Andalusian society, commitment, responsibility, generosity and talent. Excellence that teaches us public servants the way. This ceremony reminds us of Manuel Olivencia, and of his clearly unique life, work and spirit; he was a distinguished lecturer and a legal expert with solid principles, an Andalusian person that worked unremittingly for Andalusian prosperity; he was an example of excellence in all its meanings. That is why this scholarship is of so much value.” She also highlighted the importance of initiatives like this one: “First, because it awards effort; second, because it makes us remember the master that Manuel was, always highlighting the value of his legacy to the new generations; and third, because, through the media and social media, it enables society to see an attitude to life.”

October 21, 2022