Originally from Bulgaria, Kiril Kalev became interested in IT and intellectual property law after working with a software development firm as part of his professional practice in a law firm.
Here, Kalev talks about why he chose to do the LL.M. in Law and Technology from Tilburg Law School and discusses the emerging challenges and opportunities in this dynamic field of law.
What is your background and why did you choose Tilburg University to do your LL.M.?
After I graduated with a Masters of Law degree in Bulgaria, I have worked for two and a half years in a law firm. As part of my professional practice, I worked with a software development company, where I had to have certain knowledge of IT law and intellectual property law. While working for this company, I developed an interest in these subjects and decided I would like to expand my knowledge.
With some professional experience already gained, I felt that it was just the right moment to do specialized studies. Also, studying abroad was something that I wanted to do for a long time.
The LL.M. program of Tilburg University offers both IT law and intellectual property law in an equal share, so I had no doubt that it was exactly what I was looking for.
I chose the Law and Technology program because it provides some interdisciplinary approach to this field and it also provides me with the opportunity to learn about the regulation of the emerging technologies and the wide range of other related legal issues and challenges. It was the only program I applied for and eventually I was admitted and so: Here I am now!
What is your favorite class and why?
This has to be the course on privacy and data protection! Nowadays, I think that people are increasingly concerned about their privacy and many challenges have still to be addressed. Currently there is an ongoing process of reforming the legislative framework in the field of privacy and data protection on a European Union level. The course provided an up-to-date overview of a really dynamic field of study, which concerns me not only as a lawyer but also as a person who uses the internet on a daily basis.
Could you describe your favorite moment during the academic year?
A few of my classmates and I had to conduct a project that was focused on privacy and data protection issues. It was about the assessment of how a number of health monitoring wearables—those devices that look like watches and measure heartbeat rate, blood pressure and things like that—comply with the legislation of privacy and data protection on a European Union level. Afterwards we had the opportunity to make a presentation of our results in front of an audience, which included many of our lecturers. Speaking in front of all these people was a great honor for me and it felt like one of my biggest academic accomplishments.
What do you think the LL.M. adds to your profile and what are your plans after the LL.M.?
There are a lot of good professional prospects as a law and technology alumnus. IT law is a dynamic and expanding field, and the technological evolution is definitely not likely to slow down anytime soon. The future will present many new challenges and the corresponding legal issues will need proper regulation. So that is why I would like to be a part of this process and contribute to it. I think that not many legal professionals have expertise in this field. That was another reason why I chose this program.
I will try to get some professional experience abroad and then most likely return to Bulgaria and continue my career there, but still I will most definitely implement the knowledge and the experience I've gained here into my future career and I firmly believe that what I am doing here will help me in the future.
What is something about the year that surprised you?
One thing that made a big impression on me was a couple of months ago, when the first snow fell. I noticed that the municipality had first cleaned the bicycle lanes and then the pedestrian lanes! People really appreciate using their bikes to go around here and so do I already. By now I really can't imagine not having a bike here! I really got used to it. So it was really funny when I realized that, when there is snow, people have priority with cycling over walking!