Friday, November 21, 2008

Globalization of Law Practice - V

Posted by Jeff Lipshaw

The next panel is on Lawyer Qualification and Professional Responsibility in the Global Setting.

U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns (D. Mass.) is speaking, and talking about the fact that he carries a diplomatic passport.  Russia had a pre-Revolution jury system based on the English system, abolished by Lenin in 1917, and reconstituted in the 1991 constitution.  He was involved in helping the Russian Federation with that effort.

He's also been involved with the international regimes for border security and WMD, using traditional judicial institutions.  Everything changed with 9/11.  Impulses to reject any international regime, spurred on recent economic problems - rise of nationalism and protectionism.

What does this have to do with lawyer regulation?  The question is whether the international legal regime will survive at all.      

[UPDATE:  All Jeff's posts on live-blogged sessions are collected and linked at a final post. This later-session post continues after the jump.]

Now Prof. Catherine Rogers of Penn State Dickinson School of Law, who is going to talk about the global advocate, as opposed to all lawyers.  (JML:  oh my, the first time in a while I can remember the main focus being on transactional lawyers, and somebody having to take the discussion back to lawyers who litigate!)

One problem is blocking statutes.  For example, it is illegal in France to undertake some aspects of the service of process, or to interview witnesses, but our domestic procedures permit it; nevertheless, our own rules don't permit that which prohibited by local law.  I've experienced this conflict.  In the EU, it's illegal to comply with a US-authorized trade embargo.  So there's a bizarre "don't ask, don't tell" with respect to sales by an EU subsidiary to Iran, for example.  The US parent cannot stop the EU sub or its EU national employees from doing it.  So, for example, if the Iranian or North Korean customer breaches its contract and the local EU employee wants legal advice from the US general counsel's office, the US general counsel says "YOYO" (see above:  "you're on your own.")  But, of course, nothing stops the US parent from dinging the subsidiary employees' bonuses because they failed to hit their financial targets as a result of the botched sale to Iran.

Prof. Rogers:  we need a rule for global advocates that don't put them in this bind.Images

Now Stephen Denyer, a (the?) international development partner at Allen & Overy. In business lingo, this means he's in charge of expanding the international business.  First, he says, anybody using the "magic circle" phrase for the London City firms is out of date.  Four of the city firms, Linklaters, A&O, Freshfields, and Clifford Chance are truly international firms.  Others are still "national champion" firms in England.  (Denyer looks a lot like Simon Callow, who played the fellow who was the subject of the funeral in Four Weddings and a Funeral - see right.)

Second, A&O found that there's a split between GCs who want one stop shop and those who do not.  There isn't really a battle of the models. 

Third, UK legal education is usually still taught as it was in the 70s - directed to traditional one to one, face to face consultative advisers who specialize in individual jurisdictions, versus more flexible team-based professionals able to transcend legal boundaries, use advanced systems, disruptive technologies, project management.

Fourth, the link between firms and law schools in UK is attenuated.

Fifth, English legislation will allow private equity investment in law firms.  That will change things.

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Great job, Jeff, thanks.

Posted by: Alan Childress | Nov 21, 2008 6:37:59 PM

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