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December 02, 2010

American Exceptionalism: How U.S. Civil Litigation Is Viewed Abroad.

Another problem: the perception abroad of the extraordinary "localism"--generally county-based--of judges and juries in the state systems. Non-U.S. clients are also wary of jurisdictions that still elect state judges.


If you have Europe-based clients, you already know that in-house lawyers across the Atlantic do not like to have their company's commercial disputes heard and decided by American courts (even by our most efficient and respected U.S. district courts). Their reasons, however, turn on more than the obvious and commonly-given ones: lengthy and expensive proceedings, juries hearing civil disputes, and the fear of large damages awards, including punitive damages. Another reason is the perception abroad of the extraordinary "localism" (generally county-based) of judges and juries in the state systems. Still another is the effect that contingency fee arrangements can have on the litigation process. There are more reasons--and every one of them can be troubling to both non-U.S. and American in-house lawyers.

At the podcast series of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR), do not miss the interview by Mike McIlwrath, an in-house lawyer with General Electric in Europe, of Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., now at Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, in "American Exceptionalism: U.S. Civil Justice v. the Rest of the World". The July 17, 2009 interview is No. 75 in CPR's International Dispute Negotiation series. Hearing the Hazard interview is a "non-billable must" for any American business lawyer (in-house or outside firm) acting for clients in more than one jurisdiction, within or outside of the U.S. Hazard is a well-known American law professor and author in the areas of civil procedure and federal jurisdiction. He has also taught law at Boalt, Chicago, Yale, and Penn. McIlwrath is Senior Counsel, Litigation for GE Infrastructure-Oil & Gas, and works out of Florence, Italy.

Geoffrey Hazard

Posted by JD Hull at December 2, 2010 11:59 PM


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