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October 08, 2009

"Play it again, Mike": Prof. Hazard on U.S. courts seen abroad.

(from a July 30, 2009 post)

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If you have European 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.

One more 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 several 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 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.

Geoffrey Hazard is a well-known American law professor and author in the areas of civil procedure, federal jurisdiction and ethics. He has also taught law at Boalt, the University of Chicago, Yale, and Penn Law. One of his former students--and his research assistant when Hazard taught at Yale--is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Mike McIlwrath is Senior Counsel, Litigation for GE Infrastructure-Oil & Gas, and works out of Florence, Italy. Last year, the IDN series earned both McIlwrath and New York-based CPR an award for ADR excellence from CEDR, an ADR group in London.

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Geoffrey Hazard

Posted by JD Hull at October 8, 2009 12:47 AM

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