December 12, 2007
Citigroup: Pandit new CEO, Bischoff new chairman
Citigroup Names Pandit CEO to Clean Up Subprime Mess
Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) - Citigroup Inc. named former Morgan Stanley President Vikram Pandit as chief executive officer, ending a monthlong search after Charles O. Prince stepped down amid at least $9 billion of mortgage losses. [more]
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin engineered the regime change.
December 11, 2007
Wild Bill menaced by non-GOP robot.
'Robot' heckles Bill Clinton (MSNBC).
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is Argentina's new president.
Argentina's Fernandez Succeeds Husband As President
Buenos Aires, Dec. 10 (Reuters) - Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took office as Argentina's first elected female president on Monday in a rare husband-to-wife handover Argentines hope will sustain an historic economic boom.
Fernandez, a former first lady and senator, began a 4-year term promising to continue the policies of her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner, who presided over a dramatic recovery in South America's second-biggest economy. [more]
December 10, 2007
GeekLawyer: American attorneys are "revolting".
But it's an ex-New York Governor Mario Cuomo solidarity-with-Pakistan-lawyers-so-why-not-against-George Bush thing, and we can't get a copy of the speech or a report from a non-blog news source. A couple of weeks back, Cuomo allegedly said: "If US lawyers are marching in the streets in support of the rule of law in Pakistan [referring to a NYC protest], why aren't we marching in support of the rule of law here?" Upcoming (June 30, 2008) Blawg Review host GeekLawyer, a feisty London barrister with that rare lawyer mix of guts and credentials, actually loves Yanks, mainly, sort of. Anyway, see "American Lawyers Are Revolting".
EU-Africa trade summit in Lisbon ends badly, bitterly.
Mugabe Rallies Africa Against Europe As talks End In Disarray
LISBON - Africa and Europe's first summit in seven years ended in disarray yesterday, with no agreement on the key issue of trade and a defiant Robert Mugabe telling Africa to "fight the arrogance" of European countries opposed to his regime in Zimbabwe.
The two-day summit in Lisbon did agree an action plan and a promise to meet again in 2010, but the world's largest trading bloc and its poorest continent remained bitterly divided over how to replace current economic agreements. [more]
November 25, 2007
Helmut Schmidt: Russia less dangerous than the US.
Helmut Schmidt, the former German chancellor (1974-82) and U.S. arms ally against the former Soviet Union in Cold War days, raised eyebrows with this one. Many Germans and Europeans still listen to and respect the 78-year-old statesman turned newspaper executive. See "How Dangerous Is America?" by Gabor Steingart, a DC-based reporter for Der Spiegel, the influential German weekly magazine.
November 23, 2007
Mother Of All Blogs resumes posts; conducts study, God willing.
Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has apologized for not posting enough on his blog. The reason for the inactivity? Some of the "long" messages (i.e., comments and e-mails) he receives concerning his blog need to be studied and shortened for him. Eventually, all messages will be analyzed and synthesized in a report (one with stats, he says). "God willing, a portion of the overall analysis of the messages and its
interesting results will be posted on the blog in the future." Three of the shorter comments up on his blog which may or may not merit analysis are:
I hate you. you are retarted. that simple mentally. retarted --'John Jacobs', US
You are a terrible, despicable human being. You WILL be attacked by the US or Israel and will be destroyed! --'Your Gone' a/k/a 'bob', UK
nice blog, but you should be posting more often -- 'John Walker', Germany
November 21, 2007
Does America lack capacity for entanglements abroad?
That question keeps coming up. The young Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville thought 170 years ago that the answer is yes. He wrote that America by nature was an isolationist creature. For a more recent take, see today's post by Joerg Wolf, a German Fulbright alumni, in the Atlantic Review. Wolf comments on a recent WSJ op-ed piece by DC lawyer David Rivkin, "Diplomacy in the Post-9/11 Era". Both are excellent. If your firm works abroad--or will be--read them.
November 19, 2007
Pakistan's lawyers, Musharraf and emergency rule.
How can you walk into a courtroom and address a judge as 'My lord' if he has taken an oath to a dictator? --Asad Abbasi, Islamabad lawyer
The Washington Post's Pam Constable writes about how lawyers in Pakistan wage a campaign against President Pervez Musharraf by boycotting courts.
November 17, 2007
Our Wunderkind in Berlin
Being a Very-Minor-Almost-Imperceptible-Celebrity, I sometimes get to hang out with Very-Major-Totally-Obvious-Celebrities...
Chris Abraham, in a post at Because the Medium is the Message
Learn a lot, grow a lot, get famous and make money. You have our permission. As long as you "serve somebody", like the man from Hibbing said, it's your world. To keep level, read T.S. Eliot, some Flaubert and maybe The Upanishads. But watch a little, too.
Watch this guy: WAC?'s talented DC friend and IT mentor Chris Abraham of internet experts Abraham & Harrison kept his old life in America and just started a new one in Berlin, Germany. Chris is a rising star in public relations blogging, new marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). He amazes me. Chris, well under 40, is no geek,
and someone should run him for office the minute he turns too rich. The last time I saw Chris, a couple of months ago in Monterey, California, he introduced me to another way-talented fellow from NYC we should all watch named Jonathan Swerdloff. And then Chris just happened to invite me to dinner along with a former Fortune 100 company GC-turned-CEO an entire generation older (okay, my age) who I had been wanting to get together with for four (4) years.* Chris is creative, smart, marketing oriented--and charming. You can follow Chris in Berlin at this blog or his other blog. Watch him.
*This annoyed me. WAC? has uber-thick skin. But Chris is better at my job than I am--and he doesn't even have my job.
November 15, 2007
Checking in with Charon QC
The urbane and refreshing Londoner Charon QC is in top form. See "Europhile Top Shelf…and Downing Street Matters" and his Saturday review of last week's news and UK blog posts. On January 7, CQC hosts Blawg Review, which will never be the same. Some lawyers are international lawyers. Charon is that, and much more: he's a lawyer and an international kind of guy. He would rather choke to death than just talk or write about The Law. We Yank working stiffs stand in awe.
November 14, 2007
Paris, Marrakesh, and Not-Law
No matter how hard we try, we can't stay away from Paris Parfait, where an American writer in Paris muses about art, antiques, poetry and politics. Or from My Marrakesh, where a "Moroccan blog girl-next-door" and her bemused American family build a guest house.
November 13, 2007
Lowland Libertarian lawyer.
"As a lowland Scot, I am as alien to Gaelic culture as I am to the ways of the inuit." Thus speaks the anonymous writer of Musings of a Reactionary Snob. He's a lawyer and Libertarian who lives in Edinburgh. He doesn't want his taxes funding Gaelic broadcasting--through the Gaelic Media Service--yet he personally supports the culture and language of Gaelic. He's got a point. See his post "Gaelic". Colorful and good writing.
November 10, 2007
A little CPR on the Spanish Steps: new program on cross-border disputes.
Thanks to Diane Levin for pointing out to us "International Dispute Negotiation"--a new podcast program presented by the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR). Not boring. Lively, with a short jazz violin opening and then intro by a woman with an interesting voice, the IDN program presents examples of the ways companies and professionals from different countries and cultures approach dispute resolution. It is hosted by General Electric's Michael McIlwrath, Senior Counsel, Litigation for GE Infrastructure--Oil & Gas, in Florence, Italy. The introductory interview, from the Spanish Steps at the Piazza di Spagna in Rome, is with CPR Senior Vice President F. Peter Phillips. And hear the more recent McIlwrath IDN interview with Brazilian lawyer Antonio Tavares on dispute resolution in Brazil.
November 08, 2007
Getting it right: UK firms with double digit revenue growth
Do "UK law firms have a more sophisticated approach to strategy than North American firms"? See this post at The Adventure of Strategy, a consistently fine site by business strategist Rob Millard, a partner at Edge International.
November 07, 2007
Legal Talk Network: The SoCal fires
There's an interesting interview of three San Diego lawyers on the recent southern California fires right here at the October 31 edition of the LegalTalkNetwork's "Lawyer2Lawyer" radio show. It's hosted by Law.com bloggers J. Craig Williams in Los Angeles and Bob Ambrogi in Boston. WAC?'s Dan Hull is one of the lawyers interviewed.
November 06, 2007
Merrill Lynch's bad week.
Make that a tough month for Merrill Lynch, the U.S. brokerage founded in 1914. First, record losses and stock plunge, and CEO replacement. Now the SEC investigation on off-balance-sheet deals to obscure risky mortage debt (AP), the forced exit of the chief of ML's consulting services arm (Jacksonville Business Journal), and the exit of a municipal pension fund from the ML portfolio (Global Pensions).
CNN's Nancy Grace gives birth.
A Truly Blessed Event. Twins--a boy and a girl, according to AP. Forty-nine year old mother and babies are doing fine, CNN rep says. Which is of course good. But this is very, very suspicious to WAC? How could this happen? Who saw it? Why weren't we briefed about this earlier? Who drove to the hospital? Who was at the scene first? Did someone secure the area? Sounds like the old run-around to us.
November 05, 2007
Melbourne muscle boutique launches new IP blog.
The talented but "unstuffy" Melbourne-based commercial law firm of Nicholas Weston just launched Australian Trade Marks Law Blog. This is a promising new site. See "Madrid Update", which is both a status report and primer on the longstanding Madrid system of international trade mark registration, administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
November 03, 2007
Saturday's Charon: Lawyers dull? Say what?
Well, WAC? thinks lawyers are exciting. If you've never "partied" with American corporate tax lawyers drunk on Jesuit educations and a few Blue Nun spritzers, you don't know the meaning of bohemian and decadent. But for really edgy excitement, see re: "reality TV lawyering" Charon QC's post "Lawyers simply too dull to be on TV shock!…". Apparently, an executive producer of Legal TV in England canceled the show Lawyers Save the World because "the lawyers were not able
to rise to the occasion and save London [from floods]…some of them were listless and not bothered that London was drowning." Click here to find the clip from the ill-fated show and watch and hear a pretty young half-asleep English female solicitor born circa 1980 say the words: "Remember the Dunkirk spirit..."
October 31, 2007
New York or London: Who's the man?
Blawg Review goes global.
Blawg Review is the popular and clever showcase of each week's best law blog posts. It's edited by a person known as "Ed.", who only a few lawyers have even seen in the flesh. It is just 30 months old. And in recent months, BR has become increasingly international, with blawger hosts from England, Ireland, Canada, Asia and Down Under, and featured posts from everywhere. The trend continues and accelerates in the next months. Due in part to Ed.'s superior technology skills, Blawg Review will procure what WAC? in its two years could never procure, a French blawg in English. We are not worthy.
January 7 - Charon QC (UK)
May 19 - Ruthie's Law (UK)
May 26 - Moral Dilemma (Australia)
Jun 2 - China Law Blog (China)
Jun 16 - cearta.ie (Ireland)
Jun 23 - French-Law.Net (France)
Jun 30 - GeekLawyer (UK)(X-rated)
If you forgot the candy, turn off the lights and lie on the floor.
Today is Halloween--also called "Pooky Night" in some parts of Ireland. It's really just a faint shadow of an ancient seasonal celebration of the awesome mysteries of the cosmos: death, renewal, Clarence Thomas. In fact, this entire week offers very old harvest and life-death cycle observances with Pagan, Celtic, Roman and even Christian variations. While some cultures commune a bit more seriously with the spirit world this week, U.S. kids of course love it for its costumes and candy. But for WAC?, it's just Fall.
So let's give it up for my man John Keats (1795-1821) and his poem
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom‑friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch‑eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er‑brimmed their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on the granary floor,
Thy hair soft‑lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or, on a half‑reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider‑press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too—
While barréd clouds bloom the soft‑dying day,
And touch the stubble‑plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full‑grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge‑crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden‑croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
September 19, 1819
October 30, 2007
Merrill Lynch CEO O'Neal steps down.
The AP reports that Stan O'Neal will retire. Merrill Lynch has announced $2.2 billion in losses, due largely to the expansion of its portfolio in mortgaged-backed securities tied to the failing sub-prime market. ML's mortgage investments lost $7.9 billion in value during the third quarter. Earlier this year, investment banks that finance the mortgage industry pulled much of their money out.
Rancho Bernardo: The fire this time.
After fifteen days away, I returned to San Diego on Saturday. The whole town, starting inside of the airport terminal, smelled like a campfire, and parts of town still do. My car at the airport parking lot was sprinkled with a brownish ash. I then get home. Mainly, it's what I imagined: random ash deposits every few feet on sidewalks and patios, ashes even in places inside my house, bad visibility, bad brownish air (after a few hours you get a headache, and I still have one), the western and northern edges of Rancho Bernardo thoroughly and "expertly" scorched off some main roads right to the curb, destroyed or partly-destroyed homes, a few police barriers still up, an odd patch work of burned-out areas, and bald reddish mountain sides.
Some people are wearing masks. But most people were and are acting as if nothing happened. I did not expect to see evidence of the demon winds which fanned the fires here; there are unburned branches, pinecones and pine needles everywhere, and they need to be cleaned up. The rich and not so rich in this community of 45,000 lost over 350 homes--some of the "homeless" were picking up mail Saturday at the post office when I got my held mail. Rancho Bernardo will recover, and re-build, of course. But people here will never be the same. RB is populated by a strong, proud and orderly lot, many from conservative regions of Midwestern states, who don't like surprises, ever--from either humans or nature. It is, in an odd way, the End of the Perfection in a model community which over the past 25 years has enjoyed peace, quiet and nothing weird at all. The biggest problem at the moment is air quality. See from the AP "Poor Air From Wildfires A Health Threat".
October 26, 2007
"Helluva job, Holden."
Yesterday, they let people back into my neighborhood of Bernardo Heights in "upscale" Rancho Bernardo. Our own mask-clad and normally patrician Holden Oliver was kind to get his hands dirty last night by helping to return my rescued animals (including my demented cat J.D.) to the house and by cleaning up some of the soot in the rooms where windows had been cracked. Holden's no man of the people. And, while athletic, he generally shuns menial labor and the outdoors. He once told Julie McGuire that his idea of camping is "when room service at the Hay-Adams is late". But he loves hanging around Republicans--and this
week RB has even more serious "R"s than usual, a lot of them wandering around outside in RB. Holden had been working up north when the fires became unruly. Even that work stopped for a while. So he goes to San Diego, which many people are still avoiding or trying to escape. Maybe he wants to change the Constitution, and then run Arnold for something different, and national, in 2012.
Holden can adopt an observer's role in all this and even blog about it--but I can't. I live there. Someone called earlier today and said that they were finding charred bodies and skeletons at some of the burned RB house sites, and that the electricity in RB just went out. I don't even know whether this stuff is true; I have been busy on the other end of America, and I haven't watched or read much news. I'll do my own tour and assessment tomorrow when I return to RB. Not really sure what to expect. I'm a Midwest-East Coast boy. I am relatively new to SoCal, to the fires, earthquakes, bobcats, coyotes and strange reptiles, to the inland mountain wilderness that surrounds my house, to secretaries and receptionists who forget to come in on their first day on the job, to UCLA Law grads who think that 8 to 6 is a "really heinously brutal day, partner-dude". When people here talk about "energy consultants", they may not be referring to experts in fossil fuels, coal, oil or natural gas.
On every front, California has always been the World Headquarters of Surprise--good, bad, useful and lame.
Updated at 12:15 EST.
October 24, 2007
California burning: "If your fax machine rings, your house is still there".
The good news: the young San Diego councilman I've known since his pup stage just released a sad and bone-chilling list of homes that have burned down in my evacuated neighborhood--and my house is not on it, they tell me. Bad news: I am not even in San Diego, and despite my normal thick-skinned "it's-just-real-life-happening" take on these kinds of events, not being there makes it even worse. Somehow, I feel guilty, and for no reason. The last thing I--or anyone else who lives in Southern California--needed was this.
This time the SoCal fires are worse than the ones in late 2003, when on a trip to London, I literally had to drive between rural mountain ridges on fire along Del Dios highway the night before my plane left just so I could stay in a hotel to get to the airport on time--usually a 20 minute drive. It was a bit like being in the escaping-burning-Atlanta scene of Gone With The Wind, except much longer burning and with lower but hotter flames.
When I am not traveling, I "live", as it were, in staid Rancho Bernardo, a quiet conservative suburb of San Diego. For years I was on the Planning Board there, and now I am somehow glad I'm not. I've been away from California--very far away--for the last 10 days, since the 13th. Was supposed to go back to SD this Saturday, the 27th, just in time for a presidential candidate fund-raising barbecue in La Jolla, of all things. I am sure it's been canceled. This past Monday morning, I learned, oddly, from a BBC report that my Bernardo Heights neighborhood was evacuated, which is a strange feeling. Later Monday, I learned no one could go downtown into work.
Anyway, all living things got out of my house via help from neighbors. No one except me and a bunch of animals, including my cat J.D., live at the house (my lawyer ex-wife "evacuated" years ago from my house on East Capitol Street in DC). With no one around in RB who really knows what has been going on, and before the officials released the list, how do I know what's going on? Answer: The same thing I did in 2003 when I was in London and Kent--every two hours I call my home fax machine (001-858-613-XXXX); if it makes the high-pitched fax noise, my house is still there. I love that sound now.
More later, if needed and I can--but I am going to an airport. Trying to work here. But my friend and blogfather, Chicago trial lawyer Patrick Lamb, urged me this morning to find the time to blog about it no matter how "busy" I am, even though I am far away from California. You're right, as usual, Pat.
October 23, 2007
Brussels: Microsoft won't appeal EU antitrust ruling.
But just the facts, please, ma'am. Apparently, not everyone "loves a winner"--and Microsoft is a case in point. In this EU antitrust development and important but possibly short-term setback for MS, it's amazing how many different slants and headlines there are in 50 or so news reports: everything from the gloating/kiss-off-and-die Financial Times via MSNBC: "Microsoft Concedes Defeat in EU Battle") to the mildly complimentary/obsequious (AP via Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: "Microsoft to Comply with Europe").
Most leads and headlines are anti-Microsoft. "Blinks", "bows", "suffered decisive defeat" and "bytes the dust" are popular in these. The British press (MS "finally admitted defeat in its nine-year battle with the European Commission...") is especially brutal. We expect soon to see from the Financial Times: "Despondent Microsoft Has Nervous Breakdown; Jumps Into Elliott Bay To Live With Alien Sea Creatures." So far the Wall Street Journal's version is the most factual and fair:
Microsoft Yields in EU Antitrust Battle
BRUSSELS -- Microsoft Corp.'s decision to drop its nine-year fight with European regulators could signal tougher regulation ahead for big, global technology companies operating in Europe.
The defeat also means Microsoft will need to tread carefully in Europe when it bundles products or features into its core operating system and will need to welcome competitors with fairly open arms if they come calling for ways to make their software work better with Microsoft's Windows operating system. [more]
Can't a world-changer and U.S. success story like MS get a break?
IBA in Singapore: $7.50 Pepsis, "groupies", way too many dudes.
But otherwise, as always, a great event, and with the tone of a British-style Hell's Angels Labor Day picnic. Pulling no punches, Brendon Carr of Korea Law Blog, now back in "humdrum Seoul", gives his report of the week-long proceedings. WAC? is beginning to like this guy. A lot.
When in Rome, do as many Romans as you possibly can.
Rome. I don't like working here--charitably put, work-life balance is totally out of balance in some regions of Italy--but I love being in Rome. You can play all day long in and around the The Forum and Palatine Hill, where antiquities are still being found. You can stroll the City. There's this guy with a shop at the Piazza Navona--2000 years ago the Piazza was a Roman circus (i.e., track) you can still see if you try--who sells me these unique old prints, beautifully framed, that I bought for my father in Cincinnati and my alleged girlfriend in LA. I go to that shop on every trip. The Tiber River is gorgeous and, like the Seine in Paris, steeped in history, and a bit melancholy and mysterious.
Lots happened here, folks, and it's as if the rivers can remember it all.
Many of the West's great ideas and institutions, including what became English law, were conceived or preserved by Rome. And the obvious comparison with the U.S. is exciting: the Romans were competent if grandiose empire builders who got most of their better instincts and best artistic traditions from a very different land (the U.S. got theirs from Europe; old Rome's debt was to Greece).
But you can't see, experience and "do" Rome on one trip--same thing with New York, London or Paris--and you shouldn't try. Here's what happens when you do. See at The Exploration of Undiscovered Worlds--Or Just Europe and Myself this recent post "Rome" by an anonymous traveler who otherwise seems to know what he/she is doing and just visited Rome and then Paris back-to-back. My advice: Learn a little more about Rome first, dude/babe, and then "live in it", taking small bites. And, hey, at least you liked "Paris", which you even enjoyed during the strike last week.
October 20, 2007
Brit bloggers meeting, drinking, conspiring and possibly mating.
Charon QC reports that GeekLawyer and Ruthie each host parties for bloggers in London on Monday, October 22. Venues, respectively, are The Harp off Trafalgar Square and the posh Cafe Royal in Piccadilly. WAC? votes for GeekLawyer's The Harp: cheaper beer. Blogging by lawyers and non-lawyers alike all over the world is now thought to have benefits no one anticipated.
9 New Irish Blogs
Many thanks to Daithí Mac Síthigh, recent Blawg Review host, and his Lex Ferenda for supplying WAC? and everyone with 9 new Irish blogs and blawgs to add to the Directory of Non-U.S. Blogs on your lower left.
Pres. Sarkozy's Really Bad Week, Part II: Cecilia Sarkozy
Courtesy of the vigilant and hovering Editor of Blawg Review, who ever that guy is, see this NYT piece of yesterday: Cecilia Sarkozy Speaks Out on Marriage, the one she apparently has decided to end. On the bright side, many of us do some of our best work after wives and girlfriends evacuate. Lonely workaholic WAC? feels a powerful solidarity with President Sarkozy, wishes him the best, and reminds him that this is nothing that a little bourbon and soda won't fix.
October 18, 2007
Aye, some serious booty there, matey.
October 15, 2007
Three Americans win Nobel prize in economics
(AP) STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Americans Leonid Hurwicz, Eric S. Maskin and Roger B. Myerson won the Nobel economics prize Monday for developing a theory that helps explain how sellers and buyers can maximize their gains from a transaction.
And Russian-born Hurwicz, of the University of Minnesota, is 90 years old.
Pompus, self-absorbed, driven and necessarily inefficient, the District of Columbia is not every American's favorite town. But it's my favorite, hands down. How many cities in the U.S. have this much energy, beauty, diversity, talent and so many people who affirmatively choose (i.e., they wanted it, are not there by default) to live and work here?
October 14, 2007
International Bar Association annual meeting starts today in Singapore.
The IBA, based in London, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. The 2007 annual meeting is in Singapore, starts today and ends on October 19. Although I am not going this year, I've attended IBA meetings in the past--and there is nothing quite like them. And I will not miss the 2008 meeting next year in cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, Argentina. To give you an idea, the Programme this year, over 100 pages, is here. Topics include cross-border environmental issues, international arbitration, the IT industry and IP globally, telecom, corruption, goods counterfeiting, maritime law, outer space law, international transactions, Islamic finance,
art, heritage and cultural institutions law, mineral rights, and legal systems in developing countries, to name some. In addition to the discussions, which are well-planned and often in panel or flexible talk-show formats, the IBA has nearly 50 sub-committees. The many dinners and parties given each evening are fascinating. In my view, the IBA caters primarily to firms which represent corporate interests, which is why we've stayed on as members. If you are a business lawyer who works internationally, and you like different kinds of humans, it's a must to go to an annual IBA meeting once every two or three years.
October 13, 2007
Brendon Carr's Korea Law Blog
American Brendon Carr, based in Seoul, publishes Korea Law Blog, clearly a "blog to watch." See "Popular Korean Concept of Corporate Governance Rules", and the discussion of Korean chaebols, or conglomerates. This week Brendon attends the annual IBA meeting, held in Singapore this year. He notes:
As a US lawyer working in Korea, I am a huge fan of the International Bar Association as a networking and social event. I enthusiastically recommend this event to any young lawyer, or in-house counsel, wanting to build a wide-ranging, international network of colleagues and friends. Truly a top-quality bunch of people attend this conference.
Updated: 10/14/07 4 PM EST
October 12, 2007
The Environment: Tennessee boy makes good.
Al Gore wins Nobel Peace Prize (MSNBC) for climate change work. Congrats. But, dude, don't run for president. You're not the type...WAC? thinks that, like George McGovern before him, Gore, who we admire greatly, has somehow become the "Willy Loman of the Left", to borrow a phrase from an old friend. Like Willy, Gore has a sense of entitlement, and he is liked--but not well-liked. Even the deluded Loman, created by playwright Arthur Miller, had fire in his belly. Prince Albert just doesn't.
October 10, 2007
Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: and the winner is...Dylan Thomas.
Outdated draconian French racing rules almost cost the remarkably durable Dylan Thomas his victory in yesterday's Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe, as stewards spent an age examining all angles of a piece of interference involving the winner in the home straight on video before eventually letting the result stand.
All manner of Europe's gentry and royalty shows up for Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Quite a party and gathering of peacocks--a great place for WAC? to do a little client development, sort of. And at Tara Bradford's Paris Parfait, see hats and more hats. Makes you forget about Rule 37 and want to get on a plane.
When will China invade Taiwan?
October 07, 2007
In Lisbon still? Meetings over? Dude, work much?
Welshonce Watch: Our Tom Welshonce has all the luck. I'm in San Luis Obispo again--and he's here in Portugal with the Salzburg-based IBLC. Last night I got a call from Hanjo of Bonn, Paul of Caridiff, Wales, and other solicitors from a prominent UK firm--all deadly serious lawyers,
usually--and Tom on my special "bat phone" I use abroad. I gave it to Tom three weeks ago when I was in Pennsylvania. It was 1:30 AM Sunday in Lisbon, and these gents were either attending late night services or conducting an experiment of some kind in the Alfama district's "cultural sector". The Welsh guys were speaking in tongues--Druid-sounding stuff, I think. Go Lisbon.
October 06, 2007
London on Saturdays: GeekLawyer gets drunk, breaks bad; Charon QC has spot of lunch, takes in rugby. But both blog...
Apart from trading ideas and news, blogging affords lawyers a forum to vent and be creative. Certainly, there are lots of frustrated novelists, poets, playwrights and would-be statesmen and pundits among us lawyers. Lots of American lawyers have unfinished drafts of novels and epic poems, or "action" memos outlining our pipe-dream 1998 congressional races, in our desk drawers.
So it's damn hard to take a degree in English Literature, American Studies or Philosophy from, say, Brandeis, Haverford or Stanford--and then some 25 years later find yourself spending all day defending Mutual of Toledo's insureds for $185/hour in a caseload that presents about 10 total (tops) different car accident or dog bite patterns. And
then there's your wife and kids. Over the years Trixie's gotten pretty mean, and beefed up a bit--almost big enough to have her own zip code--and your eldest son has a resume that already reads like a police blotter. Your teenage daughter hates everything, and named her bong after you. The family dog smells real bad. More often than you should be, you're hatin' life.
Blawgging can help. Blawgs let off steam. Blawgs keep some of us from suddenly blowing a tube one grey Wednesday morning at 8:15 and running with a chain-saw from office to office on the 48th floor of the US Steel Building. Saturday in London: see what GeekLawyer and Charon QC, two driven, creative guys, do on weekends to unwind. On both sides of the Atlantic, we all react to the pressures of lawyering in different ways.
China's environmental law policy: two standards of enforcement?
October 03, 2007
Update: Anne Frank's Chestnut Tree
The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is a moving experience. We've posted before on news of the prognosis for the 150 year old chestnut tree outside the house that she could see every day through an attic window and wrote about in her famous diary. For some, the troubled tree is a symbol of freedom and others even a reminder that children need to go outside and play. Here is an update (AP): "Anne Frank’s Chestnut Tree is Granted a Reprieve". You can see the tree as it
October 01, 2007
This week's Blawg Review is from Ireland.
Trinity College in Dublin, the School of Law, to be exact, where it's a beautiful day. Blawg Review #128 is hosted by WAC?'s Gaelic cousin Daithí Mac Síthigh at Lex Ferenda. Classy, thoughtful and first Irish-hosted BR. And very well-received. But can someone let London's GeekLawyer host soon--before he hurts someone?
Is Bill Clinton a brand?
Yes, and an increasingly compelling one, according to treatments in both October's The Atlantic and this week's The Economist. With some help from talented Ira Magaziner, a former Clinton White House aide and wonk's wonk, WJC is changing philanthropy to change the world. This also explains why Bill Clinton has still not responded to our help-wanted ad we ran in 2006 to ensnare him as of counsel so he could market for Hull McGuire in the eastern U.S. and western Europe. The Bubba's been busy. But, Bill, our offer still stands.
September 28, 2007
Global corruption--and the winner is?
September 27, 2007
McGermany: Got Americanization?
September 25, 2007
London law merger market: so what's the problem, U.S. firms?
And will you know what to do once you get there? London-based Legal Week, armed with a survey, reports that "US firms target UK mergers as battle for London hots up". WAC? still sees London-U.S. law merger market "movement" as slow and reluctant because it takes cautionary lessons, for example, from some unprofitable and often ill-conceived attempts by U.S. firms to become players in Russia twenty years ago and China a decade later. Now, for once, lawyer risk-aversion is an asset. But The London legal market? Yes, London's off-the-chart expensive these days. But as stable as you'd want. Entering it poses cultural issues and barriers even sophisticated Yanks don't pick up on with any clarity for months
and usually years--Brits are different, folks--and most large American firms don't even know what those problems really are. But they sense them.
That's smart, sort of. We at WAC? have been involved personally and professionally with law firm mergers: all dressed up, and nothing to do, is certainly something to avoid.
Let's assume American firms know strategically how to enter London and all the more inviting UK/Europe legal marketplaces and have the resources to do it. So what's the problem? My answer: U.S. firms know they aren't culturally saavy and secure enough to go into the UK/Europe, and they are right to think that way. Note, via a hand-off from the vigilant Ed. at Blawg Review, a post which not only got us thinking about this but reflects the somewhat different sentiments of HMPC's overworked co-founder and international tax diva Julie McGuire two weeks ago at a meeting I attended in Pennsylvania. However, its author, Bruce MacEwen, said it first and, as usual, likely better than anyone else could have: "London Calling: But Who's Ready to Dance?".
"Hey running dog Yanks, me Cheung Yin, love you long time--Mr. Oliver want fries with this?"
September 24, 2007
New York: Ahmadinejad, "mystical populist", holds forth at Columbia; Columbia blows it.
Updated 7:30 PM EST: Everyone loses. Columbia allows aggressive, long-winded, grandstanding and scripted opening "questions", preventing Ahmadinejad from looking as bad as he might have looked, and giving the Iran president a chance to hit them out of the park, which he in turn also screws up. Except for letting him speak, Columbia totally blew the details of this. Everyone involved, including Columbia President Bollinger, looks bad, pandering and/or lame. Shame on us. AP: here, including MSNBC video. -- JDH and HHO
September 23, 2007
And Ronald Reagan doesn't even make the main list.
By Alonso Duralde, MSNBC film critic: Big Fame, Little Talent: These folks are all famous, but do they have the chops to back it up?
Charon QC: The Emperor has great new clothes.
The site of the always erudite, Rioja-drinking and just plain fun lawyer-professor-blogger-pundit, Charon QC, has a new look, feel and format. Still, as always, good writing. Even the Times of London likes him. He still loves quoting Churchill, as do we war-like yet irreverent Yanks:
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
September 22, 2007
AP: Columbia U. won't stiff author of Mother of All Blogs.
[NYC] City Council speaker Christine Quinn called Thursday for the university to rescind the invitation, saying “the idea of Ahmadinejad as an honored guest anywhere in our city is offensive to all New Yorkers.”
Next week Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (his excellency's blog is here) will be in New York to address the United Nations’ General Assembly. We don't like the guy either but... See "Columbia To Proceed With Ahmadinejad Speech". Columbia's World Leaders Forum hosts. Will someone please ask him to post more?
September 21, 2007
High-end boutique gets big time limelight.
We think you will be hearing more stories like this one as clients, client reps and GCs continue to get savvier, smarter and more independent in choosing outside counsel. At Law.com's Legal Blog Watch, Robert Ambrogi reports that, at a recent London awards dinner, a Miami-based "Small Firm Wins Big Honor", and an international one at that. Just four lawyers, folks. Excerpt: "While Cantor & Webb may be a small firm, its clients represent big money. The firm focuses exclusively in representing high net worth private international clients in tax planning, estate planning and related matters."
September 19, 2007
AP: Belgium for sale on eBay
Charles de Gaulle famously said that Belgium is a country invented by the British to annoy the French. Belgium and Belgians indeed are highly complex. Belgium historically has been the "battlefield of Europe", and there are overlapping communities here speaking Dutch, French and German. Politics are often conducted along these lines: the Dutch-speaking Flemish v. French-speaking Walloons. Personally, WAC? finds Belgians--you can't generalize, but we will--educated, efficient, smart, artistic, sophisticated, multilingual, haughty, festive, solid and yet a bit high strung (takes one to know one). A highly civilized region with subtle, and very old, tensions lurking. Finally, one Belgian, well, just lost it: "Someone Tries to Sell Belgium on EBay".
September 18, 2007
The UCC is not enough these days: meet the CISG.
If you buy and sell in the global market, the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods ("CISG") is your new friend.
Commercially, we live in a world that never sleeps. Every minute, deals are struck and goods change hands. If your day job is like WAC?'s, it's not unusual for a longstanding client to call on a Friday afternoon with a question about a clause in a 10-year old contract under which the client, a U.S. widget manufacturer, is selling widgets to a Norwegian distributor. "No problem," you say. "Let me grab my copy of the Uniform Commercial Code--and I'll have your answer in a flash. I'll call you back."
Sounds good, right? Well, maybe not.
In cases of international sales of goods, the Uniform Commercial Code--or UCC, adopted by 49 states to create a standardized law for commercial transactions in the U.S.--is often preempted by the federally-adopted United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (referred to as the "CISG"). The CISG, a multinational treaty that provides a uniform law for international sales of goods, was signed in 1980 and has been ratified by 70 countries.
While the CISG is similar to the UCC, there are differences, and some are major. For example, unlike the UCC, the CISG generally does not require any contract for the sale of goods to be in writing. More importantly, unless the terms of a sales contract between parties from participating countries expressly exclude the CISG, the CISG is deemed to govern the contract. The U.S. adopted the CISG in 1988. Australia, most of Europe and parts of Asia, Africa and South America have adopted the CISG. One notable holdout: the United Kingdom.
King's Lynn, Norfolk, East Anglia, England
It's located primarily on the east bank of the River Great Ouse, which flows into the nearby Wash, a huge estuary and shallow bay of the North Sea. A port about 120 miles north of London, it's also about 50 miles northwest of Lindsey, Suffolk, a tiny village from which WAC?'s mother's family emigrated to Massachusetts in 1634. King's Lynn, or "Lynn", is at least 1000 years old. There are references to Lynn (where locals harvested salt from salt marshes) in the Domesday Book, commissioned by William I to get a handle on just what he and his fellow Normans had conquered in 1066. Lynn appears in "Little
Domesday", the independent work covering Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. Originally named "Bishop's Lynn", the town was part of the manor of the Bishop of Norwich in the 12th century. St. Margaret's Church was founded in 1101. By the 14th century, the town ranked as the third port of England. Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1538, the town and manor became royal property. And the name changed. Today industries are fishing and seafood, chemicals, glass-making, light manufacturing and food processing.
September 17, 2007
"Toying with China"
September 12, 2007
Real Bloggers will read Kevin O'Keefe's Blawg Review #125
Here's one straight from Olympus: the Art of The Blog. Save it now on your computer desktop. This week's Blawg Review, issue #125, is hosted by Seattle-based Kevin O'Keefe at his highly-regarded Real Lawyers Have Blogs. He has gathered posts of experts, gurus and leading lights in blogging and marketing who tell you "how to build and maintain" a first-rate blog. These folks generally are not, thank God, lawyers--at least not practicing ones--and so they (1) have business instincts, (2) make sense, (3) write clearly, and (4) tell you what they actually think in a non-weenie way. Mark Cuban, Guy Kawasaki, Steve Rubel and Shel Israel are a few of the stars at Kevin's #125. A visionary, thought leader and doer in blogging/blawging himself, Kevin knows what's going on nationally and internationally in the blogosphere, legal and non-legal, how to use blogs as a marketing tool, and who's who. He understands blog quality--form, content and practical aspects. So his selections for #125 are informed. Read and save if you or your firm have a blog, or plan to launch one.
September 11, 2007
Today you'll see no "where we were/what we've learned/how we've changed" pieces from us. Our contribution: silence, and a partial list of New York City memorial events from NYT.
September 10, 2007
Dites-le en anglais, s'il vous plait?
French blogs (see lower left of this blog), not that suprisingly, often have stunning designs, photos and graphics, but we'd still like to see one in English. To the French: we're sorry we let our French fall into disrepair; you, the curators of all things fine, still teach all how to live and remind us what we should know about the West. But any Blogs of France in English out there? Doesn't have to be "American" English. In the meantime, we'll make do with an American's--writer Tara Bradford's--wonderful Paris Parfait. Tara makes me want (1) to get back to my island and (2) meet and speak with Maryam.
September 07, 2007
China President Hu: "China Ready to Work on Product Safety"
What else would we expect the guy to say?
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Chinese President Hu Jintao defended the safety and quality of China's exports Thursday and offered to work with other countries to improve any problems in the country's inspection regimes.
September 05, 2007
Ruthie does America...and vice-versa.
WAC? understands that the UK lawyer-blogger Ruthie of Ruthie's Law landed safe and sound in a Midwestern city on Saturday--and is now busy charming and seducing everyone she meets in meetings in the Heartland. Lots of press about this in England (e.g., "Ruthie in Evil Empire"). Will she finally meet my travel-worn boss on this trip? Or will she/he have to wait until WAC?'s next trip to London? Stay tuned.
In the meantime, welcome to America, Ruthie. And vice-versa.
September 04, 2007
London Tube Strike Causes Commuter Chaos
See here, from the Associated Press.
September 03, 2007
British troops leave Basra, Iraq base
BASRA, Iraq (AP) - Iraqi soldiers hoisted the country’s flag over the Basra palace compound Monday after British troops withdrew from their last garrison in the city, a move that will hand control to an Iraqi force riddled with Shiite militiamen.
Love's Labours Lost: An American holiday tribute.
NOTE: We offer this special Labor Day item rather than a thoughtful post on work-life balance or a very short but comprehensive item on current usefulness of trade unions in the U.S.
The complete text of the circa-1595 comedy by William Shakespeare is here on one page. First performed before Queen Elizabeth at her Court in 1597 (as "Loues Labors Loſt"), it was likely written for performance before law students and barristers-in-training--who would appreciate its sophistication and wit--at the Inns of Court in what is now often called Legal London. Interestingly, it begins with a vow by several men to forswear pleasures of the flesh and the company of women during a three-year period of study and reflection. And to "train our intellects to vain delight". Click above to find out what happens.
September 01, 2007
London's GeekLawyer these days
Canada's Slaw on a roll
No bad pun intended. But I noticed at my laptop from my perch here above Cannery Row and the stunning blue Monterey Bay that the excellent Slaw.ca--it mixes an eye for the important with competent writing--serves especially good fare lately. See, e.g., Canadian Kyoto Report Released, Small Arms Survey 2007 - Americans Own Most of the Guns and Making the Most of Blogs and Wikis. "Slaw is a co-operative weblog about Canadian legal research and IT, etc."--and a lot more these days.
August 30, 2007
Ruthie's Excellent U.S. Adventure
Ruthie of Ruthie's Law, GeekLawyer's former co-blogger, and allegedly both alluring and sexually acquistive, posts about it in part here. Her trip will be in September and to a Midwestern city, where she hopes to meet my boss--who doesn't like the Midwest much and doesn't sound much like The Woodman. But WAC?, currently headed to Monterey, indeed is an accomplished philanderer in any jurisdiction, and does in my view sound a bit disturbed from time to time.
August 29, 2007
Up in Monterey
Alaska, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and San Diego (think of the latter as Cincy with decent weather, an ocean, much higher prices) within 10 days time in that sequence--and their not so subtle differences in light, space, time zones, flora and fauna--will put the zap on anyone's head. For the next 5 days, and over Labor Day, I'll go to Big Sur and then Cannery Row to re-group, sharpen tools, re-read the rules, meet with some serious idea mongers and try out new ideas of my own.
In addition to marketing, customer service, foreign affairs, IT, global warming, the future of the stage, the history of Europe and fly-fishing as a "now" spiritual exercise, there will be low-keyed talk of politics in hushed tones: Hillary, Obama, Rudy, the old AG/new AG thing, and of course concern and sporadic gloating about the new Bauman-Hinson-esque Foley-Craig congressional closet gay syndrome, which Holden Oliver (allegedly a "D") has already posted about in spectacularly poor taste.
Well, Holden's a fine lawyer, and a funny dude. And like the passable poet he is, Holden is mainly suggestive but correct: when it became painfully clear that the Democratic Party couldn't do anything right for 8 years, the GOP stepped up like champs to help.
Great country or what?
"Wretched human, make that next martini bone dry..."
The Dogs of Score. AP reports that Helmsley leaves her dog $12 million in trust.
August 27, 2007
John Warner finally gets his mojo working.
He was elected to the Senate from Virginia as an "R" when I worked on Capitol Hill, just before I entered private practice. To me, he was that earnest ex-Secretary of the Navy (under Richard Nixon) who was hardworking, ambitious, nice, smooth and at turns almost too "senatorial". But John Warner was interesting, with something genuine and good under all that polish, and you wondered about him. He had had a few breaks. He had his own bucks, came to the Senate after
the Republican primary winner died in a plane accident, and was married (bonus!) to Elizabeth Taylor, who was a natural as a campaigner and charmed Virginia voters. However, on military and foreign affairs, the areas he loved and worked at, Warner over the years (to me) was not as accomplished as John McCain, Dick Lugar or Joe Biden. But over the past few days, we're thinking he's got serious substance and stones after all. AP excerpt:
WASHINGTON (AP)- Sen. John Warner's suggestion that some troops leave Iraq by the end of the year has roiled the White House, with administration officials saying they've asked the influential Republican to clarify that he has not broken politically with President Bush.
But Warner said Friday he stands by his remarks and that he took no issue with how his views have been characterized.
"I'm not going to issue any clarification," Warner, R-Va., said in an interview with The Associated Press.
August 25, 2007
Redux: GCs: Do you really need Big, Clumsy & Unresponsive in 50 cities worldwide?
If you are a hiring in-house counsel working for a great company doing business everywhere, is there any reason to keep engaging your US or UK-based law firm that expanded in the past few years all over the globe like a spastic hamburger franchise? When those firms expanded internationally, they diluted their talent and "gene" pool, and their value to your company, and you know it. They acquired lawyers and law firms in the US and abroad they wouldn't have looked at twice 15 years ago. Our firm's international group, the IBLC, is a clearinghouse of high-end corporate law talent in smaller firms all over the world.
Hull McGuire PC has been busy helping mold this group for 9 years. We know each other well, see each other often, and work together regularly. (Our last full meeting was in March 2007 in Austria. We meet again in Portugal in early October. Smaller teams constantly form and meet and work for clients more frequently.) There are IBLC members in over 70 cities worldwide. Forty firms are particularly active. Member firms range between 5 and 130 lawyers, all of whom who could work at any mega-firm now or of yester year--and so they charge accordingly. Not cheap. The firms compete on service, not price. There are other tightly-knit international groups, perhaps as many as 400; the IBLC is one of several that works.
August 24, 2007
"Farnsworth, Jesus has asked me to talk with you about your performance over the past few months..."
Yesterday we found these two articles at London-based The Economist: "Praying for Gain", on the increasing use (often-outsourced) of corporate chaplains in U.S. companies, and "The Bond Between God and Power", a review of new book by a Rice University prof on the rise of evangelicals in business, government and the entertainment industry. Whether you approve of them or not, these trends just may have legs.
August 22, 2007
U.S. national anthem when WAC? was in school.
It reigned between 1971 and 1978, I think, but those years are hazy. It's a lot easier to sing than the one a fancy DC lawyer wrote in 1814. Fewer and easier lyrics, notes you can hit. And yeah buddy you can duck walk. It's still Summer. So get out of your cars, offices and bad marriages, and dance around before it's too late. Play it.
August 21, 2007
That Lawyer Dude's Week.
See That Lawyer Dude's (American Anthony Colleluori) post yesterday "Week in Review". TLD is consistently thoughtful, interesting and fun to read. Anthony's personality shines through his posts. Makes you want to have him over for dinner.
The Economist: Perth and Cleveland trump Paris and New York in global livability.
"Cities are durable. Most last longer than the countries that surround them, or indeed any other human institutions. But some thrive, whereas others merely mark time (Cleveland, Minsk, Pyongyang), go into apparently long-term decline (Detroit, New Orleans, Venice) or disappear (Tenochtitlán, Tikal, Troy). What are the characteristics of a successful city?" --The Economist, May 3, 2007
They must reinvent themselves. And WAC? thinks it is sad that ex-great republic Venice is indeed becoming a museum piece. Anyway, see this one from The Economist based on 2005 stats. Paris gets a global livability ranking of 16th, increasingly expensive Vancouver is 1st, Frankfurt (Germany) 11th, Pittsburgh and Cleveland are tied for 26th, DC and Detroit tied for 41st, and London is 47th. Huh? Well, as the article notes, you get no points for thrills (although Pittsburgh and Detroit--I've lived in both--are said to be unbearably exciting for ibogaine fanciers). Our all-round favorite based on "livability"? Vienna and Geneva, a tie. Most enduring international cities based on "reality"? That's easy: NYC, London and Paris.
All eyes on Countrywide Financial
More Brits on trips: Ormond Castle
August 20, 2007
Barrister runs amok at North Yorkshire hotel.
Lawyer guest to bridesmaid at the Harewood Hall: "I'll show you a white rose..." Well, last week there was bad craziness in England's north country showing that the wild man trial lawyer-uberboozer thing is not limited to America. Courtesy of London's Charon QC and Hertfordshire's Justin Patten, see this story, covered by the Telegraph.co.uk.
August 18, 2007
Greatness in Wales
Normally, WAC? dislikes most television in any country because it steals our time to create, think original thoughts, become who we really are, and pick up girls. But thanks to Brit TV we learn that Paul Potts, a regular guy from Cardiff, was born and can sing.
U.S. Exceptionalism and the ICC
Do see "The End of Exceptionalism in War Crimes" by David Scheffer, Richard Cooper and Juliette Voinov Kohler at The Harvard International Review. It's subtitled "The International Criminal Court and America’s Credibility in the World". Excerpt:
Reality is knocking and its name is the permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). Any claim that the US may have to moral high ground in foreign policy necessarily requires that the United States join the ICC and do so relatively soon. The United States needs the ICC to help restore its global credibility, discipline its own decision-making, and strengthen judicial intervention against atrocity crimes.
August 09, 2007
Powell secretly writing memoir on Iraq war?
Ex-Clinton wonk Sidney Blumenthal asks in Salon: Will The Real Colin Powell Stand Up?
I am here twice a year. Once the salmon capital of the world (fish farms hurt it), Dillingham, in southwest Alaska, is still a stop-over for sports fishermen, wildlife lovers, bear studiers, bush pilots, extreme camper-hikers, "square pegs" and fed-up husbands (or wives) in the lower forty-eight who went out one day for a pack of Marlboros and never came back. A point of endings and beginnings, it is also the entrance to a remote, roadless and eerily beautiful part of the world. The town itself (pop. 2,500) is on Nushagak Bay, an inlet of Bristol Bay, in the Bering Sea. Dillingham was named in 1904 after U.S. Senator Paul Dillingham, who had toured Alaska extensively as part of his committee work in Congress.
August 07, 2007
Murdoch and the "Timeses"
Hey, this is international news, and it affects YOU. In Newsweek, Johnnie Roberts writes wonderfully-entitled "Forward Into Battle". Excerpt:
With plans to expand the [Wall Street] Journal's political and international coverage, Murdoch is itching for a fight with the nation's presumed newspaper of record, The New York Times, as well as the Financial Times of London. "I want it to be more competitive with The New York Times," Murdoch told Times columnist Joseph Nocera on Saturday. Last week, after the deal was clinched, the Journal's editorial page, accusing Murdoch's critics of "commercial" and "ideological" motives, blasted the two Timeses for giving credence to concerns that Murdoch will turn the paper into a mouthpiece for his own right-wing political and business interests.
August 06, 2007
Losing it in America
AP: French President Nicolas Sarkozy, on holiday in America, loses temper with press. Reuters: Talented actor/world class player Charlie Sheen, allegedly eyeing marriage again (his 4th), loses mind. Washington Post: GAO says U.S. Defense Department loses a whole mess of guns intended for Iraqi security forces.
Prof. Kingsfield derides again: Blawg Review #120
So you call me a son-of-a-bitch, Mr. Hart?
Well, that's the most intelligent thing we've heard today.
August 05, 2007
Update: New Non-U.S. Blogs
Over the last 18 months, WAC? has worked hard to discover and share with you non-U.S. blogs, sites and resources. See here, here and especially here, our "World Cup" Blawg Review of last summer. We list the good ones--active, high quality and preferably in English--on the lower left hand side of this site. Today we add more non-U.S. blogs, 136 to be exact, to our Directory of Non-U.S. Blogs, bringing the total number of non-U.S. blogs and sites to 302.
The new blogs come from 19 countries, including Bangladesh, Denmark and Moldova:
Argentina: 1 new site
Derecho y Tecnología, Francisco de Zavalía
The Australian Professional Liability Blog, Stephen Warne
Australian Technology and IP Business, David Jacobson
IPwar’s, Warwick A. Rothnie
Lightbulb, Noric Dilanchian
Moral Dilemma, Mirko Bagaric
Law Chronicles Online, Adnan Karim
Blawg do Escritório Cassiano & Maciel Advogados Associados, Lucas Cassiano
El Derecho Al Derecho, Claudia Duran
Atlanteknology, R. Charles Perez
C'est é-patent!, Adam Mizera
Chaire en droit de la sécurité et des affaires electroniques, Vincent Gautrais
The Co-co Banana, Jarvis Googoo
CultureLibre, Olivier Charbonneau
Duty to Consult, Ooneesheh Oonaheh
Excess Copyright, Howard Knopf
La pub et le droit, Natalie Gauthier
Now, Why Didn't I Think of That?, Sander Gelsing
Rule of Law, Stan Rule
Venture Law Lines, Suzanne Dingwall Williams
Wines and Information Management (WIM), Dominic Jaar
Wise Law Blog, Gary J. Wise
Conflictologos, Juan Enrique Egaña G.
All Roads Lead to China, Richard Brubaker
Beijing Newspeak, Chris O’Brien
A China Blog on Suzhou Expat Life, Ryan McLaughlin
China Briefing Blog, Dezan Shira & Associates
China Business Blog, Jeremy Gordon
China & Hong Kong Competition Law, Peter Macmillan
China Machete, Xiao Zhu
China Redux, Ben Landy
China Rises, Tim Johnson
Chinese Law Prof Blog, Donald C. Clark
DiligenceChina, Andrew Hupert
The Opposite End of China, Michael D. Manning
This is China!, Bill Dodson
The Useless Tree, Sam Crane
England and Wales: 29
Conflict of Laws, Martin George
IMPACT, Freeth Cartwright LLP
Prisonlawinsideout, John Hirst
Pupillage and How to Get It, Simon Myerson
European Union: 2
EU Case Law, Lucia Martin
Sociaalrecht, K. Salomez & K. Nevens
La protection des marques sur internet, Simon Gobert
Weblawg.de, Stefan Deyerler
Verschmelzungsbericht, Olaf Mueller-Michaels
cearta.ie, Dr. Eoin O’Dell
Korea Law Blog, Brandon Carr
Law in Moldova, Alexei Ghertescu
Lex Turistica, Manuel David Masseno
South Africa: 1
Jacobson Attorneys, Paul Jacobson
August 04, 2007
China Trade Myths
See "Trade With China: 7 Myths and Facing Protectionism" at Richard Brubaker's All Roads Lead To China and interesting links in his post. Myth No. 5: China doesn’t allow American companies operating there to be profitable.
August 03, 2007
Crime in SW England: "Serial cyclist groper banned from talking to women for five years"
Can British editors craft headlines or what? Via London-based Ruthie's Law, which has offered commentary in "Sex Pests from the West Country", see this item about an innovative if mildly crazed young Swindonian in the UK's Daily Mail:
A cycling sex pest has been banned from talking to any women for five years after committing a string of mounted indecent assaults.
Paul Jennings, 23, rode up behind five women jogging, cycling or walking around his local park and grabbed their bottoms one evening last April.
He would slam on his brakes when confronted by an angry victim, hurl verbal abuse, blow them a kiss and peddle off.
The father-of-two, from Swindon, was given a sexual offences prevention order forbidding him from approaching any woman he does not know in the open air unless for legitimate reasons.
Mother of All Blogs - Part II: The Poland-Iran Axis
First of all, I would like to apologise. I cant speak Persian nor Arabic so please excuse me for writing in English. I would like to say that I truly respect you, mr. President. You are a person of deep faith and you keep to your point of view. That is what I value the most. From what youve written on your blog, I can notice that the Iranian people and people from my home country Poland are mentally very similar. I hope our two countries will both keep on developing. Greetings from Poland!
August 01, 2007
Mother of All Blogs: Iran's new China strategy.
Iranian officials-religious leaders have gone a bit digital. So we'd like Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (listed on lower left of WAC? in international directory) to post a bit more on his personal blog. No posts since March 16. What's the deal? At least Dr. A. still has the blog, and some of the e-mails/comments it attracts are pretty good. From a Chinese student, and verbatim, this is our second favorite:
Dr. Ahmadinejad, it is a pleasesue to read your bolg. I am a Chinese student. I think you are a great person. You give Iran peope many good thinks. I like you very much. I want to make friend with you.
July 31, 2007
Bancrofts relent, $5 billion, go Rupert--and just whoa.
Dow Jones-WSJ deal just about done, according to the Associated Press. We've followed this because it's important world business news: Murdoch's News Corp. already owns Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel, The Times in the United Kingdom, the New York Post, the Twentieth Century Fox movie and TV studios, and MySpace. Also, Hull family worries WAC? may be next target.
Germany honors Zappa: "Help! I'm a Berlin street."
Speaking of sound international lawyering, remember the 1960s song "Help! I'm a Rock"? How about "America Drinks and Goes Home" or a profoundly disturbed girl named Suzy Creamcheese. OK, so you're a lawyer who never listened to subversive songs about American sameness and mediocrity, or you're under 40, and missed the fun. Anyway, the Berlin-based Atlantic Review, written by two German Fulbright alums, and WAC?'s Berlin hero Hermann the German, who's just king-hell nuts, both confirm that Berlin finally has a Frank Zappa Street, in the Marzahn-Hellersdorf borough. "Man it's a drag bein' a rock/I think I'd rather be the mayor." Guess you had to be there.
July 20, 2007
China suppliers: So, Yank dudes, just sue us...
At Rich Kuslan's enduring Asia Business Intelligence, see "What Happens When Your Chinese Supplier Says: Sure, Go Ahead, Sue Me!", inspired by Prof. Donald Clarke's 2004 piece on enforcement of US judgments in China--which, by the way, happens rarely if ever. The Chinese take a dim view of default ajudications from a non-Chinese jurisdiction. If you must sue, sue in China--and even then plan on serious headaches. Thanks to our friend Dan Harris at China Law Blog, who chimes in, and opines, for flagging Kuslan's post and an issue which hits a raw and painful nerve with lots of Western clients doing business in China. There are, as both Kuslan and Harris point out, preventative steps you can take to protect your investment, e.g. letters of credit and arbitration provisions. But there's an overall teaching here: don't do business in China because everyone else does it or because the business media talks about it constantly. China is not Kansas, DC or southern Manhattan. Engage ultra-competent, experienced and aggressive help first.
July 19, 2007
Tom Collins: Free Man in Paris
The man who writes More Partner Income, one of the best blogs for lawyers and business people, gets around. And he's been strolling around in the heart of Paris--WAC?'s favorite city, a place of ideas, definitions and possibilities for over 2000 years--getting the juices flowing. Apparently these trips work for Tom. Read his blog. And this.
London v. Moscow--2nd inning, tie game
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia said Thursday it will expel four British diplomats and suspend counterterrorism cooperation with London, the latest move in a mounting confrontation over the radiation poisoning death of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko.
Britain had announced Monday the expulsion of four Russian diplomats and restrictions on visas issued to Russian government officials after Moscow refused to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, accused of killing Litvinenko in London last November.
July 17, 2007
News Corp. nearing deal with Dow Jones; Bancroft family still balking.
The Associated Press reports that News Corp. has reached a "tentative" deal to buy Dow Jones, which owns The Wall Street Journal:
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. reached a tentative agreement to buy Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co., the Journal reported Tuesday, but he must still win over the company’s controlling shareholders.
News Corp. already owns Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel, The Times in the United Kingdom, the New York Post, the Twentieth Century Fox movie and TV studio, and MySpace.
It's OK to be bad sometimes....
Absolutely. See GeekLawyer, "R-rated", on this subject. Which brings us to "ratings" for blawgs. Is this a joke? And if not, are we all daft? Are we just afraid of everything? Of what people think? Or are children, nuns and PC weenies really visiting legal weblogs these days? We think not. Who is this generation's non-moralizing Alan Watts, anyway? Talk hard/write angry. Avoid separateness--especially if you're a lawyer. Think art, not law. Or at least listen to the MC5, who are looking at you just before your big opening argument. Or before you go to church. Do something now--or lose yourself.
July 16, 2007
Working abroad: "Expect hiccups"
Working and lawyering abroad isn't just cool.
It's hard work with frustrations you can't possibly anticipate unless you've done it a few times. Our friend Janet Moore of International Lawyer Coach is working in Ireland and Holland these days. See her post "Working Abroad is Reminding Me to Be Patient".
July 15, 2007
Booze, bulls and gypsies*
PAMPLONA, SPAIN (AP) - Saturday "was the worst day for injuries in the nine-day San Fermin festival."
Police arrested 125 people during this year’s reverie, compared to 60 last year, the government said. Forty-seven arrests were for theft, with the majority of pickpocketers coming from one country: Romania.
*Or the fascinating and exotic Roma, for PC types.
July 14, 2007
Saturday's Lord Charon QC--and GeekWerewolfBarrister
As usual London's Charon QC (pronounced "Karen") is smokin'. And drinking Spanish wine grown at high altitudes. Visit him in the Diary Room. Erudite, funny, creative, favorite of The London Times. Not another "poofy Brit southerner". Warning: may be even more cryptic than traveling WAC?....And while you're on the other side of The Big Pond, visit Charon's evil twin GeekLawyer and read "Wigs All Around". On a roll these days, GL's mad, bad and dangerous to solicitors. Feisty, smart, angry. We're deathly afraid of his new co-blogger, Becky. Nonetheless, DH threw rocks at her window last night....Hull McGuire in U.S. wants to try a case with GL, just to savor the brutality of it all--even though GL hates "punters" (clients).
July 13, 2007
Headed east, cryptically, sort of.
July 07, 2007
Just bulls, religion and middle-age angst
Fiesta de San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain, or the running of the bulls, dates back to 1591. But Hemingway made it way cool in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises. I've never been to it, but people I really like swear by the week-long festival and the steady intake of Rioja and beer coupled with mystique.
Despite the hype, I am intrigued. Folks from all over the world--the kind, like WAC?'s Holden Oliver, who've given up all hope of ever behaving normally in public--go there every year to be menaced and chased by mean, fast and heavy semi-feral animals through the streets. Or to see a possible goring. It is, they say, the Spanish version of the Kentucky Derby, or the Hells' Angels Labor Day Picnic.
Anyway, it began today and continues until July 14. Only 13 people have been killed since records were first kept starting in 1924. Just 13. Sign me up for 2008. Another milestone birthday that year. WAC? may just go to Spain and do himself in.
July 04, 2007
Happy 4th--and what's a "head boy" , anyway?
On Independence Day, Americans celebrate their world-changing split from Great Britain, which arguably began in earnest on July 4, 1776. Americans and Brits, who share folkways, institutions and language, have been on speaking terms continuously for nearly 200 years, since 1814.
The rub: when we do talk to each other, there are two different English-es at play.
So in case you need it--and you will if you're a Yank who does business globally--see the English-to-American Dictionary, courtesy, once again, of our patriotic Blawg Review. NOTE: There are more differences and surprises than you might think. For instance, if you're on the blower with a good punter back in Blighty, you don't want to faff around and cock it up. Know what we mean?
July 02, 2007
Nearly Legal in London (Blawg Review #115)
Today from across the pond we have a first-rate Blawg Review (#115) hosted by London-based Nearly Legal. There's some nice coverage of both US and UK blogs here. In closing, NL wishes American readers a happy Independence Day, and: "if you feel capable of happiness, and to the rest of us, pull your socks up and stop grumbling". Quite right.
June 30, 2007
Brits Blitz Blawg Review
Shameless Anglophile WAC? spends time in England each year working. And studying London, old churches in Suffolk and Kent, Druids, Vikings, Sutton Hoo and a girl named Devon in nearby Aldeburgh. WAC? now even has a thing for British lawyer-bloggers--who are funnier and less inhibited than most U.S. blawgers. So we are happy and honored that two good Brit law blogs, nearlylegal and Corporate Blawg UK, will be hosting the U.S.-based Blawg Review on, respectively, July 2 and 9.
June 28, 2007
Patten: Tony Blair, Mediator?
Lawyer and ADR consultant Justin Patten of Human Law goes through his checklist in "Can Tony Blair succeed in the ultimate mediation role?"
Global wariness of US, China and Russia increases
Not exactly surprising news from the Associated Press about a new poll:
WASHINGTON - Unease with American foreign policy and President Bush has intensified in countries that are some of the closest U.S. allies and around the globe, while Russia and China also face growing international wariness, a survey released Wednesday said.
June 27, 2007
Tony Blair's springboard to "King of Europe"
And why not? As we've predicted, watch for outgoing British prime minister Tony Blair to be the first full-time European Union president. He's off to a great start. See by the Associated Press "Blair To Be Mideast Quartet's Special Envoy". The "quartet" is the EU, the United Nations, the United States and Russia. Palestinian economic and political reform will be a big part of the new diplomatic job.
June 25, 2007
Cameron Does Peru: Whoops!
Interesting and even unusual 5-to-4 noises from the United States Supreme Court today--but a well-meaning and respected American actress also raised eyebrows. From the Associated Press, "Cameron Diaz Apologizes For Carrying Mao Bag".
June 20, 2007
Ruthie's got a brand new blog.
The British are indeed coming. Ruthie--GeekLawyer's sultry co-blogger, one of the hosts of the first LawBlog 2007 last month in London, and a woman with an enduring crush on WAC?'s well-bred and erudite Yank founder on your right--has launched Ruthie's Law ("Crime. But not as you know it.") First post was June 14. GeekLawyer, always a team player, has this to say about the new site. Ruthie gives us her version.
June 16, 2007
Saturday's Charon QC
See his Oscar Wildean "Advice is the Curse of the Drinking Classes..."
June 15, 2007
Atlantic Review: G8 Summit Sum-ups
June 12, 2007
Brit Bloggers Blitz U.S.
See New Zealand-based LawFuel.com. Whatever this is or is evolving into, this site is about as international as you can get: a combined global legal news service, news digest, press release service, clearinghouse and cyber-bulletin board for lawyers in private or public practice. Huge empahsis on American legal world but hasn't gone overboard there. So far, it's interesting, busy, inclusive and fun.
June 11, 2007
Are we Rome yet?
"Are we Rome, or not? At a crude level, the parallels are striking..." No matter what your politics, or country of origin, this June 7 article at Salon by Gary Kamiya on a hyper-obvious comparison--and one on everyone's mind anyway--is worth your time. WAC?'s answer? No, clearly not; the U.S. has yet to stretch itself as thin as Rome did, and we still haven't dumped our better principles. We have miles to go, and more nations to manhandle. But the momentum is there.
June 08, 2007
Redux - China and America: Then and Now
We liked the subject of this recent post much--so once again:
Plus c'est la meme chose, plus ça change. From Seattle-based Dan Harris, at his insightful China Law Blog, see Chinese And American Cultural Differences--La Plus Ca Change.... Learn how the Chinese diplomat Wu Ting-fang--an Asian de Tocqueville eighty years later--viewed America in 1914.
June 06, 2007
Pope, popemobile "menaced" by friendly German.
The Associated Press reports that the pope was tooling around Rome today with the top down, waving at crowds, and it happened: "Man Tries To Jump In Benedict's 'Popemobile'". The German guy who tried this just wanted to say hey. He--not the pope--was dressed in a pink T-shirt, dark shorts and a beige baseball cap, and wearing sunglasses. The German never made it into the popemobile, and was quickly wrestled to the pavement. Pope Benedict XVI was never in danger, was unharmed and apparently didn't even notice the incident. WAC? waits for Hermann the German to interpret this event properly.
June 05, 2007
Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
A "second" city, but a key one, Swansea, Wales is roughly to Cardiff, Wales what Manchester, England is to London. The Vikings originally began to settle this area on the South Wales coast in 1013 when they conquered the Anglo-Saxons. Later, in the 1100s, the Normans founded the town of Swansea. It became a major industrial center and port by the 18th century, and now mixes manufacturing with a thriving services industry. About 230,000 people live here. The great poet Dylan Thomas started out here in 1914, only to end his life prematurely and tragically in Manhattan in 1953. In 1969, the actress Catherine Zeta Jones was born in Swansea. Jones still speaks fluent Welsh and has an oceanside home here. Her son, with American actor Michael Douglas, was born in 2000. His name is Dylan.
Ranking UK Law Schools
Americans love lists of "the best" schools. U.S. News & World Report covers American colleges, including law schools, and Newsweek ranks U.S. high schools. Here's a new one WAC? found over at The TransAtlantic Assembly. The Times (London) and The Guardian (Manchester) have each made 2007 United Kingdom Law School Rankings.
June 01, 2007
German anti-Americanism, U.S. French-bashing, and soo much more.
Are we of western European stock small-minded and silly or what? From the consistently interesting and fresh Atlantic Review, a press digest with commentary written by German Fulbright alumni, see "Transatlantic Obsessions". Twenty-four comments so far to a post yesterday by Joerg Wolf, who thinks that the U.S. media needs to lighten up on how France manages its affairs, and that the German press should focus on a current world evil other than America.
It remains weird and unfortunate that the German media is soo obsessed with the United States and that the US media is soo obsessed with France. Both country's media outlets would do good to reduce the obsessions on some silly topics and cover more important issues like poverty in our own countries and around the world, wars and conflicts in Africa, how to increase energy efficiency.
May 31, 2007
LawBlog 2007: The Pub
An associate lawyer has been playing this podcast lately. For a couple of days I wrongly assumed it was an audio of the Hells Angels 1968 Memorial Day picnic or maybe the soundtrack from Barfly, the 1987 film on low-bottom Los Angeles drunks starring Mickey Rourke, Faye Dunaway and the elegant South African-born actress Alice Krige. Neither. It's a post-LawBlog 2007 debauch in a London pub on May 18 starring GeekLawyer and co-counsel Ruthie and featuring the astonishingly slurred voices of otherwise reputable solicitors, barristers, journalists and academics who went to schools like Oxford and Cambridge. Anglophile WAC? is both shocked and impressed. Update: More sober coverage was offered by Rupert White of The Law Society's Law Gazette, here and here.
May 22, 2007
Hail Britannia: LawBlog 2007
On Friday, May 18th, with sponsorship from UK-based IP player CPA Global, the Law Society Gazette, and the law firm of Freeth Cartwright, London barrister GeekLawyer and his co-writer Ruthie successfully pulled off the first UK and Europe Legal Blogging Conference, or LawBlog 2007. Here is their report. Speakers and better-known attendees included Professor Jeremy Phillips of IPKat, Justin Patten of Human Law and keynote speaker Charon QC, who has his own report. Update: Do see all the comments made about last Friday's LawBlog 2007 by the participants over at GeekLawyer. Brit lawyers are a relatively happy if eccentric lot.
May 21, 2007
The Greatest on the Greats: Blawg Review #109
The Greatest American Lawyer, who after much intrigue finally outed himself as Michigan-based trial lawyer Enrico Schaefer, is a seeker and sayer of great truths about practicing law and more. Enrico just says it, and we have always listened. GAL, as WAC? will always think of Enrico, hosts this week's Blawg Review, #109. His theme for Blawg Review is the "Greatest" posts, ideas and people in the legal blogosphere. "Believe or not, it's just me."
May 19, 2007
Queen City, Clean City, City-State, the City of Seven Hills, and very well-kept secret, Cincinnati, Ohio was the only town my family lived in for more than three years in a row when we were "growing up moving" around the East and the Midwest in the 1950s and 1960s. It has everything you'd want: attractive, highly educated, family friendly, business oriented, lightly industrial and German-efficient yet friendly. It has and always has had a vibrant arts community. Quirky fact: for a while, lawyer Jerry Springer was our mayor.
May 18, 2007
Francois Fillon, new French prime minister
No--not Francois Villon, the 15th century French poet and vagabond. This is a much different Francois: an experienced French politician and reformer with strong ties to Britain, including a Welsh lawyer wife. So see Spiegel International for a report about Francois Fillon, just appointed prime minister by the new French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. French conservatives expect Fillon, who has a more moderate style than Sarkozy, to be smooth, pro-business and a talented PM.
May 12, 2007
Hermann the German does Naples, Florida.
In addition to excellent customer service, great lawyering and the sheer fun of quietly and systematically taking higher-end business clients away from much larger law firms, What About Clients? focuses on doing business all over the world. Obviously, we like both U.S. and non-U.S. blogs on business, law, politics and foreign policy. However, the Berlin-based Observing Hermann...(cryptically subtitled "Hermann the German. And an amnesic American lost in Berlin.") is one of the few non-legal/non-business/non-policy blogs listed on the lower left of WAC? in our Directory of Non-U.S. Blogs. The reason: Hermann the German is one very rare human. He's funny, demented and smart--and, when in the right mood, he can write. See his post of Wednesday called "Shark Grossed Out Biting Into Old German Leg".
May 11, 2007
Blair out--Brown likely in. And then what?
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in many ways a politician as controversial in the UK as Bill Clinton has been in America, has announced he's stepping down on June 27. Do consult with WAC?'s London friend Charon QC on this change in leadership in
Au revoir, Sayonara, Ciao…Auf Wiedersehen, subtitled "Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a goner. He has abdicated". We also note that barrister-pundit GeekLawyer, who with co-writer Ruthie has organized the first UK Legal Blogging Conference on May 18, has published the similarly sentimental and touching "Victory in England Day".
So Chancellor Gordon Brown waits in the wings. Brown is widely to expected to emerge as the Labour Party's new leader and become the new prime minister--but there's lots of uncertainty about what kind of PM he'd be. For conventional news coverage, see from the BBC "What Is Brown Likely To Do As PM?"
May 09, 2007
Pat Lamb: King Billable Hour and European GCs
I love the discrepancy between inside and outside counsel on the issue of whether billable hour targets encourage padding. For only half of outside counsel to acknowledge the obvious suggests supreme disingenuity or that many outside lawyers in Europe live in Fantasy Land.
The Blogfather is on a roll. Over at In Search of Perfect Client Service, and since May 2, Chicago trial lawyer and consultant Patrick Lamb has had no less than four (4) great short pieces on the billable hour. The last two were "Time Sheets and Buggy Whips" and this one (quoted in part above) where he showcases views of European in-house counsel on their outside firms.
May 05, 2007
Saturday's Charon: Goodbye to Blair
Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, who turns just 54 tomorrow, is expected to resign in the next few days. Like his friend Bill Clinton, he leaves power as a relatively young man with options, including getting rich from memoirs and the speaking circuit. But some, WAC? included, think he'll take a stab at European Union president in the next couple of years. And like Clinton, Blair has intense fans and detractors. So yesterday London's Charon QC posted a photo of Blair waving goodbye and started a caption contest. So far Charon's got 10 suggested one-liners for what Blair is saying on his way out.
Ray Ward: "A New Orleans rite of spring"
Renaissance man, lawyer's lawyer and Dan Hull's good twin, Ray Ward at Minor Wisdom has all the dope on the Tchoupitoulas Social Aid & Athletic Club's 25th Barathon coming up in just 13 days, on Friday, May 18th. Starting and finish lines are at Le Bon Temps Roulé. 6:05 PM sharp. Six bars, six beers, six miles. Pros only.
May 03, 2007
The French presidential election
It is between two French baby boomers, Ms. Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy. It is interesting, fun, testy and embarrassingly American in style, beginning to resemble the Hells Angels Labor Day Picnic. And yet it is still very French. The biggest issue in the campaign is the controversial French 35-hour work week. She wants to keep it; he hates it. See The Times of London's article "Sparks Fly As Royal And Sarkozy Fight It Out" about last night's televised debate, which leads off like wrestling reportage:
Sparks flew as Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy tonight launched into their two-hour face-off on French television in front of an audience of around 20 million.
Facing each other six feet apart at a square white table the finalists for the French presidency made their opening attacks with Royal notably more aggressive in her initial stance.
May 02, 2007
Rupert Murdoch: Today MySpace, Tomorrow Dow Jones?
He already owns Fox, MySpace and The Times of London. Now he's bidding for Dow Jones, and its The Wall Street Journal, and he'll probably need to exceed his first bid of $5 billion. See Newsweek Business story and the many related links.
Geeklawyer Sighted in US
British Werewolf in America. He apparently entered at Bangor, Maine, of all places. Geeklawyer may be in States to rest up for the UK Legal Blogging Conference he and co-writer Ruthie have organized in London for May 18. Anyway, the infamous barrister and pundit is here unsupervised, sans Ruthie, doing whatever he wants. Advice to New Englanders until GL leaves: Alert local authorities. Lock up your women. Stay in basement with radio and food. Don't leave house after dark.
May 01, 2007
May Day, Law Day--and Blawg Review #106
Our main author is in the humble but beautiful village of Indian Hill, Ohio, pretending once again that he actually has a career in the film industry as an agent and treatment writer--but there are big doings today which I can cover. The ever-popular Blawg Review has been out for a whole day, and this week's host for BR #106 is Brett Trout at his Blawg IT, a finalist in the 2006 Weblog Awards. It's also Law Day, USA (but not Lawyers Day, we're reminded), established by President Eisenhower in 1958. Law Day has brought out the best of the usual poetic musings by Harvard Law grad David Giacalone. Finally, of course, it's May Day, the date of many different cultural, agricultural, religious and political observances all over the world for centuries, including the ancient Gaelic celebration called Beltane, as well as Walpurgis Night, celebrated in Scandanavia and Central Europe.
April 24, 2007
Israel: 59 years
Israel turned 59 today. Starting last night, and in cities all over the world, the anniversary of Israel's independence has been observed with picnics, memorials, recollections and a bit of malaise. See this AP story in the International Herald Tribune.
April 23, 2007
"Is What You Read About China Remotely Reliable?"
Here, from Asia Business Intelligence, by American lawyer and Asia business consultant Rich Kuslan. Kuslan's post is inspired by an article by Carsten Holz of The Far Eastern Economic Review appearing this month at New York Times writer Howard W. French's blog, A Glimpse of the World. Holz's article is entitled "Have China Scholars All Been Bought?".
From Canada: Blawg Review #105
Canada, as you can see by scrolling down the left-hand side of this blog, has more than a few fine blawgs. The wise and ubiquitous Ed. at Blawg Review has noticed. So this week, Toronto's Connie Crosby hosts Blawg Review #105 in her tribute to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Book and Copyright Day.
April 21, 2007
Saturday's Charon QC: 15 Great Podcasts
Who says lawyers, law professors and businessmen in the US and the UK must be boring, artless and uninspired? Long ago my friend Charon QC in London crashed through those stereotypes. But today marks the airing of his 15th podcast-interview with a luminary of some sort, this one with UK/US television producer Michael Mallinson. All 15 Charon Podcasts, beginning with the first one (and my favorite), of Human Law's Justin Patten on February 26, can be found here.
April 14, 2007
Dining in London with Saturday's Charon.
Only a handful of writers have been able to capture the pleasures and pitfalls of breaking bread in their age--of, say, just a simple lunch or dinner. Dining is a ritual humans have enjoyed/suffered through, with others or alone, for centuries. "Lunch" must be explained by each generation--without being boring--and most of the writers who could do this are long dead. However, the erudite Charon QC, a man of the right appetites, and quite alive and kicking in London these days, is an exception. To see what we mean, visit Charon's post "It was time for lunch..." The setting is a Bar and Dining Room, the place Somewhere in London.
April 13, 2007
"Why China Should Care About The United States..."
That article is here, by Dan Harris at his prolific and truly great China Law Blog, subtitled "China Law for Business". Sometimes Harris just catches fire. This post got 41 comments between March 29 and April 4. CLB is informed, insightful, feisty and often funny. And flat-out uncanny in the number of comments Harris regularly attracts. Someone should slap the guy just to see if he's really okay. But you do it.
March 31, 2007
Saturday's Charon QC, and the Brit Blogs.
London's Charon QC is still for Saturdays. My friend Charon is always excellent, delivers and is right on time. The Times loves the guy. And today he has done a Saturday review of the past week. Another British blogger, and a surfer no less, Tim Kevan at The Barrister Blog, has started up a similar weekly review he calls Best of the Blogs. Both Charon and Tim mention US blogs in their reviews. We've posted before about the fine and innovative UK blogs out there.
March 24, 2007
Ile St Louis: "Ernest, the French aren't like you and me."
"Yes, they have more class".
--with apologies to the Fitzgerald-Hemingway exchange.
Like their natural enemy, the English, Parisians are wonderful--but neither nation's citizens are openly "friendly". When the English and French encounter Yanks abroad, they just can't get why Americans are so outgoing, or why they would even want to be. Most Americans are openly curious and warm everywhere they go. Both the English and the French, however, would rather choke to death than ask a question about something they don't know, and they bristle at at the overly-familiar tone they associate with American tourists and businessmen. True, the reserved English are getting better at customer service. But a Parisian retail-level employee is still likely to treat basic customer service as horribly degrading to his or her person-hood: "I know it's my job, I know you aren't like the other Americans, but you are still bothering me, sir."
Despite my own English roots, the French are my still favorite: flirtatious and playful, volatile and complex, educated and civilized. The teach their children of all social classes that education and being steeped in the best of Western culture is not something like, as Brit author Julian Barnes once suggested in Something to Declare, an optional feature to a car. Art is a necessity, not a luxury. The French are
designed by God to seem as provokingly dissimilar from the British as possible. Catholic, Cartesian, Mediterranean; Machiavellian in politics, Jesuitical in argument, Casanovan in sex; relaxed about pleasure, and treating the arts as central to life, rather than some add-on, like a set of alloy wheels.
So the humanities, ideas and old verities from great men and women now gone are essential for living and enjoying life as a Whole Person. Art isn't just for the rich, the elite or the intellectual. Moreover, the French are not runners and cowards--don't make the mistake of buying into the notion that they shrink from adversity. Throughout most of their history, they've been calculating, competitive, courageous and war-like. They are intelligently patriotic. And they'll beat you with argument, and arms, if they have to. But their real gods are Reason and Art. My sense is that, in the next few decades, the French will manage to save us all from ourselves, as they can be counted on to remind humans of what's important--and who we all really are. Just watch.
Updated from 3/23/07.
Ah, NYC, and Congress, you talk a lot but.....
Two of the trans-Atlantic flights on two different airlines I've been on in the last year have played the Beach Boys' "California Girls" upon landing in New York. Is this a movement? It is clever, and maybe California Girls" should be the new national anthem anyway. Either that or "One Way Out" by the Allman Brothers.....We can lobby pro bono to introduce a bill. Would be more useful legislation than some of the stuff my 535 buds at my old jobs at the Longworth and Russell buildings have been coming up with lately.
March 20, 2007
Ile St Louis: U.S. litigation conducted from Left Bank.
And why not? Law is no longer local--and neither is the apparatus for doing it. Besides, the technology helps clients.
A happy fellow under the Gargoyles this evening, I was not a free man this morning and afternoon. I was in the Munich airport getting ready to come here, Paris--and do nothing but be here--when I was confronted by cell phone with the mother of all goofy plaintiff junk science issues by Tom Welshonce in our Pittsburgh office on an action we're defending. Look, I'm not a tech-freak. I like quill pens, old books and medieval places, and don't think your PalmPilot is the same thing as your brain. But I'll admit that the Internet, electronic court filing, cell phones, e-mail, faxes, Skype and the right people permit you to quickly and efficiently file an emergency pleading in New Jersey, Kentucky or the UK from anywhere in the world. Even from here.
March 19, 2007
A Milestone: Blawg Review #100
No one who has been to Kitzbühel has any reason to think that we are getting any work done.
But we are--see post below.
March 18, 2007
Austria: International Business Law Consortium
We've written about the Salzburg-based IBLC, which we joined in 1998, many times, including in:
March 16, 2007
My third time here, where the representative of our IBLC London firm and I are getting ready for meetings in Austria. Barham is ancient and pastoral. Population is 1800. It was spelled Bioraham in 799, after Beora, a Saxon chief. The Anglican village church dates to the 1300s.
O famous Kent
What country has this isle than can compare with thee?
From Polyolbion, Michael Drayton (1563-1631)
March 15, 2007
London: American werewolf in Mayfair--and two UK stars.
Yesterday I met for an hour with each of the following: Justin Patten of Human Law, and a man known only as Charon QC--who brought along his beautiful, bright and useful-as-hell assistant. I'll write more about these impressive, innovative gentlemen later. For now, my advice: dudes, if you can meet other lawyer-blogger-thinkers face to face (and especially stars like Justin and Charon), just do it. Get away from your laptop. Get interactive like humans used to do it. Meet.
March 13, 2007
London: lawyers, bloggers and The Stones--and Anne's chestnut tree.
Department of Broken Molds: I had lunch today near his Crown Office Row chambers with the infamous, celebrated and talented barrister and mediator Dr. Cyril Chern, an American lawyer and ex-Los Angeles judge, who I've known for 6 years. His mother is British--and he is here in London to stay. We met in Budapest, or was it Vienna, in 2001--and it was like the shock of recognition when two "similarly" unusual pain-in-the-ass people meet. Cyril, in the words of Dr. Thompson, is "not like the others". And then, walking down Fleet to Cannon Street, not far from Tower Bridge, I visited the London Stone, a day early. This quick trip to London is on my way to meetings in Austria. Today it was an honor and privilege to spend some time with the busy Cyril Chern. Tomorrow, I have the honor of meeting UK lawyer-bloggers Justin Patten and Charon QC. And it will be a privilege to spend some time with each of them.
Anne Frank would have been 78 this year, on June 12.
In 1992, I first visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and was moved (that's understating it) to discover that Anne, who died at the Bergen-Belsen camp in 1945 at 15, had pinned up on the walls of her attic room photos of the exact same American film stars of the 1930s and 1940s my mother had also worshipped as a teenage girl. My own vibrant, youthful and outgoing mother, and Anne Frank, are about the same age. On the plane on the way over here, I read a piece in The Times, the London paper, that the comforting chestnut tree (now 150 years old) she wrote that she could see from her attic while her family was in hiding is now going to be chopped down, despite efforts to save it. The tree, now 27 tons, is in danger of falling over--but cuttings of the original are being nurtured in hopes of replanting a healthy tree.
March 12, 2007
Place of oaths, deals and mystery: The London Stone
On Wednesday I'll walk east from Mayfair into legal London, down Fleet Street past Dr. Johnson's house and then past St. Paul's, on a stroll tracing and just above the Thames, to 111 Cannon Street, in the middle of the financial district. Thanks to Peter Ackroyd, author of London: The Biography, I'll stop and discover an unspectacular grate I've passed many times before. I'll look wistfully and imagine. Therein sits the unnoticed, forgotten and neglected London Stone, indisputably ancient, over which oaths were made and deals struck for centuries. There's an inscription on it, I'm told. Although linked to pre-Christ Druid ceremonies, historians can agree that it's at least a marker from
Roman times, making it a 2000 year-old symbol. A small boulder, at or near its present spot for centuries, it has even survived the Blitz, and was once the symbol of authority and heart of the City of London. In 1450, Jack Cade, opposing King Henry VI in the Kent peasant rebellion, struck his sword against the stone in a statement of sovereignty after arriving in London with his rebels. He declared himself lord of the city. Later that year, of course, Cade's head ended up on a pike on the London Bridge.
March 10, 2007
U.S. raccoons invade Germany
March 09, 2007
Man of Kent, or a Kentish Man?
Soon, and after a few days acting as professionally, seriously and sanely as I possibly can in London during my usual first 48 hours of jet-lagged fog and ill-humour (an ironic curse I haven't shared that freely), I'll be in Kent. As with London, and with the County of Suffolk to the north, from where my mother's family came to Massachusetts via Ipswich 373 years ago, I am completely and hopelessly in love with Kent, mainly the "eastern" part. The County of Kent is the southeastern doorway to the British Isles--it has even more history, legend and myth than London. Lots, and maybe even too much, has happened here during the past 2500 years...
Eventually, in 51 BC, Julius Caesar called it Cantium, as home of the Cantiaci. Augustine founded what became the Anglican Church here in about 600 AD. And of course Thomas Becket, Chaucer's "holy blissful martyr", was killed here (Canterbury) in 1170. I'll stay with lawyer friends in a tiny and ancient rural village I've visited before--during my last visit not long ago, I helped Jane and Michael destroy and begin to re-build their home's 300+ year old fireplace, and I will inspect the finished hearth--and then leave with them for meetings in Austria. They work in legal London but live near Canterbury, in what is traditionally East Kent; therefore, I'll be among "Men of Kent" and "Maids of Kent".
March 04, 2007
Venables and Holmes Conspire.
March 03, 2007
Saturday's Charon QC
Charon QC never disappoints. He blogs often and for no reason other than he must write; for him, it's a form of both art and play. (Besides, I'm convinced the guy doesn't need the money.) See "Saturday shockers and other matters" and a Friday Charon post with a fine feral photo of downwardly mobile PM Blair in his younger days--and of the Brit upper class version of the Hell's Angels Labor Day Picnic.
UK Bloggers: The Good, the Erudite and the UnHoly.
The triumvirate of UK legal weblogs: (1) Justin Patten's forthright and award-winning Human Law, (2) the urbane and lyrical Charon QC (just written up in The Times), and finally (3) Geeklawyer, London barrister, IP pundit and genuinely savage person who, when provoked in the right way, adds a dash of language that would make Jack Nicholson blush. Other stellar UK blawgs include Jeremy Phillips' IPKat, Nick Holmes' Binary Law and Delia Venables' law sites. There are 20 more listed on the left hand side of this blog. Soon WAC? is headed again to London and Kent, then to Kitzbuhel, Austria and lastly, for pure fun, and alone, to Paris. I note that Geeklawyer's co-blogger Ruthie--a solicitor with a love-hate
relationship with GL, and alleged to have a yen for Yank lawyers--has not yet offficially been cleared by Geeklawyer to meet WAC? at the old London Stone on Cannon Street near the Bank of China at high noon on March 14. She can't meet me in Paris either. But it's not all fun, games, boy toys, irreverence and black humour with this crowd. GL and the talented, alluring Ms. Ruthie are organizing a UK legal blogging conference for May 2007.
February 27, 2007
Charon QC interviews Patten: keen advice and insights, if questionable taste in US bloggers.
Charon QC (Mike Semple Piggot) has interviewed fellow Brit lawyer-blogger Justin Patten of Human Law in a short but interesting podcast on the state of the legal blogosphere. In blogging, Justin notes, "less is more"--so be succinct. Don't miss it: a sane, to-the-point and articulate discussion between two very engaging lawyers in Charon's London studio. Justin discusses some of the better UK law sites--such as Binary Law and Geeklawyer--and is discerning enough to favorably flag Kevin O'Keefe and his Real Lawyers Have Blogs as an exemplary US blawg. After a few Riojas (presumably at Charon's insistence), Justin was also kind enough to mention WAC?
February 26, 2007
Atlantic Review: Black History Month In Germany?
February 20, 2007
American law, globally: fresh glances from a distance.
"The study of law is one of the great intellectual adventures of our time. True, there are many who mire it in the rote, the mundane and the simple-minded. Yet for those who look past the shallows, the depths of law offer excitement and wisdom. Those who learn these nuances gain a particular authority in modern culture. They become effective citizens in the modern state."
Permit me to be consistently serious for a few paragraphs:
Ever since I left a staff job with the US Congress in the 1980s, and reluctantly started to practice law, I've been challenged, stimulated and stretched. There have been times of being tired, frustrated, overworked and underappreciated--but no two days have ever been the same. Maybe I've been lucky, even a bit spoiled. I love what I do.
I bought and am reading American Law in a Global Context - The Basics, a 650 page volume by George Fletcher and Steve Sheppard (Oxford 2005), which is based on course materials at Columbia University's LLM program which (like other US law school post graduate regimes) offers a one-year course of study to non-US students who have already trained as lawyers in other nations. But this book may have charms and powers other than its first-rate "survey" value at good American law schools for non-US lawyers.
If you are an American lawyer who is (i) burned out from too much work, (ii) disillusioned with the quality of clients you serve, (iii) disturbed by the lack of imagination, lethargy or jaded nature of the lawyers you work with, or (iv) bored to tears or depressed by the cookie-cutter engagements you keep drawing, take heart--and please don't quit before the miracle occurs. Parts of American Law in a Global Context may very well make you appreciate your profession for an inspired moment or two. It's about the big picture--which some of us either missed or forgot along the way. The book may remind you that it's a privilege to work in the law. Or it may merely "remind" you to find something new--in or out of the law--to do for your life's work. It begins with the wonderful and defining passage above (at page vii).
February 18, 2007
French blawgers: Dites-le en anglais, s'il vous plait.
Law is the ultimate backstage pass. There are more students in law schools than there are lawyers walking the Earth.
--John Milton/Satan/Al Pacino in the 1997 Taylor Hackford movie The Devil's Advocate (L’Associé du Diable)
Blawgs from or about France in English: you out there?
February 17, 2007
Dan Harris: "China: Where Even The Jews Are Fake", and....
I continue to be amazed by how prolific, honest and dead-on Dan Harris is over at China Law Blog (subtitled "China Law for Business")--and by how many comments his posts regularly generate. Genuinely client-centric, Dan has emerged as a major guide in the mine field of China: its business, law, politics and culture. See two recent posts which received a total of 64 comments: "China: Where Even The Jews Are Fake" and "So You Want To Be A China Lawyer?"
February 15, 2007
Free Man in Paris
I'll spend seriously frivolous days there next month after stops in London, Kent, Munich and two towns in Austria. After one legitimate meeting at an old dude's club, there is zero for me to do for 3 days except hope my cell phone doesn't ring too much with questions about clean coal technology, the doctrine of repose and the holy surprises of Rules 30 and 45. Here is my 10 point plan for each day in Paris:
1. sleep late on Ile St Louis
2. run on Seine quay
3. drink coffee
4. eat bread/baguettes
5. smoke Marlboro Mediums
7. pick up women my age or half my age (you must chose)
8. Hotel de Cluny, my favorite place on globe
10. repeat next day
Re: item 7, don't get the wrong idea, by God. Paris is a kinder, saner place, and has its advantages. Right Bank, Left Bank, train station or the bakery, it's perfectly okay in the City of Light to look admiringly at a woman's form, her legs, gait (that's "git-along", if you're from southern Missouri or Tennessee), sway and the subtle changes in the curve of her back as she moves along the avenues or over the ancient bridges. You can even stalk her a bit. You can do this whether or not she's with her boyfriend (amused and flattered, she will always smile anyway...). And you can do all this without having Anita Hill, Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio and the French version of N.O.W. camped out with a camera crew in front of your hotel the next morning. No PC, no paranoias about being caught red-handed at real life--just playfulness and pure fun.
February 14, 2007
St Petersburg, Russia: Horse Country
It's Valentine's Day. And one of WAC?'s this year is the Empress of Russia, who ruled for 34 years. See this review in Salon on the new biography book about Russia's German-born empress: Catherine the Great: Love, Sex and Power, by Virginia Rounding. There is much more to this great woman, Catherine II of Russia (1729–1796), than the palace rumours circulated about her.
February 13, 2007
Flintshire, North Wales: Sheep Heavan
"It was a frosty morning", and the sheep, they wur' sweet, on the Flintshire 'roods.
February 10, 2007
Of Rioja, Drinking and Snow.
London's Charon QC (Mike Semple Piggot) is for Saturdays. Soon, I'll make a couple of trips to London--a good town for serious topers of all nationalities. These days, I let Mike and a few mainly English and Welsh friends do my drinking for me. But, when I did drink, I often ran amok in the snow. Here are two recent Charon posts: "Rioja is good for you", and "And it came to pass...the plague of snows...".
February 09, 2007
GCs: Do you really need Big, Clumsy & Unresponsive in 50 cities worldwide?
If you are a hiring in-house counsel working for a great company doing business everywhere, is there any reason to keep engaging your US or UK-based law firm that expanded in the past few years all over the globe like a spastic hamburger franchise? When those firms expanded internationally, they diluted their talent and "gene" pool, and their value to your company, and you know it. They acquired lawyers and law firms in the US and abroad they wouldn't have looked at twice 15 years ago. Our firm's international group, the IBLC, is a clearinghouse of high-end corporate law talent in smaller firms all over the world.
Hull McGuire PC has been busy helping mold this group for 8 years. We know each other well, see each other often, and work together regularly. (Our last full meeting was in September 2006 in the US. We meet again in Austria in a few weeks. Smaller teams constantly form and meet and work for clients more frequently.) There are IBLC members in over 70 cities worldwide. Forty firms are particularly active. Member firms range between 5 and 130 lawyers, all of whom who could work at any mega-firm now or of yester year--and so they charge accordingly. Not cheap. The firms compete on service, not price. There are other tightly-knit international groups, perhaps as many as 400; the IBLC is one of several that works.
February 06, 2007
"Joe, me Mariko...me love you long time"
Not. Recently I met a well-known and beautiful Asian-American journalist on an airplane, tried to get her to talk to me like that--but she caught on, smiled patiently, wouldn't take the bait... Anyway, the point is that Mariko and Nigel and Hans and Vlad and Sasha "no love Joe" since the Spring of 2003--when the US invaded Iraq. And coincidentally when I started 3 months of travel in western Europe--from London and Ipswich to Prague and Budapest and several cities in between.
I started that year to learn suprising things about the nature of anti-Americanism: where it does and doesn't flourish in Europe floored me. E.g., our educated French cousins "like" and tolerate America way more these days than do our hand-wringing British kin. Brits think that, as a nation, we have gone and remain hopelessly insane. Over at the Berlin-based Atlantic Review, the press digest edited by 3 German Fulbright alums, see BBC: "World View of US Role Goes From Bad to Worse".
February 04, 2007
NYC, Venice and Sargent's Venice
John Singer Sargent's (1856-1925) "Venice", which Sargent loved and painted passionately, is still at the Adelson Galleries on 19 East 82nd Street. "Sargent's Venice" stays until March 3. If you are going to Italy this year, the exhibition will be at Museo Correr, in St. Mark's Square in Venice, March 24 through July 22, 2007.
February 03, 2007
Reuters: "Chewbacca arrested for head-butting in California"
WAC? loves both journalists and the Japanese--but prefers this headline: "Preez, to take picture [crick, crick] of American movie star, Chewie":
LOS ANGELES - A Chewbacca impersonator was arrested after being accused of head-butting a Hollywood tour guide who warned the furry brown Wookiee about harassing two Japanese tourists, police said Saturday.
“Nobody tells this Wookiee what to do,” “Chewie” from the “Star Wars” movies said before slamming his head into the guide’s forehead, the Los Angeles Times newspaper reported.
Our careers--clients, lawyers, writers, politicians, Wookiees--have ups and own. But Chewie, say it ain't so.
February 01, 2007
...and up to Hell's Kitchen.
So I go to NYC and have two meetings in Midtown Manhattan--and then I have an attack of dreaded W-L balance, which is for slackers and people under 35. I lie down in my hotel for a while, hoping the feeling will go away. It doesn't. So I escape The Business of Law, take a cab to America's First Hood and, as James would say, "do the walk" in Hell's Kitchen:
Near Times Square, but still worlds away, Hell's Kitchen was for 150 years an uneasy mix of poor and working class Irish along with Everyone Else. It got yuppie-fied 15 years ago but still has the strong feel of the "old neighborhood". It's on the west side of Midtown: 34th Street to 57th Street, from 8th Avenue to the Hudson River. Like the equally notorious but now cemented-over and gone Five Points to the south, another Irish Hood with a gritty past, HK means poverty and crime to most of us--or maybe we remember "West Side Story". True, Mafia enforcer Mad Dog Coll was from Hell's Kitchen and killed here in the 1920s and 30s like hundreds of other mobsters for generations. (Remember the brutal "Westies" of just 30 years ago?) But Robert De Niro and Alicia Keys grew up here, too. The Actors' Studio is on West 44th Street. For years, the Studio and cheap housing had drawn actors to HK.
January 31, 2007
Down to The Old Ebbitt...
Last night I was "stuck" in Washington DC, one of the few consistently interesting and civilized cities in the U.S. DC is my birthplace. I spent most of my career there, and I still have an office off Eye Street. So I left my hotel in the West End and went to the Old Ebbitt Grill on 15th Street near the White House to eat:
Twenty years ago, after quite a fight, they demolished the original Old Ebbitt, and the adjoining building, in which British soldiers, after setting a few fires in 1812, drank and gloated. And for generations after that (no fires, usually) at various times so did my dad, I, my best friend's mom, my DC friends, Peter Pan Georgetown grads with nicknames like "Baseball Bill" and "Cowboy", Dustin Hoffman, Carl Bernstein, Bill Murray, White House aides, reporters and lots of the usual serious DC werewolves with too much ambition and gall for polite company. The new Old Ebbitt is an ultra-slick and large but darkly-wooded palace--where I'm told I had a party just before I was briefly married in 1982. If you are in DC, just go there. The waitresses are still wonderful in their suspenders and red bow-ties. (If you abuse them in any way, make sure you tip $100.) You will hear some real "DC" conversations at the OEG--especially at the three long wooden bars there. And some wonderful, grandiose swearing--a dying American art form mercifully kept alive in the Beltway. Confidence, lots of it, is required at all times.
January 29, 2007
In 2004 I was lucky enough have dinner with a friend, ex-California judge and lawyer-turned-barrister at Gray's Inn. Among the West's most enduring institutions and traditions, the Inns of Court make Yale's Skull and Bones seem like Chuck E. Cheese, Mattress Discounters or the downtown Pittsburgh "Y". They lie in the true heart of London, a city of uninterrupted commerce, vitality and ideas for nearly 2000 years. See this interesting glimpse (in 2 posts) of life as a member of the Inns of Court here and especially here at Tim Kevan's The Barrister Blog.
January 28, 2007
Getting through culture clash
January 23, 2007
Redux: Our Favorite Non-U.S. Blogs and....
Updated from our January 3 post--more have been added (and will continue be added) by our brilliant, precocious and frequently annoying new associate Holden "NantucketBoy" Oliver:
WAC? is a relatively new blog by practicing lawyers who are busy, a bit cranky, and very happy, thank you, just lawyering. We don't think bloggers are the New General Managers of the Universe or the only humans with new ideas or who know what's going on in world. We humbly view "What About Clients?" as a real-time way to convey ideas and events about (1) real, "beyond-lip-service" client service, (2) our new services economy-based world, and (3) international corporate law and litigation--as we experience all these things in actual practice every day. At heart, our blog is about relationships as the main event: as assets, as fun--and as money ($USD or other). WAC?'s writers and Hull McGuire's lawyers are serious business people and capitalists. We love working, we love clients and we want to get very rich.
And we don't pretend to monitor and evaluate the entire blogosphere, legal or non-legal. We are more than lucky to have won a 2006 Blawg Review award (for "Global Perspective"), our first full year of blogging, in view of the increase in quality blogs originating from or about jurisdictions and places other than the US. But we do have some favorite non-US blogs--again, legal weblogs from or about non-US jurisdictions--which in some cases seem to have been left out of mention in recent awards by more experienced and established bloggers, awarders and/or a few insular cyber-dweebs both in and out of the U.S.
So here, in no particular order, are the active and promising non-US blawgs (all in English or available in same) we strongly recommend--and recommend whether we "like" or agree with the bloggers and/or their politics and ideas. We could care less about that stuff, we aren't buds with any of these people, and our suggestions, hopefully, are based on merit alone. These 29 "global" (maybe "global" to you if you're an American) non-US blogs and sites have real substance and promise. Each expands and adds to the Conversation about Law and Business:
There are hundreds of great non-US blawgs in English--most of which you can access through the above list--so we've certainly missed some. Send us your discoveries of strong and active non-US blawgs. We'll add them to this list or to our ever-growing list of non-US blawgs and blogs in the left-hand column of this site.
January 22, 2007
Blawg Review #92: Legal Andrew
Blawg Review keeps getting better and better, and WAC? is always amazed at what the mysterious, ambitious anonymous Ed. can and will do. This week's host is Andrew Flusche, a wise, internationally-focused and business-savvy law student at Legal Andrew, with a fine review of some of January's best posts so far on: client service, productivity, getting organized, sane writing, IT developments, the wonders of social media, blogging for dollars, and more.
January 14, 2007
Europe blah on Iraq speech, but German rent-a-protestor biz up.
The Berlin-based Atlantic Review, a news digest on US-Europe affairs, collects posts on European reaction to last week's Bush Iraq speech, and other topics. Don't miss the Deutsche Welle piece on the German protestor rental industry AR found at DW-World.de.
Hartley's Howling Point
After you are done with Church, today's playoff games, meditating on a few Sam Hazo poems, good Jameson's, the Antler Dance, or whatever mantras you do Sundays, visit my well-traveled and truly internationally experienced friend Chuck Hartley, who I have known for a couple of years. A real Renaissance guy, Chuck has a unique background and set of skills too rich to explain here. He's a San Diego-based business lawyer with government diplomatic experience, a knowledge of things South American and African (he's lived and worked in La Paz, Bolivia and Lome, Togo, among other places), and several useful wisdoms beyond his years. His blog, The Howling Point, is interesting, personal and real.
January 08, 2007
A Big Mind: Ray Ward's Blawg Review #90
For today, and maybe tomorrow, WAC? takes back some of the things it regularly laments about lawyers often being inherently anti-client, risk-averse and uncreative weenies, slugs and "robot pimps" (remember the latter expression from the movie The Paper Chase?). Sanely, Blawg Review has chosen New Orleans' Ray Ward to host a Colors of Carnival for this week's edition. Like the mystical Big Easy itself, Ray is a man of many parts, a rainbow of sensibilities. So BR #90 is for the Whole Goddamn Person--body, mind, soul, timesheet. Visit Ray at Minor Wisdom and inhale this one as you start the week.
City of Angels
Los Angeles is an acquired taste, and one that stays with you. I'm here a lot, both business and pleasure--in a way it's too bad that out of ignorance 9 years ago I chose San Diego over LA as a place from which to service business clients in Southern California. Like me, LA is East coast at heart. Drive, confidence, a little flair, and even oddity, are more than okay here. You are always selling; don't hide your light, dude. In law and entertainment, LA is a complicated meritocracy of the hugest of egos and Super-talent from everywhere. It's nearly impossible to be "inappropriate". People swear wonderfully here, mainly as a way to vent or for comic relief. Watch an LA professional blow a tube and you'll hear passionate, funny and artfully profane rants you can't hear in Indianapolis, Columbus, or even DC.
January 04, 2007
Back in DC, Foggy Bottom, and new girlfriend Nancy
Today, nearing the end of my 4 week work-and-travelthon, I am getting ready to take a deposition in an oddball business case of a public figure, a person they once made a movie about. Hopefully, before I leave tomorrow night for LA, I will have time to get over to my old neighborhood on Capitol Hill--where I worked, played and learned for 15 years--to network a bit. My hotel in the West End is 3 blocks from my birthplace in Foggy Bottom: "old" George Washington Hospital, recently torn down without giving me a heads up. Washington Circle now looks funny, half-naked and amputated, with a southeastern empty lot which held GWH's main building for over 50 years...CNN just told me that Nancy Pelosi is the new Speaker--only in America, right? You couldn't ask for a more beautiful day in the District of Columbia, City of Energies 24/7. I miss living here.
January 02, 2007
BR #89: It won't get better than this soon.*
Back in good 'ole gloomy "it-will-never-work-so-let's-give-up-and-watch-TV-and-eat" Pittsburgh for 3 days, and getting ready for the upbeat can-do meritocracy of DC later this week--but this cheered me up for now. The Mummer's Veil, or Blawg Review #89, is by the mysterious and accomplished Blawg Review Editor, who has an instinct for the Humanities. BR #89 lets you discover for yourself the range and possibilities of the blog form. When WAC? first read it, he wanted to move to the Lake Country and start The Wordsworth Blog - and may yet. Bravo, Renaissance Ed.
*But I could be wrong about that. Next week, BR #90 is hosted by the Big Easy's Ray Ward at Minor Wisdom, my personal all-time favorite blog by a human. What a start to 2007! The mysterious Mr. Ed. and Ray Ward back to back: like James Brown at the Apollo followed by Wilson Pickett--or maybe Dr. John the Night Tripper--the next week. We start 2007 on the good foot and the gris gris.
January 01, 2007
....Great Client/Customer Service Blogs.
Happy New Year.
Below are blogs which either are dedicated to or regularly feature useful models, ideas, best practices and tips on effective client service. Note that we are using the term "client service blog" broadly. We've probably (either inadvertently or out of ignorance) left out some great blawgs and blogs. So let us know which ones they are.
In the following list, we aren't ranking them--but in our view the blog with the best overall client service savvy in 2006 was Tom Collins' More Partner Income. Although he writes about LPM subjects other than client service, we think that Tom brings home in a variety of ways the overall point (perhaps better than anyone) that good relationships and good clients are every service business's real economic assets, they are always up for grabs, and they are worth guarding 24/7.
Looking at 2007: Rest, Recovery, Recharge, Renaissance.
WAC? has been getting and giving new ideas over the past few days.
Today is the 4th and last day of the 26th annual New Year's Renaissance Weekend, a nonpartisan, private retreat for leaders in business and finance, education, religion, law and medicine, government, the media, science and technology, sports, non-profits and the arts. This year's RW began with a tribute to last year's honorary co-chairman, Gerald Ford. The Renaissance Institute was founded by Linda Lader and Philip Lader, the former U.S. Ambassador to England. Contents of the weekend's meetings are off the record.* The rules are, in short, that you can't openly (a) sell, (b) yell or (c) push a political party's agenda. People of all political persuasions attend. Its credo is "light--not heat".
*This year's New Year's RW includes among its participants a WAC? writer at his 6th RW meeting. The writer--a lawyer, ex-Democrat and lapsed narcissist--was cleared by the Laders to report in a limited fashion in this blog on a few RW sessions (including "The History of Satan" and "What I'd Tell the President"), but was too moral, private, hoplessly elitist and lazy to do so.
December 26, 2006
Next stop and sanctuary: Charleston, S.C.
WAC?'s mixed travel marathon of work, family, friends and meetings--featuring (a) the worst possible and even depraved customer service by Delta Air Lines, Inc., which will be the subject of another post, and perhaps for my amusement of a 3-count lawsuit I can write up over an espresso and I'll just lob in there in an Ohio or Georgia US district court for all business travelers; and (b) a scary pain-in-the-ass major operation in a freaking hospital (WAC? is never sick, and his last grandparent died at 101)--can be summarized as follows:
I started on December 11 in Chicago with 2 depositions, during which I developed something medically "bad"; moved to Pittsburgh for 2 more depositions (plus a bonus and very frightening emergency operation on the worst possible general area of the male body at Allegheny General Hospital with great surgeons but more bad customer service which ruined their success); more Pittsburgh, meetings/bondings; 5 days in Cincinnati with some family "recovering" and then tomorrow, thankfully, Charleston. Not the best Christmas ever--I hurt still, I can't work out or run easily, I can't drink to begin with, and there's just the Vicodin, which I don't like to take, and several DC friends my vintage say they'll be glad to hold for me.
The Low Country will have to be my sanctuary, hospital, drug. Charleston, South Carolina is for me a wonderful and romantic place at this time of year. There, I will have 5 days to recover from all of the above--from Delta and Allegheny General--and try to hook up with the demanding Ms. Bry, who will want me to buy her things when I am not working/networking and cannot ever understand why I can't spend 2 weeks in London at the drop of a hat. Charleston will have to do; besides, it is my reward for the last 2 weeks of the above abuse--85% self-inflicted, on some level, I admit.
But not the remaining 15%. Hey, you, that's right, you, Delta Air Lines--watch for me, I'm coming for you, you morons. WAC? is going to make you a service failure legend. Hospitals, which at least try to do passable work, are next...the spoiled and only-marginally competent medical profession should be ashamed every time there's a voicemail system which asks you, the patient, to "call back during office hours". That must change, too. Paying patients are not peasants.
It all must change.
So I am beginning to savor the brutality of my new wars on bad service. 2007 will be a fun year. Clients, customers, patients and relationships are assets, for Christ's sake. There's a general disgust that the bogus promises don't square with reality, a backlash and a longing. Can you feel it?
December 25, 2006
2006 Blawg Review Awards
The 2006 awards are here, presented in a guest shot by Santa, who may had have the munchies, or something. (If you didn't get the award you wanted, you can take solace in the notion that Santa may have been, like, impaired, forgot stuff or mixed things up when he got the envelopes.) Note that the awards come with a classy preface and conclusion by the BR Editor, always a sober and hard-working fellow.
December 24, 2006
The True Meaning of the Season...is on the Ivory Soap bar.
Speaking of Cincinnati, it is the home of consumer marketing star Procter & Gamble and Ivory Soap, one of P&G's first products (discovered purely by accident in the 1800s). I just noticed today, right here in River City, that the wrappings on some of the bars now say, in French and English: "There's no place like home". And in Indian Hill, the unusual and interesting Cincy suburb I grew up in from ages 9 to 18, the November/Thanksgiving issue of a publication called Indian Hill Living quotes Jane Howard:
Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.
Happy holidays, folks, to you and your tribe.
December 22, 2006
Pupil Barrister - "Master, more gruel, please..?"
Maybe it's just the holiday season (in which most years I love), the winter solstice, an early appreciation of Charles Dickens, or my growing awareness of the English fascination with things antiquarian, but I'm charmed by a new blog by a pupil barrister in training in the heart of Legal London. Two fine but very different Brit lawyer-bloggers, Geeklawyer at Geeklawyer, and Nick Holmes at Binary Law, clued me in on PupilBlog. "Dickensian", comments Nick Holmes. "Tortured writhings", says GL, also a barrister. For a taste of PupilBlog see "Battered and Deeply Fried Ego". And, finally, I'm reminded of what a British instructor of religions at Duke once said to me about his school and university years after about 5, maybe 7, drinks: "At an English school of any sort, you never know what the rules are until you break them."
December 21, 2006
"U.S. Dollar versus Euro"
It's in the Atlantic Review, a Berlin-based digest on transatlantic affairs, and based on excerpts from articles in The Economist, other sources.
December 07, 2006
On your lower left: 20 new non-U.S. blogs.
The ever-growing Directory of Non-U.S. Blogs, on the lower left side of this site, recently grew by 20, with new sites from or about the law in Columbia, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic and Korea. We appreciate the the tips re: good and active non-U.S. blogs (legal and, in some cases, non-legal).
December 06, 2006
My mother and brother were born there. As I kid, and like other Procter & Gamble children growing up in the 1960s, I lived there twice before we moved to Cincinnati, the Promised Land for our corporate cult. Until I was about 18, I thought that moving around like that--my birthplace D.C., then Chevy Chase and Aberdeen, Maryland, Chicago (brother David), Grand Rapids, and Detroit (sister Becky)--was perfectly "normal". So, after Detroit, where Becky was born, the five of us moved back to Chicago again and lived, this time, on the North Shore, on Lake Michigan, near Ravinia, in a suburb called Highland Park, a child's perfect wonderland of woods, ravines and beach. That neighborhood is the setting for the movies Ferris Bueller's Day Off (note Cameron's yard, where the ravine swallows his dad's classic car), and Risky Business.
It was a fine and sometimes moving early lesson, thanks to my mother who pushed my Dad to move us there, in multi-culturalism. As two of the only local Gentile kids at our public school, my brother David and I would love the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) because they were ours to play dodgeball all day long with about 10 other non-Jewish kids, or kids from "mixed" families, at Braeside Elementary, at 150 Pierce Road. All our friends had those days off. We did miss them, but enjoyed our all-day recess-at-school. Still, I remember feeling left out and jealous we weren't Jewish. To this day, my frame of reference for looking at the world is broader, richer and better due to my family's Chicago episodes. It stretched us and me.
In the next four weeks I'll be working in Los Angeles, D.C., and Pittsburgh, and maybe NYC--with detours for Christmas in Ohio, and New Years in South Carolina. And back to San Diego, then Nashville. But Chicago will be first, starting later next week. I am going back for a week to work downtown--and excited about being again in the most vibrant American city between the coasts, hands down, and amongst lawyers who get it.
Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:
They tell me you are wicked and I believe them, for I
have seen your painted women under the gas lamps
luring the farm boys...
Chicago, Carl Sandburg, Poetry magazine, 1914.
Shocking, breaking news--like Keith Richards likes drugs.
December 04, 2006
Canada: Management-side Employment Law Blog
Note that one of the better Canadian blawgs is Thoughts from a Management Lawyer, by Michael Fitzgibbon, with one of Canada's largest and best known law firms. Michael follows labor and employment law in Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere.
France's 24-hour news "through French eyes" to debut.
WAC? is pleased. Here comes France 24, the French CNN or BBC, which will include an English version, first on cable in NYC and DC. About time. Like it/them or not, France is most consistently civilized and enlightened Western nation, and save a few notable detours, that's been true for centuries. The West needs a French lens.
December 03, 2006
Coming soon: 20 new blawgs to be added to WAC? non-US directory.
December 02, 2006
Jack Welch on getting China-ready, and good China IP news.
December 01, 2006
EU: In 2005, nearly 30% of Euro-US trade was in services.
Increasingly in global markets, goods (i.e., products and tangible things you can see and touch) are just part of the bundles of solutions our clients and we sell globally. As WAC? has ranted about previously, services are becoming the main event. From the Berlin-based Atlantic Review, a news digest by three German Fulbright alumni, here's "Strong EU-U.S. Trade". Note that, according to the European Commission, in 2005 about 30% of the trade dollars in both directions were in services, as opposed to goods:
The EU and US are responsible together for about two fifths of world trade. Trade flows across the Atlantic are running at around €1.7 billion a day.... In the year 2005, exports of EU goods to the US amounted to €250 billion, while imports from the US amounted to €234 billion. Concerning trade in services, EU exports to the US amounted to €108.6 billion in 2004 while EU imports from the US amounted to €93.0 billion.
November 29, 2006
New U.S. Congress and Global Eco-Policy
For years our firm has tackled environmental issues for clients which produce, use, transport, process or handle fossil fuels. Forget your stereotypes. These companies are a lot "greener" and more progressive than you might think; they do some fine things for the environment and workers, whether or not asked or good press is involved. And for some time I've liked Australian lawyer David Jeffery's Oikos blog, which reviews environmental and related economics issues through an international lens. On the recent American midterm elections see, for example, David's post "Political climate change in the United States" on his hopes for a shift in climate-change politics in the U.S.
November 28, 2006
Australian Blawg Review #85 covers the globe.
GeekLawyer: Ruthie's Podcast
Ruthie, GL's co-blogger, and of "Humble Stock", according to his intro (we can now safely assume from that remark that GeekLawyer is from southern England, likely London-bred) just may have hit a home run. Nice voice, too, very British, and slightly "the bird next door". Yanks will want more Ruthie--allegedly not GL's bird.
November 26, 2006
Checking in with Lenz Blog over in Japan
We've caught him in good spirits. Lenz Blog, subtitled "Copyright, Patents, WTO and whatever else interests me", is by a professor of German Law, European Law and International Trade Law at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo. And his is a very good, outspoken and active blog. Of course Germans in the last century have known only smatterings of freedom--and so they have had instead, well, philosphy. So here is "World's Worst Country". Professor Lenz doesn't like rude U.S. immigration officials, torture, U.S. war crimes and hokey American tourism industry campaigns--nor does WAC?, or very many Yanks, for that matter. Fair enough. If it is of any consolation, I myself have been personally abused and nearly-tortured by attractive but humourless German waitresses in Mainz, Dusseldorf and Berlin who won't reciprocate when I try to chat them up.
Backlash on Borat?
From Peter Black, suggesting a growing different take on the film, at his Freedom to Differ, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, see "Is the tide turning on Borat?" Peter hosts Blawg Review #85, out tomorrow. Freedom to Differ "speaks freely about legal issues facing the media and the internet".
November 23, 2006
The First Company: Massachusetts Bay Colony (1630-1691)
Or, more precisely, the Massachusetts Bay Company, which founded the Colony. Wikipedia, which I distrusted at first but now increasingly rely upon, does a nice job with the story of the "first" American company and company town.
November 17, 2006
In search of: French legal weblogs in English.
Law is the ultimate backstage pass. There are more students in law schools than there are lawyers walking the Earth.
--John Milton/Satan (L’Associé du Diable)
French blawgers: Dites-le en anglais, s'il vous plait. Because WAC?'s and other U.S. lawyers' French is rusty, and maybe dying. We all promise to get it back--but in recent years, the French language has waned as an international language. Tragically, English, German, Japanese and Chinese are becoming bigger deals. So does anyone know of French blawgs in English or with English translations? Are you out there--especially anything on French employment law?
November 16, 2006
KFB sounds off on U.S. Mideast foreign policy, terrorism.
November 15, 2006
China and the new U.S. Congress.
November 10, 2006
Four New IBLC Firms
Our firm's longstanding international business law group, the IBLC, has four new members. In Algiers, Algeria: Bouchaib Law Firm; in Belize City, Belize: Glenn D. Godfrey & Company LLP; in Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands: McW. Todman & Co; and in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Pellerano & Herrera.
Getting Judgments in China.
November 07, 2006
Delia Venables: UK and Ireland
If you haven't seen it before, see Legal Resources in the UK and Ireland, by Delia Venables. This is a mainstay and well-regarded UK-Ireland law site. Law practice management, client service ideas, tech developments, other links, everything.
November 05, 2006
A penny for the old Guy.
Charon QC, who like WAC? is un-PC and risks becoming an 'R', has reminded us that tonight is Guy Fawkes and Bonfire Night. On this date in 1605, Fawkes tried to blow up King James I, Parliament, all its members and Westminster Palace in the Gunpowder Plot. Talk about thinking outside the box. The English, who for all their good manners share with Americans a picaresque, stick-it-to-The-Man sensibility about, well, The Man, have an affection for Fawkes.
So Fawkes appears in nursery rhymes, songs and poems. John Lennon sang about Guy's plot. Even T.S. Eliot, a naturalized Brit born in the U.S., gave the old guy a couple of nods in "The Hollow Men." Fawkes was the model for the "hero" in the 2005 Larry and David Wachowski movie V For Vendetta, starring Natalie Portman and John Hurt.
November 03, 2006
Happy Birthday to Justin Patten's Human Law
One of my favorite sites in any jurisdiction is Human Law, by English lawyer-consulant Justin Patten. HL turned one this week. Justin doesn't know yet, but I may finally get to meet him in person, on his own turf, in Hertfordshire, north of London, early next year. Justin, client-focused and an expert in employment, defamation and copyright/IP law, is the only British affiliate at Law.com's Legal Blog Watch. Quite an honor. Cheers, and our compliments, sir.
November 02, 2006
Moving South: Kitzbühel, Austria
Kitzbühel, even older than Mainz, is a medieval city in the province of Tyrol, Austria, near the river Kitzbühler Ache. The Illyrians, a war-like lot originally from the Balkans, mined copper around here starting between 1100 BC and 800 BC. Around 15 BC the Roman Emperor Augustus occupied and claimed this area--by that time the old Celtic province of Noricum--which included the Austrian Alps. After the fall of the western Roman Empire, the Bavarii tribe settled in the Kitzbühel region (around 800). So Kitzbühel is old, with a 12th century wall around much of it, small, beautiful, historical, and a bit slow--and loads of fun for those with pluck.
Traditionally, before non-Austrians and Yanks found it, the region was like The Hamptons or a resort for wealthy and proper Austrians, who detest all forms of anarchy, even jaywalking, especially in the larger towns like Vienna. But Kitzbühel has loosened up a bit. Well, a lot. It even has decent jazz. Drinking happens. You can stay in a small castle which is now a small hotel. If my crack law firm can make a couple of ultra-goofy matters we are defending for corporate America go away, and I can get my alleged girlfriend to come with me, I will pass through here again around St. Patrick's Day to see a client rep and to attend meetings of the IBLC. Clients love the alleged girlfriend--and she can sell. And in Kitzbühel, she can ski, which for many is the point of the region.
View from Germany: Daimler To Dump Chrysler?
[A]s long as Chrysler is still showing billions in losses, the company will be hard-pressed to attract the interest of any other automaker. This means that DaimlerChrysler must first make its US subsidiary profitable again before it can even consider selling off even part of the company.
With a strong mix of Celtic, Roman, Frankish and Jewish roots, Mainz is very old (founded by Roman General Drusus in 13 BC), and built on the Rhine. About 190,000 people live here. Near Frankfurt, and to many a part of Frankfurt's western edge, Mainz is Johann Gutenberg's town. For years, our firm has acted for a manufacturing client just north, and another client with a plant just south, of Mainz--but I'd go out of my way to stay here. For me, this is where the Rhineland begins.
October 24, 2006
Points east, and Hermann the German.
Apart from items required for a few bad habits, I like very old paintings, sketches and maps. Especially old maps (more affordable)--so I buy them.....This, to the southeast, is Berlin. And this is Berlin-based Hermann the German and UPI International, both worrying about the exodus of educated and young Germans to other lands.
October 22, 2006
Amsterdam, languages and fun facts.
On a book/film project, and as a respite from contentious IP and environmental disputes back East, I'm likely headed to Amsterdam, a favorite European city. Amsterdam is poorly understood by Americans, with our oftimes Victorian and morally pretentious view of real life. This city is about beauty, great art, great food, healthy free-thinking people, and genuine class--not just the Sex Museum, social welfare, cathouses along canals in the de Wallen or smoking hash at the Betty Boop coffeehouse. Cosmopolitan, the Dutch like other languages. In the Netherlands, the official ones are Dutch and, in the north, Frisian (which many believe is the closest thing to Old English still spoken). But about 85% of the total population has basic knowledge of modern English. German and French spoken here, too.
Doing Business In China: The Basics.
October 21, 2006
The Kid From Brooklyn sounds off on 1st, 14th amendments.
It's here. See his website. Hear his other podcasts. Forget about his language. KFB, or Big Mike, provides a service. He is neither liberal nor conservative. He's just honest, and I wish lawyers all over the world had 1/3 of his courage rather than persisting in hiding behind our cocktail party civility and our prissy, overly-diplomatic facades. KFB may help not only to destroy the epidemic of political correctness--but also prompt lawyers to drop our weasel ways and just say it every once in a while.
Lawyers, as KFB has noted in other posts, need to get over themselves. In America, nearly anyone with a college degree can become a lawyer. And that has happened. Clients and juries are often way smarter than the attorneys involved. Which would be amusing--if it weren't for the fact that most of us aren't even that good at our practice areas, don't care about the profession, and never understood for longer than an hour that clients are the main event. It's all lip service and b.s. Clients and the general public notice it.
All over the world, lawyers have become an insular "club", diminishing in prestige, and with little interest in clients or the public good. The club for many lawyers has become a third-rate bowling alley with watered-down drinks, bad food and a lousy staff. None of us, including the inspiring exceptions, have ever been royalty. Now, it's getting worse. We are quite comfortable with mediocrity in lawyering, a stale and smug provincial culture, and a focus off our clients.
October 20, 2006
Cyril Chern, GeekLawyer, and their Inns of Court.
Two years ago, my friend Cyril Chern, an American and former Los Angeles judge who moved to London and qualified as a barrister, took me to lunch at Gray's Inn. It was an amazing and even moving experience. Cyril belongs to Gray's, one of the four Inns of Court around the Royal Courts of Justice in legal London. The others are Middle Temple, Inner Temple and Lincoln's Inn. Gray's Inn is not a bar association, country club or non-merit doo-dah faux old boys club. Like the Cosmos Club, my grandfather's group in Washington, D.C., where you can't be invited unless you create, build, write or invent something pretty amazing, you must do something unique and useful to be admitted, meet and eat at ancient Gray's: become a barrister. There are about 11,000 of these creatures in England and Wales.
The Inns are independent societies which regulate the training, admission (calling) and discipline of barristers. And they are quite old, with legends and lore to go with it. Gray's Inn's foundations were laid in the late 1300s, and I remember normally-uninhibited Cyril told me in a nearly hushed tone as we respectfully dined that the walls of the Hall, or dining room, are partially adorned with wood from a captured Spanish galleon. This had been a gift of Queen Elizabeth I to the Inn. Ah, but it's not all pomp and tradition. The English have enough Celt in them to mix austerity with play and pleasure. GeekLawyer, who is wonderful and flat-out nuts, is a prominent IP lawyer and Brit blogger. GL is also a barrister who is admitted at Lincoln's Inn. He just posted that perhaps the best part of Lincoln's for him was "to get pissed and try his luck with intelligent bits of posh totty". Cheers.
October 15, 2006
House of Lords Ruling Relaxes Brit Libel Laws.
Before lawyering got in the way, WAC? intended to write about an October 11 House of Lords decision which brings UK libel law--in which for centuries the burden has been on the defendant to prove the truth of a defamatory statement--closer to the U.S. actual malice standard. But Bob Ambrogi, collecting other good posts and articles, covered this wonderfully in "U.K. Libel Ruling a 'Resounding Victory'" at Law.com's Legal Blog Watch. The new British standard will protect defendant-journalists in libel cases provided that defamatory items are reported responsibly and in the public interest.
Germans fight creeping Anglo terms.
Can you blame them? From Berlin-based Hermann the German.
October 13, 2006
"China's Leading Global Brands -- Are You Serious?"
October 10, 2006
Lindsey, Suffolk, England
Neither the tiny rural village of Lindsey nor the surrounding countryside has changed much since 1634, when one side of my family left there for Massachusetts and a new "Groton", named after another small village near Lindsey. Three hundred and seventy two years later, Lindsey is still beautiful and remote, with few people, no modern commerce, no tourists. St Peter, a rough Anglican church, at one time Catholic, the one my ancestors attended, some of it now over 700 years old, and one even older church ruin, St James (1200s), are the only man-made constants. Still a "parish", Lindsey is on the B1115 Hadleigh-to-Bury road. This is East Anglia. From 1625 to 1640, Charles I had tried to rule England without calling the Puritan-dominated Parliament. Puritan dissenters, lots of them, lived in the area around Lindsey, and "from here":
hundreds of families fled across the Atlantic to the new world. The Winthrops, of tiny Groton, would become founders of the State of Massachusetts. But most of the settlers were poor, working families, and they would devote themselves to quiet, prayerful unpersecuted lives, and of work hard to build new communities. Of course, they would never see Suffolk or the valley of the gentle Brett again. (Simon Knott)
October 09, 2006
Blawg Review #78: Justin Patten's Human Law
British solicitor, blogger and tech consultant Justin Patten at Human Law is one of the consistently strongest voices in the blawgosphere. Justin, who "gets it", is a lawyer who my law firm and I have come to greatly respect. He's this week's host of Blawg Review with Blawg Review #78. Human Law is subtitled "Law, Technology and People". Don't miss this.
October 06, 2006
More precisely, it's in Suffolk, East Anglia, England, on the coast. Pronounced "All-bruh". I've been here three times. If you are in London, and you have an extra day, do something different and drive or take a train northeast to Aldeburgh, a Suffolk secret well-kept from Americans.
October 04, 2006
"Germans Mishandled Me".
True client service is a challenge everywhere WAC? goes, in every context. See Berlin-based Observing Hermann.
September 30, 2006
4th Carnival of German-American Relations.
Yes, that exists.
And if you think that Europe likes America again, think again. Animosity toward and distrust of the U.S. is worse than ever, and pretty much a constant since the spring of 2003. But this carnival may help matters.
For the 4th Carnival of German-American relations on September 24, bloggers on both sides of the Atlantic submitted over 20 blog articles on German-American Relations, including these topics: Anti-Americanism, Pro-Americanism, free speech, cultural diplomacy, John F. Kennedy, Old Europe, NATO, the Geneva Conventions, Berlin, and patriotic Muslims. There are posts of both German and English language articles from two blogs--see here and here--for each carnival.
The next one is December 11. See The Atlantic Review, a press digest on transatlantic affairs edited by three German Fulbright alumni, who created this carnival.
September 29, 2006
More HP: Dunn and Hurd Before the Committee.
Here's an Associated Press article, "HP Whistleblower’s E-mail Issued Blunt Warning", on hearings before before the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday on Hewlett-Packard's in-house investigation of boardroom leaks.
September 28, 2006
HP: GC Quits.
September 27, 2006
HP: Boardroom Leaks, Probes, Probes of Probes.
Whether you run large companies, advise them, or both, here's Hewlett-Packard: Oh My!" from Broc Romanek's CorporateCounsel.net Blog. On Thursday, as Romanek reminds us, the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce holds hearings on charges of Hewlett-Packard's recent "pretexting," a method of investigation of posing as someone to obtain their calling records: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, September 28, 2006, 2123 Rayburn House Office Building, 10:00 AM. And since we're on the subject see Carolyn Elefant's "What's A GC To Do?" at Law.com's Legal Blog Watch.
September 26, 2006
Real Brits Blog--Part II
See our recent post re: trainees at London law firm being required to blog and then see "Muttley Dastardly LLP - A Blog For The Modern Era" by Charon QC, the alter ego of Mike Semple Pigott, a London-based academic, writer and pundit who is regularly accused of having too much fun blogging.
Vietnam as "China Lite".
September 25, 2006
Does The Pope Need Jim Carville?
"The Pope Smokes Dope" after all? No, just playing with you. That's a David Peel song of 34 years ago, from my protracted youth, referring playfully to Pope Paul VI. Don't sweat it. Popes aren't toking up.
Do worry and be perplexed about this pope, a world leader. And about Mel Gibson, a powerful leader in a major world industry, too. Recently, starting with Gibson and then Pope Benedict XVI, high-profile Christians have been accused of trashing two different major world religious cultures. Gibson has apologized twice for making anti-Jewish remarks while drunk. The Pope has said he's sorry four times for besmirching Islam while cold sober. His remarks were taken out of context but, as in Mel's case, some people aren't buying it. Does The Pope need high-priced Beltway or Hollywood talent for damage control? Should someone just put in a call to James Carville? Or maybe Mel Gibson's PR person?
Hunter Thompson is no longer with us, and so we miss his gift of covering and explaining this age-old story: elite people with bad habits saying and doing dumb things because they are human, too. I won't try to explain, or judge, it. But when any of us violate something sacred, even inadvertantly, it hurts and divides. When leaders do it, hell comes and stays awhile.
So I had merely hoped that Pope Benedict XVI would be--to borrow from President Kennedy's quip about a certain Iranian Shah--my kind of pope. Every day, millions of Christians, Catholic or not, listen to The Pontiff. So what's up with this pope? Benedict explained that his September 12 speech in Regensburg, Germany--quoting a 14th century Christian emperor, Manuel III of Trezibond, who had said Islam was "evil and inhuman" and violent--did not reflect his own thinking, and that's certainly true. Benedict did nothing wrong, but he might have picked a different quote. He's apologized. Four times. Will that be enough? See from Reuters "Muslims want to know more on Pope's view of Islam".
September 22, 2006
Real Brits Blog.
September 18, 2006
England's Delia Venables
Her bi-monthly Internet Newsletter for Lawyers is here.
September 16, 2006
Is Milwaukee, Wisconsin international yet?
The answer is yes--or at least Milwaukee seems to be getting there very fast. It's a delightful surprise. On the eve of the annual International Bar Association's annual convention next week in Chicago, my partner Julie McGuire and I spent the last few days in Milwaukee with our firm's long-time international group, the Austria-based International Business Law Consortium, which meets a number of places around the globe each year. The host is Milwaukee-based IBLC member Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. Bravo, Milwaukee and Whyte Hirschboeck!
September 12, 2006
Human Law's Justin Patten Starts Up Consultancy.
London-based Justin Patten is a respected English blogger, lawyer and "WAC?" friend who publishes Human Law - Law, Technology and People. Justin is the only European who is an affiliate blogger Law.com's select Legal Blog Watch. In mid-August, he started a consulting firm which teaches new bloggers how to (1) get started, (2) be effective and (3) prosper. A very flexible menu of services is offered at several price ranges--and these terms should be very attractive on either side of the Atlantic. We'll post more about Justin's new consultancy soon. In the meantime, some details are right here.
September 11, 2006
9/11/06 Blawg Review #74
September 10, 2006
Outsourcing American legal work to Asia.
Well, that didn't take long--and it makes sense whether US and other western law and legal support firms like it or not. DuPont leads the way, according to "Let's Offshore the Lawyers" (clever literary yet gangster-hip title) from BusinessWeek Online. The article's subtitle: "DuPont Is Farming Out Legal Services to Asia — and Saving a Bundle". Lots of this is document "busy-work", but DuPont thinks it can save 3% on its annual $200 million legal bill. According to the article, Hildebrandt International, a leading consultant to law firms, thinks DuPont's experiment may be the start of a trend, with corporate clients slashing as much as 35% of annual legal bills by outsourcing work to Asia.
September 08, 2006
Tough client: Pluto weighs options, plots revenge.
Pluto's demotion is a story with legs. From The Economist.
I've been everywhere, man...but nothing trumps DC.
“Law is the ultimate backstage pass.”
– John Milton/Satan (L’Associé du Diable)
I haven't been out of the United States since late June. And since Sunday it's been Los Angeles, San Diego, Pittsburgh, NYC and a quick trip to Bergin County, NJ. I'm tired--but the work I'm doing is fun. And tonight I'm gushing but torn, like a guy who just ran into that beloved ex-girlfriend he inexplicably didn't marry, and will never get out of his head.
I'm in my birthplace, training ground and favorite US city, Washington, DC, where lawyers re-wrote the book on what lawyers really are and can do. Here we more than just litigators, deal-doers, drafters, agents, fixers, politicians, lobbyists, liars and K Street pimps. A good, broad-gauged "Washington lawyer", regardless of speciality, is a thinker, doer, creator, planner, problem-solver, consiligere and true trusted advisor. His firm is not just a shop, but a laboratory for new ideas.
You won't meet better lawyers. Or people. The city itself has energy and personality, and is a vast library of people resources. Talented and feisty folks choose to move to Washington, DC; they are not "stuck" here, or here by default. So I gush a bit. I'm grateful I lived here for the first 12 years of my career, and can keep coming back to work.
September 07, 2006
EU to Europe: Where are the CIA prisons?
According to Reuters news service, "European lawmakers demanded on Thursday that their governments reveal the location of secret CIA prisons after President Bush admitted Washington held terror suspects in jails abroad". The article is here.
September 05, 2006
The Future of Law is International.
A new blog with an international scope is born. Just back from a trip to China, Christopher Cassidy and Travis Hodgkins, formerly with Asia Business Law, have launched Transnational Law Blog. TLB's first post yesterday was "The Future of Law is International".
September 01, 2006
Do Americans ever take a few days off?
In the grips of an achievement fever that we don't even fully understand ourselves, Americans don't have as great an appreciation for the holiday, summer respites or "quality of life" as do Europeans and other arguably sane modern cultures. But in the United States, Labor Day weekend, lasting a full 3 days, has been a good start. Yanks held their first Labor Day parade in New York City in 1882, and we got that idea from Canada. We at the hard-working but multi-cultural "What About Clients?" and Hull, McGuire & Bubba PC wish you a great Labor Day holiday. See you Tuesday morning, 8:00 AM sharp.
Geeklawyer on Privacy
From the south of England Geeklawyer's co-blogger Ruthie checks in with "Just Because You Are Paranoid, Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Watching You". She begins: "Over the years a number of Ruthie’s clients have sagely informed her that they wear tin foil hats at home to stop the government reading their thoughts".
August 30, 2006
China: Thelen Reid Receives China License Today.
Today, in an development which Western law firms hope signifies a change in attitude by the Chinese government, the American firm Thelen Reid & Priest LLP, with about 400 lawyers, will receive a license to practice law in China, according to The Recorder in San Francisco. Thelen Reid applied for the license in September of 2005. In April of this year, as reported by Dan Harris at China Law Blog and others, the Shanghai Lawyers Association and some Chinese government agencies declared a crack-down on "illegal business activities" by foreign firms who had used local lawyers to practice law.
Thanks for the heads up to international tax lawyer Julie McGuire .
August 24, 2006
Will the U.S. president blog?
To return to Newsweek's report of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's new blog, there's more ink about "his excellency's" daily online journal from NBC news producer Robert Windrem at The Daily Nightly in his piece "Tehran In The Blogosphere". Windrem also asks David Almacy, the White House Internet Director: Will the American president be writing his own blog? "WAC?" asks: If the answer is yes, can we at least get these two into a cyber-brawl re: nuclear policy or Texas food?
August 23, 2006
China Law Blog: Lawyering Up, and Protecting Your Clients' IP.
An Associated Press article last week notes that Foreign Entrepreneurs Spice Up Argentina. Many are young Americans, Brits and other Europeans in sophisticated but cost-friendly Buenos Aires. Excerpt:
[W]ith startup costs and wages still low in post-crisis Argentina, entrepreneurs say their savings in dollars, euros and pounds go a lot further here — letting them chase entrepreneurial dreams while reveling in the nation's cosmopolitan blend of Latin America and Europe.
August 22, 2006
Coast to Coast Podcast: Westerners Lawyering in Asia.
In their most recent Coast to Coast internet radio show on Legal Talk Network, lawyer-bloggers J. Craig Williams and Bob Ambrogi do a fine job of exploring and explaining a hard if exciting topic: "Asia - The New Frontier for In-House Counsel". Craig, Bob and their two guests--an IP lawyer in LA and a business lawyer in Tokyo--cover business, legal, political and cultural aspects of lawyering in two contexts: (1) in Asia for western companies and (2) out of Asia for Asian companies. The show is here. Thanks to Blawg Review for the tip.
August 20, 2006
Iran's president starts Mother Of All Blogs.
According to Newsweek's International Edition, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, has begun his second year in office with a blog, launched last week. His site, www.ahmadinejad.ir, is political, religious and so far an enormous hit in the blogosphere. It's written in Farsi, but Arabic, English and French translations are available.
August 19, 2006
Visit the world's first directory of ADR blogs.
This week Boston-based Diane Levin, author of Online Guide to Mediation, launched the first World Directory of Alternative Dispute Resolution Blogs . Already Levin's international directory has attracted 60 ADR-friendly blogs. The guide is a valuble new tool for clients, GCs and trial people. ADR, which includes both mediation and arbitration, continues to pick up speed globally. Non-U.S. corporations in deals with American parties in particular are increasingly wary of the expense, delays and inefficiencies in obtaining results in U.S. state and federal court systems. And, along with many American companies, they are demanding arbitrations over traditional trial courts. ADR is finally on a roll everywhere. See the World Directory of ADR Blogs.
August 17, 2006
Go east, young dude: What's so special about China, anyway?
Possibly more so than ever, international law firms are targeting Asia, and especially Greater China. More and more newly-qualified lawyers are starting their careers with aspirations and intentions to work in Asia, and many are approaching the path as "Asia specialists" first, lawyers second.
Read these. "You bought the ticket, take the ride..."
Well, I think this is international legal news.
From Charon QC...the Blawg, our London pundit, spiritual leader and alter-ego of Mike Semple Piggot, here is "Bar in China Allows Customer to Beat Up Staff", based on a BBC report from earlier this month. Next week "WAC?" promises to give the correct explanation of "QC", or Queen's Counsel, a distinction given to barristers for over 400 years. And even more prestigious than Super-Lawyer.
August 10, 2006
"American Bloggers in Berlin."
Sounds like a good werewolf movie but this is more interesting and arguably just as gothic. Expat American bloggers now roaming Germany are highlighted in a recent post in Atlantic Review, the "digest on transatlantic affairs" edited by three German Fulbright alumni. See among others Radio Free Mike and Observing Hermann.... These are just two of the blogs in the AR article which soon will be added to "WAC?"'s links for Germany under "Non-U.S. Blogs" (on your lower left).
August 05, 2006
British And Irish Bloggers With Attitude--Redux
We've posted on this subject before, i.e. here and here, and we'll keep doing it. If you scroll down the left-hand side of this blog under Non-U.S. Blawgs, you'll find lots of great blogs/blawgs from the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) and from the Republic of Ireland. One provocative, smart, well written and loads-of-fun blog is Charon QC...the Blawg, quickly becoming a WAC? favorite. As in trying to describe Geeklawyer, another wonderful English legal weblog, words fail me. You just have to visit CQC.
August 02, 2006
England and Wales Mull Competency Checks For Lawyers.
According to the Law Gazette, the London-based legal weekly, The Law Society of England and Wales is considering performing preventive competency checks on solicitors. Antony Townsend, the Law Society's first chief executive for regulation, noted that
the traditional assumption that once a member was admitted to a profession, that person would remain competent, and that the regulator’s role was to weed out ‘rogues and villains’ was changing. ‘Increasingly, the focus of consumer concern has been about continuing competence, not just character.’
The idea for the checks on UK lawyers derives from a similar UK program for monitoring physicians. The lawyer program would "spot emerging problems" and "remedy poor practice early", without the need for after-the-fact sanctions and discipline.
The Law Society is the regulatory and representative body for 116,000 solicitors in England and Wales.
July 26, 2006
Emerging Markets: Vietnam as the Next China.
July 19, 2006
Looking Southward: The Netherland Antilles
Surrounded much of the time by corporate tax people, I'm on the lookout for tax blawgs in US and abroad. And here's an active one that has interested me for a while. Karel's Legal Blog is published by Karel Frielink, a corporate tax and transactional lawyer in the Netherland Antilles, previously known as the West Indies, in the Caribbean. I haven't met Karel in person yet--but I'd like to. Educated in Amsterdam, Karel (a guy, by the way) is also an experienced litigator with the firm of Spigthoff Attorneys & Tax Advisers in Curacao, the main island in the Antilles. Karel's most recent post is old and new corporate tax regimes in the Antilles. His blog is in Dutch, Chinese, Japanese and English.
July 16, 2006
More International Weblogs Coming In Blawg Review #66
Blawg Review's global expansion of the digital conversation continues. And in a big way. The first non-US host of Blawg Review ever, David Jacobson, an Australian commercial lawyer and consultant, will be hosting Blawg Review #66, which springs forth on Monday, July 17. David will be posting from his site at External Insights in Brisbane, one of Australia's three biggest cities, in the southeast corner of the state of Queensland. Brisbane itself hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games, a multi-sport gathering held every four years.
July 13, 2006
On Blawg Review #65: "International Edition"
Here are five nice follow-ups on Blawg Review #65 which echo the "hey, let's all get un-insular" point we at WAC? were trying to make: "The Future of Law is International" by Asia Business Law, "There's a Whole World Out There" by Colin Samuels at Infamy or Praise, a clever piece of writing by Robert Ambrogi at Legal Blog Watch, "Blawg Review Salutes International Lawyers and the World Cup" by Boston's Diane Levin, and finally this one by Edge International principal Rob Millard at his fine and consistently interesting The Adventure of Strategy blog. Rob Millard is from and currently lives in South Africa, and we listed his The Adventure of Strategy blog is listed in the South Africa section of the WAC? directory to your left. Rob works, however, everywhere, and we're told he spends increasing amounts of time in North America.
July 10, 2006
Blawg Review # 65
We live in a world that never sleeps.
Most mornings, lawyers at my firm get e-mails from people in all manner of time zones: Hanjo in Bonn, Michael in London, Giulio in Rome, Paul in Cardiff, Angel in Madrid, Claudia in Pretoria, Ed in Beijing, Christian in Taipei, Greg in Sydney and finally Eric, a DC trial lawyer. Two or three times a year, I see Eric, a partner in an international litigation boutique of 35 lawyers. But I've never seen him in the US. Ever. In the eight years I've known him, Eric has had a plate full of international arbitrations. He could be anywhere when he e-mails--just probably not in this hemisphere. His client could be German with a claim against a Dutch company at a Brussels arbitration venue applying English or American law.
Lawyers sell services--and services are increasingly sold across international borders. In fact, services generally are becoming the new game. In 2004, services, sold alone or as support features to the sale of good and products, accounted for over 65% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in the US, 50% of the United Kingdom's GDP and 90% of Hong Kong's. Our clients sell both goods and services. The growing "global economy", the expansion of the services sector, the Internet and the resulting ability to partner with people and entities all over the world permit our smallest clients to do business abroad. And lawyers in all jurisdictions can act for interests outside their borders. You, me, our clients and our partners are now international players. Every day we meet new ideas, new markets, new regulatory schemes, new traders and new customs. Our new world may not be exactly "flat" yet. But it's certainly become busier and smaller very quickly.
In Blawg Review #65, we'd like to introduce you to some people we've met. All of them are listed on the left-hand side of our site if you scroll down a bit on a directory we first published on our May 26 post The Legal World Outside America: Non-US Blawgs. The blogs on your left fall into 2 overall categories: (1) legal weblogs which originate outside of the United States and (2) blogs from all over which comment on international law generally, or on a particular subject matter, jurisdiction or region of the world. You can't meet all these people in one day. But here's a few:
Meet first Delia Venables, a well-known consultant in East Sussex, in the southeastern corner of England. "Delia central" is Legal Resources in the UK and Ireland. Our favorite is Blogs, News Feeds, Podcasts, Video Blogs and Wikis with UK and Irish Content. Delia also offers an Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. My friend Justin Patten at Human Law, subtitled "Law, Technology and People" combines, in a novel and interesting way, IP and Employment Law. This is an active, well-written and often provocative blog by a lawyer in Hertfordshire, just north of Greater London. Justin is one of the few non-American members of Law.com's Legal Blog Watch. See his recent post "How Interactive Do You Want to Go?", musing whether blogging lawyers can help create new terms, conditions and billing policies in the legal services market by using the blogosphere to assess and scrutinize them. And Nick Holmes's Binary Law, previously "What’s New on the UK Legal Web?", is consistently excellent and alert to new developments. See Nick's post "Sincere flattery or blatant affrontery?" on copy theft. For fun, charm and wit, also see Charon QC...the Blawg, who is the product of the imagination of Mike Semple Piggot.
Brits Who Love Tech. How can you not love a people who prize eccentricity, love poetry and words and still--judging from their number of Nobel Prize winners over the past 50 years--excel at science and technology? Meet Geeklawyer, an IP lawyer who once did R&D in the US for a company in the "evil American empire" and who blogs about IP, civil liberties, the UK legal system, and "angry liberal" things. He's got a motorcycle called The Terrible and Inexorable Wrath of God, a co-writer named "Ruthie" and--well, just go his site. Words fail me--but never Geeklawyer. A wonderful combination of the substantive and the absurd. See especially his and/or "Ruthie's" recent posts "Darling we're all working class now" or "You Cannot Fucking Swear in Dover". And TechnoLlama, published by Andres Guadamuz in Edinburgh, Scotland, will be blogging this week from Australia, where Andres is attending a conference on "Unlocking IP". Department of I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke--or a Pepsi--Whatever: British blogger Jeremy Phillips, who is popular on more than one continent, turns his eye toward Atlanta and weighs in on the Great Coke Heist in last week's last news at his IPKat-fishing for IP stories for YOU. His post is It's Not The Secret, Silly!
France, my second favorite country, and which in my view has more in common with the US than any other nation, had a bad day yesterday at the World Cup in Berlin at the hands of Italy. We'll start by going to straight to Ca’Paxatagore, with its permanent home-page and truly spectacular view of...the Grand Canal in Venice, of all places. So beautiful though that it's got to cheer anyone up. But blog-wise, the French have lots to be happy about other than the fact that all of the French blogs we've listed to your left are beautiful to look at even though you don't read French anymore. The French still have attitude, too. They wait patiently while we Yanks and Brits either learn or re-learn our French, which is still an official United Nations language. We, for our part, wait patiently while they translate more things into English. In the meantime, we must be happy with Droit en Enfer, with another great title page, and the quote:
God Bless Law
“Law is the ultimate backstage pass. There are more students in law schools than there are lawyers walking the Earth.”
– John Milton/Satan (L’Associé du Diable)
Three German Fulbright Scholarship alums in Hamburg, Berlin and Seattle publish the Atlantic Review, a press digest on trans-Atlantic affairs which won the 2006 award for the Best German Blog in the 2nd Annual European Weblogs Awards sponsored by none other than A Fistful of Euros. AR was founded in July 2003 out of a concern for the deterioration of the US-German relationship. Note the last two posts: German-American Relations on the Eve of President Bush's Visit and What? Germans Sing Nazi Anthem in World Cup Stadium?. There are other fine German blogs, many available in English. One favorite is Transblawg, by Margaret Marks, a British solicitor and translator who lives in Bavaria. Another is the German-American Law Journal, published by a consortium of mainly German lawyer-writers. See last month's post "Forum Shopping in Germany", which in discussing "Internet torts" likens the issue to the one faced by American courts. Nanotechnology Law, by Mohamad Mova Al 'Afghani, in Goettingen, assesses "legal implications of nanoscale technologies and the emerging molecular nanotechnology". Hey, no problem.
Bellissimo! Nice going in Berlin! Italy wins the World Cup: Italy Beats France for Title on Penalty Kicks. Enough said. Harvard publishes the Harvard International Review, which for its 100th post ever brings us Why the FIFA World Cup Is and Should Be a Big Deal. It begins:
In an increasingly integrated world with few platforms for international engagement other than war, trade, tourism and sterile political unions, it is understandable that the quadrennial FIFA World Cup has become a major avenue for countries to display their national pride, project their “national character” if there is such a thing, and to unify their diverse populations around a cause.
There are several sites, some listed on your left, which cover the European Union and European law and politics generally. The TransAtlantic Assembly covers an interesting mix of European and American international and constitutional law subjects, with an emphasis on the new European constitution. Recently TAA opined a little on "Election Year Politics, American Style", which is an interesting read. Also worth visiting is ECJBlog, by Allard Knook in the Netherlands, a Ph.D candidate at the University of Utrecht who covers the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
We've tried to find Iraqi law sites--even American military justice or State Department ones. No luck. The University of Pittsburgh School of Law's Jurist Legal News and Research did post "Senior US Iraq general finds Marine commanders at fault in Haditha probe". And then there's Baghdad's Salam Pax, of The Daily Absurdity Report (previously, "Shut Up You Fat Whiner"). Salam Pax has had several blogs since 2002. See his "Democracy Day" post earlier this year on the anniversary of Iraq's first voting experience on January 31, 2005. See his latest post in early June. He says he's working on two video blogs, trying to blog about what's going on in Iraq these days. Excerpts:
A friend of mine, after seeing how desperate and frustrated I was getting trying to get someone to talk on camera, said that I should go to the Kadhimiya district. People will talk there he said. Right. I haven’t been there for ages and I had no reason to believe that it will be different there, but I was getting desperate. I decided to go there the day after a bomb exploded by a bus in that neighbourhood and killed 13 people.
In case you didn’t know Kadhimiya is a Shia district, I have a Sunni family name. The knot in my stomach was getting tighter the closer we got to the check point through which we get into the market area near the Kadhimiya Shrine. What if they ask me for my Iraqi ID? They had an explosion here yesterday and I have a Sunni family name? No this is not paranoia. I have the wrong name and I need to get myself a new forged ID with a Shia name. Anyway, I was lucky they were happy with my NUJ card (the first time I was really happy I had it on me, I usually fear that if people see it they think I’m a foreign journalist).
Once inside I had the biggest eye opener. I saw the future of Iraq, or at least Baghdad. Inside the barricade and past the checkpoint was a piece of the old Baghdad. Shops full of people, all relaxed and smiling. Everybody wants to talk and tell me how their lives are and I even got invited to have tea and accepted the invitation without thinking that this man saw my camera and he is just delaying me until the kidnappers arrive.
Just for fun, try e-mailing Salam Pax like we did and see if afterwards you get funny little clicks on your phone every time you talk to your Mom in Cincinnati.
Visit Seattle-based Dan Harris's China Law Blog--China Law for Business. Just do it. Dan's already an old China hand--and no one does a better job of day-in day-out reporting and commenting about business, government and culture in this incredibly powerful, important and exceedingly complex part of the world. And see Rich Kuslan's Asia Business Intelligence. The focus here is on China, but Rich covers most of Asia. For an interesting primer on multi-cultural manners and a clue why you need real experts in Asia, see Rich's post Sino-British Joint-Venture Dissolved for Rudeness? Similarly, Asia Business Law, based in San Francisco, is another fine resource, which featured on July 4 the post North Korea Intentionally Provokes USA While Iran is Waiting in the Wings--What is China's Role? and a follow-up on July 6 Prognosticating About The North Korean Missile Situation. For some time now, this blog has linked to another fine resource, Chinese Law Prof Blog, edited by GW Law professor Donald Clarke.
We can find just one, Singapore Law Blog, but it's very nicely done. Frequent and to-the-point coverage of legal news and developments in this very old center of trade. Note the recent posts on a free trade agreement with Korea and proposed rules addressing lawyers who defraud clients.
Australia and New Zealand
Next week's Blawg Review host, David Jacobson, is an experienced Australian commercial lawyer who founded Jacobson Consulting. David now publishes David Jacobson's External Insights, which focuses on helping businesses plan and develop policies and tackle complex projects, with a special emphasis on dealing with the ever-expanding maze of government regulations with which all businesses in developed nations must deal. This is a first-rate site from a broad-gauged lawyer. He writes on everything from customer service subjects to the risk of bad publicity in litigation and venture capital models. Oikos, by David Jeffreys, an environmental lawyer, is a blog about ecology, environmental law and related economic issues. If you are interested in fossil fuels, greenhouse gases and in the global warming "hoax", do see Climate Change Litigation in Australia. On client service and relations, Liz Harris has a new blog called Allocatur. In "Are You Defaming Your Client?", she points out that's it's bad enough to have an adversary relationship with your client--and even worse when that comes out in litigation during e-discovery. Finally, Wellington, New Zealand's Geoff Sharp has a blog you'll just have to experience yourself. It's called mediator blah..blah. Great graphics, too. See Geoff's post last month "Meet the Fockers".
One of the most comprehensive resources for client service ideas and education anywhere in the world can be found at the Canadian Bar Association’s CBA Practice Link. And American-lawyer bloggers are familiar with Gerry Riskin's well-known Amazing Firms, Amazing Practices and Toronto-based technology lawyer Rob Hyndman technology. Rob has a terrific recent post entitled Now Bloggers Really Can Be Journalists. Academic blogging is also strong in Canada, too. The University of Toronto Law Faculty Blog is an active and often provocative one. Recently, three UT professors wrote three different commentaries in three different newspapers on a recent Canadian "spousal misconduct" decision you can pick up on here. And Canadian lawyers are batting around the same issues which occupy American legal debate--see "Too Much 'Truthiness' in Judicial Activism Debate". Blawg Review's precocious editors also have introduced us to Michael Geist, the Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, who focuses almost entirely on IT privacy issues, such as monitoring by ISPs of customer communications. There are quite a few substantive specialty blogs, for example, Michael Fitzgibbon's Thoughts From a Management Lawyer, David Fraser's Canadian Privacy Law Blog, Simon Fodden's popular Slaw, "a co-operative weblog about Canadian legal research and IT" and Christine Mingie's interesting Gaming Law International, a subject which has received increasing coverage at International Bar Association meetings over the past three years.
Other Resources: International Law, Economics and Policy
The American Society of International Law has publishes the "ERG", known formally as the ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law. Around since 1997, ASIL's "ERG" is a fabulous site which escaped us--thanks to the Blawg Review editors for pointing it out.
Independence Day in the US last week prompted the usual range of commentary from patriotic to highly critical of American policies here and abroad. On balance, we are happy with and therefore reprise here last year's highly respected July 4th Jeffersonian Blawg Review (#13), by the Editor of Blawg Review. This year, on July 5th, ex-Enron chief Ken Lay died. No shortage of commentary here either, but some of the best was in Peter Lattman's WSJ Law Blog in Lay's Death: Questions and Answers and a later collection of reactions to Lay's demise and its effect on Enron litigation. Another very fine and thoughtful post belonged to Tom Kirkendall at Houston's Clear Thinkers entitled Ken Lay and the Enron Myth. Peter Henning, at his well-respected White Collar Crime Prof Blog, explained the quite-dispositive legal effect of Lay's passing on the criminal proceedings against him in Ken Lay Dies of a Heart Attack, also referred to in Lattman's posts. Larry Ribstein, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, at Ideoblog, prompted a stir by treating Lay insightfully but somewhat sympathetically, as reflected here and here. Do crimes in the "foolish" category really support, in Lay's case, a life sentence in prison? Dave Hoffman at Concurring Opinions came to Ribstein's defense in The Academic Business Judgment Rule. And last week another interesting "event" occurred--it went unnoticed by nearly everyone but the Secrecy News from the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the US statute presumptively requiring release of public record to petitioning citizens, turned 40 on July 4. FOIA is still about as "American" as a statute can get--and it has been replicated by nations all over the globe since Lyndon Johnson signed it into law on July 4, 1966.
"International" Lawyers? Say what?
What's an international lawyer, anyway? A lawyer who knows certain aspects of international law? Or a lawyer, as one joke used to go, "who is just an international kind of person"? Well, maybe both definitions apply these days. It's changing. In America, there's still a longstanding, relatively small, elite and irreplaceable bar of "real" international lawyers. These are your partners down the hall who represent domestic and foreign interests before several US agencies and forums responsible for tariff, trade and customs laws: the Department of Commerce, the International Trade Commission, the Trade Representative's Office, the Court of International Trade, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Customs Service. You may hear them talking about antidumping and countervailing duty law, export controls and unfair trade practices. Another segment of this group does complex transactions involving treaties and laws of jurisdictions abroad. Some have always worked abroad. Others somehow mix diplomacy and business. More recently, many lobby before and/or litigate against foreign governments, and some do commercial arbitrations. Todd Weiler, historically one of the real deals, asks "Am I Still An International Trade Lawyer?" one week ago in International Law and Economic Policy Blog. Excerpt: "I run in two circles: (1) historically and academically, I know a lot of trade law types (trade remedy lawyers, WTO scholars and enthusiasts, etc.); but (2) currently I spend my time with international commercial arbitration lawyers." Todd, to answer your question, your hybrid status in the future may be the rule.
Final Notes and Blawg Review #66.
We hope Blawg Review #65 was interesting--or at least gave you an idea or two. In recent years, "international law" has become a fluid concept that changes even as we were writing this. There are lots of ways to learn more. For starters, the London-based International Bar Association's annual meeting this year will be held 17-22 September 2006 in Chicago, USA. Details are here.
At this blog, we'd like to help "expand the digital conversation" afforded by the blogosphere and keep it full, fresh, inclusive, useful and reflective of our new world. Right now, though, the conversation remains lopsided. Not enough people in the conversation. What About Clients? would love to hear about legal or "international" (you decide) weblogs you can recommend in any language from or about Latin American, eastern European, Africa and Mideastern jurisdictions, and Russia. And we claim no turf here. So start including your own favorite non-US blawgs or blogs about non-US subjects on your blogrolls. Spread the word a little.
With that important request, we conclude Blawg Review #65. We thank the editors of Blawg Review and the creative if mysterious anonymous Editor 'n' Chef for asking us to do this, even if at the last minute. It was an honor. All errors or omissions are due to this hosting blog alone. If you have a site or post you recommend, e-mail us at email@example.com and we'll attend to it as quickly as we can.
Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
July 04, 2006
Patriotism, Liberty and Learning.
Happy Birthday, America.
Yesterday my British friend Justin Patten at Human Law posted Britain falls out of love with America - Is this the death of the special relationship? I spent a good chunk of early 2003 through late 2004 in England, Wales, France, Germany and eastern Europe. I paid dues explaining and often defending the US decision to invade Iraq to European friends and business people who deeply cared about America and its role in the world. They thought America had gone nuts. I reminded them America's geographic isolation from the rest of the world, past successes, free-for-all mentality and unfortunate histories of violence and land acquisition were part of the reason. But Europeans seem to understand our history, traditions and culture much better than we understand theirs. Now, they are just as concerned and appalled as three years ago. The point is no longer Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, or Wherever. It's the fear that America has become so isolated, ignorant and dismissive of non-American cultures that we are now permanently out-to-lunch. It's no longer about US tourist run-ins with feisty French hotel clerks over room sizes or with London cabbies over fares to Heathrow. It's serious.
Americans are the new Romans. Looked-up to but feared. To be fair, ancient Rome made studied efforts to understand the new terrains and cultures in their path. We don't, and we don't care. We never have. Remember the JFK saying? "Liberty without learning is always in peril." Well, here's a better quote, from a dead-serious Hunter Thompson in 1972 during a different war: "This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it--that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesman with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms about killing anyone who tries to make us uncomfortable." You don't have to be a liberal, conservative, libertarian or even a-political American these days to find something true in those words. Everyone should be concerned. Our British, French, German and other friends abroad still love us. They just want us to snap out of it. They want Americans to understand and embrace the non-American world.
June 28, 2006
Shameless Plug: Doing Business In North America (2006 edition)
Yorkhill Law Publishing, an arm of the respected Center for International Legal Studies in Salzburg, Austria, recently released the 2006 update of Legal Aspects of Doing Business in North America, edited by Christian Campbell. First published in 1988, the three-volume set focuses on the needs of non-North American businesses. It spells out requirements for doing business and investing in Canada and the United States, including state-by-state and province-by-province analyses. Chapters are prepared by local practitioners and offer practical insights into issues relating to choice of entity, securities, environmental, taxation, labor law and dispute resolution. The new Pennsylvania chapter was authored by my firm, Hull McGuire PC. Other contributors include Clifford Chance (New York chapter), Baker & McKenzie (Texas) and Barnes & Thornburg (Indiana). Doing Business is available in print, CD or online. To find out more, or to order, go here.
Here's a first-rate primer on international arbitration by lawyers from DLA Piper's London and New York offices. It appeared June 26 in Law.Com's In-House Counsel, reprinted from the New York Law Journal.
June 22, 2006
The New Constant: European Hostility Toward U.S.
This column by Newsweek's Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey appeared yesterday in Newsweek online. My two cents is that the column understates European disapproval of the U.S. government. And the more educated the speaker, the more intense the hostility. You need to know about it if you or yours do business in any part of Europe. It is a fact which colors the most pedestrian Euro-American relationship. It's more on peoples' minds and a more popular small talk or dinner conversation subject than the weather, the European Union or World Cup soccer. Since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, it has not let up.
Latin American Legal Weblogs?
To follow up on earlier posts over the past few months, WAC? is calling for suggestions of active legal weblogs from or about jurisdictions in Latin America to link to the left-hand side of this blog. Any language is fine. So far we have 125 active blawgs from 24 countries, jurisdictions or intergovernmental bodies (i.e., European Union)
June 20, 2006
The Manchester School, Free Trade and Starbucks...
At times, but rarely, I have mixed emotions about Letting Markets Solve Everything. I used to joke that I would return to Cincinnati some day to find that Starbucks had opened up a branch in my parents' living room. Starbucks is indeed everywhere, and installed so uniformly and and evenly all over Europe that you can forget where you really are. There's one in Madrid I was in a lot 3 years ago that is a spitting image of one near my house in California--right down to the bright shiny employees who pretend to be your buddy (and say your name about 5 times, which is why I am known as "Jack"), the location of the bathrooms and those 3 people/fixtures on their laptops. And there's McDonald's, of course, and Subway, Burger King. Americanization--from slang you hear on the streets and TV commercials to clothing and truly stunning cosmetic surgery--is nothing to fear anymore. It's an established fact of life. Here's a kicker: today in Manchester near Granada Television Studios on Water Street I saw a huge sign that says for about USD $700 you can get a direct flight from Manchester, England, first city of the industrial revolution, to Las Vegas, Nevada.
June 18, 2006
Troutbeck, Windermere, Cumbria, England
We live in a world that never sleeps, and now it combines the ancient with the digital. I left Manchester three days ago to attend the wedding of a London lawyer up here in the Lake District. My hotel for the first night, the Queen’s Head, in Troutbeck, near Windermere, is about 400 years old and looks out over a very narrow winding road, green valleys, daffodils, sheep, cattle, the ruins of old stone houses and hundreds of miles of grey stone fences in the shadows of fells (mountains). All of the fences--and some of the older houses--are done by dry stone. No mortar at all, and they meander up and down the fells and the valleys and around the lakes for hundreds of miles, like multiple Hadrian's walls stitching everything together. These are the same fences the Lake poets like Wordsworth walked along 200 years ago. Prince Charles has declared dry stone a lost art, and he wants people to re-learn it to keep the fences in repair.
There is no telephone in any room at the Queen’s Head, a rustic inn even around here, in the quiet Troutbeck Valley, not far from the old Roman Road. No internet connections. Just one pay phone near the dining room off the pub, and also a fax, they claim. But it doesn't matter--a Sony Ericsson cell phone and the T-Mobile service allow better wireless connections to talk to clients and my office than I get in the U.S. A Treo or a BlackBerry work just fine here. Clients have no idea where I am unless I tell them. In a way, it's a shame. This morning I saw a farmer in one of the rolling fields way down below me in a scene of timeless pastoral beauty and, yes, he had to his ear a silvery cell phone as he paced around between the sheep, their still-nursing lambs and the old stone walls designed to keep them from getting lost or hurt on his neighbor's property. Otherwise, the year was 1730, or earlier.
One great thing if you need to keep working while you travel out here is this: in Europe, I am always at least 5 or 6 hours ahead of North America, which means that I can do "immovable" weekly conferences on ongoing projects in the early afternoon rather than 5:30 to 8:30 AM. I am ahead of the game--that's never true when I am in, say, California. In the western U.S., when I call it a day and go to sleep, workers in the UK, Germany and the rest of Europe are checking their e-mail accounts and just starting their day.
June 13, 2006
Later today I leave for Chicago, then to Manchester, England for a couple of days, and finally for points further north and more rural. Manchester is the UK's second city--like Chicago, but with a bit less glitz. Hardworking, industrial, and "northern" in both geography and character, Manchester, with its Roman origins, is a place to get things done. With a population of over 2 million, it is home to the newspaper The Guardian, two major football clubs, Granada Television Studios, The Royal Bank of Scotland, the Hollies (that's Graham Nash's first band if you're under 40) and even Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders. Manchester folks are indeed British--but they’re not the tweed-clad, class-conscious proper chaps and ladies of southern England in our unfortunate American stereotype of what is English. Northerners, even in the cities, are in fact a little friendlier and more down-to-earth than southerners. Mixing travel with business is an education and great fun--but you've got to know where you are, and who you are with. Chicago is not New York. Manchester is not London. England isn't the U.S. Even though the Brits' style of doing business is closer to the Americans' than that of any other nationality, we are still very different. So what happens when Americans do business with the English? And which English? English trading with Germans? Or Germans with Japanese? For more on doing business abroad, see Richard Lewis's book When Cultures Collide: Managing Successfully Across Cultures.
June 08, 2006
Dan Harris, China Law Blog and China Business.
For years our firm has acted for clients in the Americas and Europe--but only recently in Asian markets and China, where we have our own "trusted advisors". We are not experts yet. If you are new to the brave new world of China, and want to get a good feel for doing business there, along with some very interesting news and insights, see China Law Blog by Seattle-based Dan Harris. This is a business lawyer's blog by a business lawyer with strong ties to China and an active office there. Western newcomers to China business are made quite welcome at Dan's site. And check out his "Favorite Blogs" on China law and business on the lower right hand of China Law Blog. WAC? will add quite a few of these to our catalogue of non-U.S. blogs.
June 03, 2006
...and the Times of London has a legal weblog.
We learn from Point of Law and Robert Ambrogi that the Times of London--the Murdoch publication which announced plans to enter the U.S. market--has been publishing Law Weblog since February. It may be just WAC? but The Times' new blog looks and feels a bit like Peter Lattman's Law Blog launched in January at The Wall Street Journal.
Special Saturday Glimpse into the Eternally Serious Swiss...
Click here. Since we are talking in European stereotypes here, note that this tragedy occurred in traditional, old-fashioned Vienna, Austria. Our thanks to YouTube, Margaret Marks at Transblawg and one of the editors at the International Desk of Blawg Review.
June 02, 2006
South African Legal Weblogs?
And we know you are out there. A South African commercial litigator, Paul Jacobson, just let us know about his blog. If you publish or know about other active blawgs originating in or about South Africa, please let us know so we can add it to the growing list on your bottom left of non-U.S. blawgs. Thanks to some excellent blawgs here and abroad and a few of our betters like Blawg Review there's increasing interest in the WAC? effort to expand the digital conversation with the rest of the world by creating a solid catalogue of non-U.S. legal weblogs. In the next few days, we--well, a hard working guy in Pennsylvania named Tom who started out as a corporate tax lawyer but now is headed for more fun if contentious projects--will add here links of recently-submitted non-U.S. blawgs. We'd do it sooner but at WAC? we don't just talk about the mysteries of high-end global clients who trade everywhere. We have to work for them, too.
May 29, 2006
More Non-U.S. Blawgs
Since the post immediately below, we've received suggestions for about 10 more non-U.S. legal weblogs from or about the jurisdictions of Canada, Germany, Netherlands Antilles and New Zealand to add to the catalogue. If you publish or know about an active blawg you'd like to recommend, please send the site by comment or e-mail.
May 26, 2006
The Legal World Outside America: Non-U. S. Blawgs
If you scroll down a little on your left, you'll see our first edition of a catalogue of non-U.S. legal weblogs from or about (I) The West and (II) Asia. Latin America, Africa and the Middle East are next. We'll keep building on this--just as my own firm has built an international practice over the past 10 years. The idea here is to catalogue active quality "foreign" blawgs so we can all expand the digital conversation into the non-U.S. legal community and make a few new friends and contacts. WAC? has worked on this project for a while--see e.g., here, here, here and here--and commentators or bloggers like Rupert White of the UK Law Gazette, England’s Justin Patten, Nick Holmes and Delia Venables and the United States' Bob Ambrogi have mentioned or weighed in on this effort.
Suggestions for additional non-U.S. blogs are welcome. They should be active legal weblogs. Blogs without English language versions are fine, as many lawyers and business people--especially outside America--are multilingual.
Why do this? Where or what does it get American attorneys?
First, many jurisdictions around the world--especially in Europe and Latin America--have legal systems remarkably similar to America’s for historical and cultural reasons. Some don't. But as many more of us and our clients dive into the new international mix, it's good to know something about these jurisdictions legally and especially culturally. Many of these blogs are excellent, like China Law Blog, The Canadian Privacy Law Blog and TechnoLlama, to name just a few. Some cover developments in the European Union, and other focus on one practice area in several countries or regions.
Second, American lawyers with corporate and high-end practices in solo shops, boutiques and firms under, say, 300 lawyers should be especially interested in "meeting" lawyers and businesses headquartered outside of the U.S. There are opportunities to do U.S. work domestically on behalf of these entities. You don't need offices in London, Brussels or Beijing to obtain or do that work.
Finally, this could be great fun.
May 20, 2006
Blawgs Abroad: WAC? Catalogue of The West and Asia Nearing Completion.
I The West
May 12, 2006
China, California, and "Foreign" Influences In Both.
See the post, China's Foreign Law Firms Under Seige?, by Dan Harris at China Law Blog. It's about a Chinese government memorandum discussing a crackdown on "foreign" lawyers engaging in a range of "illegal" practices in China, including what amounts to unauthorized practice of law. As Dan notes, this may be part of a greater movement by Chinese authorities to combat foreign influences. This is unfortunate, as Westerners try to mix in the new Chinese markets. However, I agree with Dan that it's not all that remarkable. China is no more insular, territorial and medieval toward "foreign" business lawyers than the 50 states are toward China lawyers. Moreover, several American states in particular are arguably more backward and restrictive than China. For example, California, one of four jurisdictions where I am licensed, is supposedly a progressive state with a huge and vibrant economy. But it still has a non-reciprocity bar admission policy with respect to licensing out-of-state lawyers--as if it refuses to recognize that business is done across both state and international borders. Massachusetts' Alan Dershowitz would have to take the 2-day "lawyers" California bar exam--a world-class waste of time and money--along side hundreds of 25-year-olds named Justin, Brandon and Brittany to argue more than one appellate case a year here. So would Florida's Roy Black and New York's David Boies in the trial courts. So China and California (and other non-reciprocity states) are about even on the anti-business and general madness meters.
May 09, 2006
Delia Venables' UK and Irish Sites.
Delia Venables, a consultant in the county of East Sussex, in the southeastern corner of England, is my new friend. From across the big pond comes Delia's great sites and "Delia Central" is Legal Resources in the UK and Ireland. Do see our favorite Blogs, News Feeds, Podcasts, Video Blogs and Wikis with UK and Irish Content. Delia also offers an Internet Newsletter for Lawyers. These are are comprehensive and interesting resources for the legal on-line coummunity in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Yanks, of course, are always welcome and encouraged to point, click and join in. Most Brits still like most of us most of the time. And the UK and Irish legal systems still bear amazing similarities to our own. Also, Delia is starting to link to and discuss in detail some U.S. blawgs.
April 27, 2006
Department of Legal Life Outside America: Last Call for Australian and NZ Legal Weblogs.
A little help? We're still looking for recommendations of any good Australian and New Zealand blawgs as part of the continuing effort to collect good and active "foreign" or non-U.S. blawgs. The response on this round (Round III) has been disappointing. Two earlier rounds gathering sites from Europe (I) and Asia (II) went well. We all know good Australian/NZ blawgs are out there. Just who are you/they?
April 08, 2006
France: Civilized, Educated, Talented, Proud - But Not Like Us?
As modes of work and workplace, including their definitions, keep changing, "work ethic" is never an easy subject. And France is my second favorite country. Justin Patten Human Law, in his very fine UK blawg, comments on a recent cover story on the future of France in The Economist. Recently, business-friendly French labor legislation, which lets employers to fire workers under 26-years-old without cause for the first two years of their tenure, has triggered demonstrations throughout France. The French have a 10% unemployment rate. Here is just one interesting excerpt from Justin's post about the article in The Economist:
1 According to the Economist, in a new poll whereas 71% of Americans, 66% of the British and 65% of Germans agreed that the free market was the best system of all, only 36% of the French believed this
2 The Economist also cites that in one poll 3/4 of young French people would like to be a civil servant, mostly because it would mean a "job for life."
Amazing statistics--and had it not come from The Economist, I would not have believed tem. But the French, like Americans, have a little of everything and everyone, do fight among themselves about ideas, and have a history of getting to the right answer in time. Still, these are disturbing numbers. How many of your clients so far this year asked you to help establish a sales or distribution office or light manufacturing plant in France with 20 to 30 employees?
March 27, 2006
At the Canadian Bar Association, Client Service Merits Full-Time Emphasis.
I've noted that, on the subject of clients, the Oklahoma Bar Association's Jim Calloway "gets it". The Canadian bar people seems to get it, too. For months now I've included as a link to this site the Canadian Bar Association's CBA PracticeLink (scroll down bottom right). PracticeLink--which I've also discussed before because it actively advocates sane lawyer writing--even includes a special page for clients called Client Services. Lots of solid resources here. Just one of them is the
Client Care Handbook, originally entitled 30 Best Practices - Strategies for Law Firm Management. The CBA PracticeLink, including that 58-page booklet, is also translated into French. Clients need a few heros, and here is one more.
J. Daniel Hull
March 23, 2006
Round III of It's All Happening At the Zoo: Australian/New Zealand Blawgs?
Any good and active Australian or New Zealand blawgs out there? Australia is now a "player" and, hey, these folks like to trade, fight, talk and hold forth, too. For background, see this February post on the attempt to put together a list of good non-US blogs in English. So far we've done western European and China blogs. Bill Gratsch's well-known and much visited Blawg.org has collected quite a few blawgs for a number of foreign jurisdictions, including Australia--but I'd like to know what you and the Australian/NZ blawgers think. So pitch us. Courting Disaster, by a Melbourne lawyer now in Cambridge seems like a lively one. So does Australian Legal Eye, which also covers New Zealand and Asia Pacific markets. Any others?
J. Daniel Hull
March 15, 2006
China Law Blog Has Made Some Great Posts Lately.
China Law Blog, a site based in both the U.S and China, has made some great posts lately commenting on China business news and regulatory developments, including reports on the slow but positive changes in Chinese IP enforcement policy. But for people just getting interested in doing business in China there's another interesting and practical CLB March 9 post called "Doing Business in China - A Good List of the Basics", by Dan Harris of Harris & Moure, which runs this great new site. Caution: Don't try to do business or law things in China without experienced "China hands".
March 10, 2006
Human and Naked: Brits Who Blawg--Part 2
Interesting statistics from The Economist: In 2000, the United Kingdom had a population of about 60 million, and the US had 285 million, or close to 5 times as many people as the UK. Yet in 100 years between 1901 and 2001 the UK boasted 88 Nobel Prize winners (most of them English) and the US 179. So the UK hatches 50% as many Nobel Laureates as the US with an overall talent pool one-fifth the size.
Moreover, 60 of the 88 UK Nobel prizes were in Chemistry, Physics or Medicine. So Brits [heart] science and "tech", too--and they are obviously very good at it. In legal tech and IP, here are two more Brits who blawg with great sites:
1. Justin Patten at Human Law, subtitled "Law, Technology and People" combines, in a novel and interesting way, IP and Employment Law. This is an active blog by a guy in Hertfordshire, just north of Greater London, who can both write and cover the issues even-handedly.
2. Naked Law, "UK Technology Law Laid Bare by Cambridge Lawyers" is written by the Cambridge office of London-based Mills & Reeve, a relatively large UK firm. It focuses on legal and regulatory developments affecting IT and technology in the UK. I'm going to monitor this one as well--lots of talented people in this key UK firm.
March 07, 2006
Brits Who Blawg with Attitude.
Our firm's practice has taken us to the southern UK quite a bit: London, Suffolk, Kent, and Cardiff, Wales. During one of those trips I detoured to Lindsey, in Suffolk, a still tiny village where my mother's side of the family left in 1632 via Ipswich, England to go to a place called Groton, Massachusetts, named for another tiny village near Lindsey. I got hooked on the countryside, and on the people, too. So I like the English. Not because I "claim" them, or even that they claim me. Indeed, English clients and lawyer friends alike used to openly worry that socially I'm too outgoing and "American friendly" for tea time.
It's true that the English are wordier than Yanks; it's also true that they are about 10 times more careful than Americans are about what actually comes out of their mouths. Socially, an American is always an embarrassing accident waiting to happen. Brits assess the terrain.
But whether they admit it or not--and they generally won't--Brits are very much like Americans, and in ways other than government, law and a shared language base. They mix humor with business, they are driven, they address personal and professional difficulties with optimism, self-deprecation and grit. And they vent, rant and even attack like us. In this sense, two of the English legal weblogs I discovered in our search for good non-U.S. blawgs are operated by true American cousins:
1. Diary of a Criminal Solicitor by "Gavin", who gives you detailed and funny blow-by-blow tours of his often frustrating days through Legal London, along with sounding off about "anything and everything" that gets up his nose; and
2. Geeklawyer, by an IP lawyer who once did R&D in the U.S. for the "evil American empire" and who blogs about IP, civil liberites, the legal system, and "angry liberal" things. He's got a motorcyle named "Ruthie", too.
Both of these are worthy reads-- besides, these guys are fun.
March 06, 2006
Calling All "Foreign" Blawgs: "Amazing Countries, Amazing Practices!"
And often with legal systems amazingly similar to our own--apologies to Gerry Riskin but I love his blog and its name.
Any more re: western Europe or Asia blawgs out here?...Rupert White at the UK's Law Gazette--a magazine with circulation of 110,000 published by The Law Society of England and Wales, the regulatory and representative body for 116,000 solicitors--was kind enough to do an article about our efforts at What About Clients? to identify, link with and learn from non-U.S. blawgs. The article is "US Litigator Reaches Out To Euro Blogs". In the interest of disclosure, the bracketed expression "[an exercise in navel-gazing]" in the article's quote of me was a prudent and kind substitution by Rupert of my characterization of the sometimes insular nature of American blawging. (I had used the term "wankfest".) Anyway, to break that pattern, a few weeks ago we started asking for recommendations on active but good western Euopean blawgs and Asia blawgs. The idea is at the February 23 post in "It's All Happening At The Zoo". The results so far are in the comments and linked to this site.
March 02, 2006
Once Again: Asia Law Blawgs, Anyone?
So far Tom Welshonce and I have located (and listed on this site) U.S./China-based China Law Blog by Seattle's Harris & Moure and ChinaBlawger by Beijing's well-known IP and business firm Lehman, Lee & Xu, founded years ago by my visionary IBLC friend Ed Lehman. Any other active and worthwhile English versions ones out there?
February 26, 2006
Round Two: Asia Blawgs?
Are there any good and active (updated at least weekly) China law, Japan law or other Asia blawgs out there you can recommend? See February 23 post. I'm still interested in locating legal weblogs currently available in English which either (1) originate in or (2) are about jurisdictions outside of North America. This week is Asia week.
February 23, 2006
Last Call: Western European Legal Weblogs? Or... It's All Happening at the Zoo.
So far I received--mainly from English, Scottish and Swedish lawyers--about 15 names of English-version western European blawgs in response to my posts over the last week. You can see them in the comments here. Any others? The short-term goal is to compile a list of active high quality (even profane and strident is okay-- i.e., Brits value oddity now and then) western European blawgs. Next, we'll put calls out for blawgs in Australia/New Zealand, China, Japan, Eastern Europe, South Africa, Russia, the Middle East, Latin America, etc. A few points on all this:
1. The long-term goal is to expand and deepen our running "conversation"--and help link American legal bloggers to lawyers and resources (both "legal" and non-legal) in other countries, other spheres and other on-line communities. Just as many of us would like to know what non-lawyer American bloggers are thinking and doing about the law, business, marketing and the world in general, some of us would also like to know what "foreign" lawyers are thinking and doing.
2. The Problem. American lawyers who blog--and bloggers everywhere for that matter--limit themselves in geography and audience. We tend to "talk to ourselves". That's ironic. Even though we are all in the ideas business--and even though we have this wonderful ability to reach people everywhere in a matter of seconds--we often limit ourselves to insular conversations in this discipline or that one, engaging primarily people "just like us". Well-educated Americans are guilty of this in and out of blogging.
3. Clients. If you have business clients--and even if you have mom-and-pop clients or solely clients which are individuals--you and your clients are likely very soon to be doing business abroad or for interests abroad if you are not already. It's all happening now--even for American litigators. Contact me and I'll give you examples of German and UK clients in our own practice.
4. Language barriers? This is primarily a North American problem. Foreign professionals--German, French, Spanish, Scandinavian and Latin American--are fluently speaking, writing and doing business in American English and "English" English with great skill. They have been for years. And many, many foreign sites now offer English versions as well. We don't need to master new languages.
February 21, 2006
Revisited: European blawgs anyone?
I'm still compiling a list of active worthwhile European legal blogs--especially those originating from or about the UK, Germany and France (English versions if possible), western Europe generally and the European Union. I've received some good responses (in comments to February 16 post) If anyone else of any nationality can recommend European sites they like and visit frequently, I would appreciate it.
February 16, 2006
European blawgs anyone?
I'm compiling a list of active worthwhile European legal blogs--especially those originating from or about the UK, Germany and France (English versions if possible), western Europe generally and the European Union. If anyone of any nationality can recommend European sites they like and visit frequently, I would appreciate it.
February 08, 2006
Yanks Abroad Gone Wild--Part 2
Lots of us are interested in geographic growth strategies--for our clients and for our firms. Particularly interesting to me (see recent post) are instincts like "growth for growth's sake" and "if it's there, we must conquer it". In that discussion, the WSJ Law Blog has also picked up on Bruce MacEwen's fine recent post in Adam Smith, Esq on the competency of U.S. law firm global expansion. David Maister noticed the post, too, and left a comment to Bruce's post referring to an article he wrote called Geographic Expansion Strategies which appeared a couple of years ago in some European and Australian papers. These are two fine articles. One notion common to both is the importance of deciding whether expansion even makes sense (at what price glory?) and--if so--devising a winning strategy you can really implement. Or, as David puts it, have you really "made yourself ready to win?"
Geographic expansion of a law firm is really an issue of geographic "coverage" of your clients' needs and activities. Whether your clients' activities are regional, national, global, or one square mile, can you get the work done? Expertly? Efficently? It's not a matter of your firm's geographic "location", your brick and mortar offices. Location is less and less important. No, I don't think (yet) that that good business clients these days are ready for virtual law firms, or that so-called "flattening" dynamics offered by technology will allow a solo or boutique firm to be competitive with Jones Day or or Clifford Chance in any given niche practice area. Most clients still expect brick and mortar locations, and will use 1000+ lawyer law firms when that makes sense. But the dust has settled enough in the evolving global economy that we can all start asking questions about future geographic expansion in terms of "geographic coverage" and not "law offices locations" to service clients in whatever locations the clients are active. For starters, in a given law practice area for a discrete industry, (1) how big/small and (2) where (brick and mortar) do you have to be to service good business clients no matter where they are active? And (3) what level (if any) of outsourcing will be acceptable to the client?
February 03, 2006
Yanks Abroad: Too Far, Too Fast the Wrong Way?
I was very interested to read a sober but wonderful post by Adam Smith (Bruce MacEwen) on global expansion by U.S. law firms abroad, especially in Europe, where my boutique firm is increasingly active but careful. It's called New Market Entry and the Cognitive Bias Minefield and worth reading. The post starts out "Global Expansion Junkies: I have bad news." Years ago, as young lawyers, a number of my friends and I in Washington, D.C. labored through "strategic" law firm mergers--all domestic and a couple of them pretty large for back then--which failed to bear lasting fruit. When things fell apart, as they often did, naturally clients and their lawyers alike were put at various types of risk. These were tough times to be service-oriented, and only the best lawyers could prevent the low morale from affecting their work for clients. In the mergers, "culture clash" was one problem, even between U.S. offices only 300 miles a part. The wrong mix of practice areas, inadequate due diligence and failure to analyze markets correctly were others. Lots of firms made mistakes. But the biggest overall problem was the pumping-iron kind of "let's get big--let's get really big!" ethos which is only human and was very 1980's. Lots of yellow ties, Hugo Boss suits and suspenders to go along with the bravado and hubris.
January 26, 2006
Will We All Be International Lawyers? Are We Already?
One of the things I've been trying to tell you all--like here in a September 30, 2005 post about the International Bar Association's meeting last year in Prague and the International Business Law Consortium my firm joined in 1998--is that law practice is changing. I am still not sure exactly why, how and how fast. But I am sure that the global economy's impact on competition in even the most basic and rudimentary service businesses is no New Age b.s.
Before law school I majored in History (not Economics) and wrote my honors thesis on something like "How the [Japanese] Shishi Got the Chutzpah to Overthrow the Bakafu". And, rather than Paul Samuelson, I read Chaucer, Melville and Hunter Thompson. So with these macro issues, I struggle. I speculate. I get comments and mail from people who imply I'm out of my area--and they are probably right.
So I'll stick to federal courts, the Clean Water Act Title VI appropriations for FY 2007, selling my firm's corporate tax and international practices, and making our clients happy. Besides, Adam Smith, Esq. (New Yorker Bruce MacEwen) discusses it a lot better in this recent post "Where Will Your Firm Be in 2015?" than I can, have thus far or likely ever could.
September 30, 2005
Think Globally, Act Globally?--It's a New World for Lawyers, Ready or Not...
Law practices with clients who trade across borders are becoming the norm.
This week about 3000 lawyers are meeting in Prague in the Czech Republic at the annual convention of the International Bar Association. The IBA has members ranging from solos to some of the largest firms in the world. If you have never been to a meeting of lawyers from jurisdictions all over the world, you should do it. The programs (about 260 in Prague this week!) are generally excellent and the contacts attractive. And whether you are already a full-time, experienced international customs and trade lawyer or are a state court litigator who rarely handles matters involving events outside your county, it's time to join an international group. Potential clients from outside the U.S. are all around you. And your U.S. clients may venture into Europe or Asia any day now.
Seven years ago my firm became the Pittsburgh member of the International Business Law Consortium and it forever changed the way we thought about clients, practicing law and marketing. Smaller than the IBA, the IBLC is an alliance of about 70 law and accounting firms, generally under 100 lawyers, in strategically located cities around the world. The firms meet 2 to 3 times a year in member cities -- generally western Europe and North and Latin America. (We just concluded a 3-day meeting in Dresden, Germany.) When and where appropriate, we use the lawyers of other member firms on client projects or outright refer work to other member firms.
If you aren't Baker & McKenzie or Freshfields, it's a good way to have "branch offices" without the liability issues faced by a large firm with branch offices. There are scores of lawyers groups like this worldwide. The trick is (1) to join one with first-rate firms and (2) to have some say as to recruitment of new members.
Why did we join the IBLC group in 1998? Just what did we gain?
(1) Outgoing work: the ability to get things done for our North American clients abroad. A number of our clients, traditionally served by much larger firms, like the idea of our being able to find lawyers who we say we know and trust in major commercial capitals of the world. Because the group is small and increasingly intimate, firms getting work from other member firms tend to make the work referred to them a priority and do their best work. There are unspoken but powerful group "sanctions" for mediocre service or dropping the ball in any way.
(2) Incoming work: foreign clients doing business or litigating here in the U.S. The group lets us meet new clients from abroad who don't need or want to use a 300+ lawyer U.S. or international firm to do its U.S. work. If we meet them through our IBLC members, we may become one of a handful of U.S. firms the foreign client even knows about or meets. That's positioning at its best.
(3) "A New Frame of Reference": We have picked up on some differences in folkways -- both major and subtle -- between parties and litigants in deals and ADR forums around the world which, frankly, I am embarrassed we were not adequately attuned to previously. We are learning new things.