Scott Schwind, a graduate of the University of Texas Law School, recently joined the law firm of Jones Day in Houston, Texas. The firm plans to practice internationally, particularly in Latin America and Africa, which drew the interests of Schwind. Schwind had a unique opportunity to study during his second year of law school in Brazil at a local university and gained experience as an unpaid intern at a local law firm and later became fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and French. Clearly, this man is qualified to practice in Brazil, and certain Portuguese speaking countries in Africa (oil transactions involving Portuguese speaking entities are his specialty) while still maintaining a good deal of work in Houston. Upon learning about the unique qualifications of Schwind as well as his passion for working across borders, two questions came to mind. Should US law schools expand their horizons more aggressively for students interested in such International Practices? And second, should certain regulations be imposed universally on such lawyers, or should the jurisdictional rules apply.
It’s clear that the jurisdictional implications are a very sensitive issue due to differences in governmental and legal structures in various nations, but with the increasing volume of international interactions (business and otherwise), there is a potential for consensus to lead to greater ease in such interactions. Predictability of outcomes has always been a factor businesses rely upon in planning transactions and uniformity could aide international commerce moving forward. Of course, many business firms enter into private agreements with the parties to a transaction setting forth the rules of law and jurisdictions to be used in particular situations. Generally, however, these agreements deal with disputes arising out of the relationship, and do not have implications on the initial dealings of the parties. Should nations work together to form a consensus that provides greater predictability than the current international documents?
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