Monday, October 09, 2006

I Wonder if This Makes My Degree in International Law More Valuable:

LL.M. 2001, Temple University (JD/MBA 1999).

See David Bernstein's post where he notes Harvard Law has just revamped its first year curriculum to require fewer of the traditional common law courses and replace them with, among other things, a course in international law. Many commenters are skeptical of the practicality of the move.

I love this comment from a practitioner in the field:

One of the things that I tell my clients is that now that I am no longer an attorney, I can tell them the things that no attorney will tell them, among which is the fact that a contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Oh, I exaggerate, of course. Sure, it's important to hammer out the details of what, where, when and so on. But at the end of the day, if there is a real dispute between you and your client, are you really going to sue them in a Japanese court of law? Nonesense. You don't have the resources. It's better to cut your losses and move on.

So the bottomline is that it's far more important to do your due diligence in investigating who is your partner, and then spend time developing that relationship. I say it time and again, all international trade is based on personal relationships. If you have a good relationship, you will work things out. If not, then you just have to move on.

Took me a long time to learn that. But clients respond very favorably to that, because that's a businessman's approach to the real world.

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

I'm headhunter for lawyers, not one myself.

I had one case where I had a job on offer for a litigator I knew. It would have paid $100K more than he was making.

He didn't want to pursue it because he was in the middle of a lawsuit against a contractor who made a wall fall down on the lawyer's house.

A year later, the contractor had disappeared and there was no one to collect the judgement from. Meanwhile, the job had been filled.

I, amateur that I am, had attempted to advise the litigator from the first that no one ever really wins a lawsuit. You'd think he'd have known better.

A principle I've learned in the cutthroat world of dealmaking is that the honor that your current deal is regarded with is directly proportional to the parties' interest in doing the next one. The only way to ensure good business is the prospect of more of the same.