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Posted Abroad: Law Firm Associates Go International

published June 18, 2003

Matthew Ahn
( 206 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
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Over the past decade, international has become the buzzword of choice for almost every industry, and law is no exception. The idea of the global law firm made the transition from pipe dream to reality as foreign legal markets began to open up and domestic law firms began to spawn overseas branches by the dozen. This has been particularly true of large U.S. law firms, which have been able to capitalize on the near-universal acceptance of American corporate law as the international legal standard. Almost any foreign transaction which has repercussions in the U.S. (read: virtually every foreign transaction) is subject to regulation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; as a result, a whole new spectrum of opportunities has opened up to attorneys.
Posted Abroad: Law Firm Associates Go International

Ramez Nasser, an associate in the U.S. law group of Allen & Overy in London, describes the global lawyer as someone who delights in a "truly international practice with a genuinely entrepreneurial spirit. Those who enjoy accepting responsibility, travel, and intellectual challenge will find it a perfect fit."

Who Can Go Abroad?
JDs are regularly offered the chance to travel outside the country to work on single transactions or arbitrations, and firms encourage them to accept temporary overseas postings. Tsugu Watanabe, a partner in the global project finance department at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy in New York, regularly travels to the Tokyo office. "Rising second-year associates at Milbank are offered the opportunity to undertake a voluntary rotation in an overseas office for two to three months. This program is designed to expose associates at an early stage in their careers to the breadth and excitement of practicing in one of our international offices," says Watanabe. "Because our overseas offices are smaller and the number of lawyers staffed on deals is lower, young associates often have more individual responsibility and get greater hands-on experience than they might in one of our U.S. domestic offices."