Transnational Lawyering: Clients, Ethics, and Regulation

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Flood, John
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Levin L.C. and Mather L.
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Transnational lawyering is a field dominated by the large law firms and their lawyers. With transactions measured in the billions of dollars, these deals often fall into the "bet the house" category, which means it is not the occasion to try out a new law firm. Toe risk of experimentation comes at too high a cost. Transnational lawyering does not fit the normal categories of lawyering. The following is typical. Santander, a Spanish bank, listed its Brazilian subsidiary on the Sao Paulo stock exchange for $8 billion (McLeod-Roberts 2009). Toe New York law firm of Shearman & Sterling acted for the syndicate banks leading the deal (Santander Investment. Credit Suisse, BoA Merrill Lynch, UBS, and BTG Pactual). Davis Polk & Wardwell, another New York law firm, advised Santander in Spain. Even though Shearman had acted for Santander in Brazil for a number of years, the bank wanted its Spanish advisers to work with it, so Shearman switched sides in the deal. Two Brazilian firms advised on local law; and the in-house lawyers at Santander also worked on the deal. What is worth noting here is that this deal, picked at random, is not unusual. Toe law firms are essentially New York firms with international practices: Davis Polk has a Madrid office, and Shearman has one in Sao Paulo; and the lawyers are a mix of local and American. Toe local law firms in Brazil and the in-house lawyers in Santander were used for minor matters. These types of transactions commonly use large law firms from New York or London, or possibly from one of the other major world metropolises.

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Lawyers in Practice: Ethical Decision Making in Context
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