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Becoming an international lawyer

The word ‘International lawyer’ looks attractive for someone to use it as title. However, to be called an international lawyer one has to have proficiency in more than one language and expertise in business laws applicable in more than one jurisdiction as it involves parties, laws or assets in more than one jurisdiction. It requires that one should be more knowledgeable compared to an ordinary consultant on such issues. And for that we need to have a better understanding of the directions the legal profession is heading in, including the trends in the marketplace, and what the clients expect?

The fact is that dispute resolution is an important function in international arena as it involves parties form different jurisdictions and in that kind of scenario involved parties from different jurisdictions and the forums opt for settlement of their disputes at a jurisdiction of their own choice1.

From what has been stated above, it is evident that International Laws per se may not be a moot point and in a given situation the important thing would be that where one’s interests arise in more than one jurisdiction, the same makes it a subject of International Jurisdiction. For example, a South Asian businessman purchases machinery form a German Seller through a contract of sale. Sale contract defines that in the event of a dispute how settlement will be made and which country’s courts or institution will have jurisdiction. Now say as per contract jurisdiction may be that of Switzerland, in that case one who conducts litigation must know the rules applicable in Switzerland, that is why that the need for lawyers who possess the expertise of laws of more than one jurisdiction is growing.

Hence one who intends to work in these areas should develop his profile in the areas which have been discussed. These new forces of business and International Trade are reshaping the legal profession, because a number of factors such as cost pressures, liberalisation and new technology are the drivers who are radically changing the ways of legal practice2.

Reshaping and change is desirable in a number of areas of the legal practice. The areas in which lawyers have to adapt include: Decomposing legal work,3 embracing liberalization,4 and legal education.5 It means one has to learn that how to outsource services which can be obtained cheaply, conforming and adapting to pressures from major businesses and to have an awareness that how the market for legal services is unfolding.

In order to develop a successful international career path we need to have a solid understanding of the forces that are shaping the new directions in order to apply these ideas. Learn the lawyers practice law and apply ideas across the world. In order to be more aware about such changes one has to become member of an International Lawyer Association6. Social media can also be used to communicate ideas and commentary to other lawyers, clients and business leaders. This way of thinking can provide us ways to respond properly.

For example, in order to be more active one must join associations like International Bar Association, New York State Bar, Law Society of England and Wales. These organisations can guide us to the new possible areas of practice7. In order to have an International outlook one has to understand the new trends in business culture. The cultural sensitivity is of enormous importance in the global scene8.

The law firms in future will prefer to have dual qualified lawyers who can give a better international perspective on their commercial goals. For to become an international lawyer one has to have knowledge and skills to practice in the areas such as the nature of legal service market, expectations of clients, and to be street smart for to become an International Lawyers.

(The writer is an advocate and is currently working as an associate with Azim-ud-Din Law Associates Karachi)

1. For example dispute settlement through Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce is possible both at Singapore and Paris.

2. Richard Susskind, Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction to Your Future.

3. This means stripping out the tasks and processes that can be performed more cheaply and more efficiently by others, leaving the valuable work to be carried out by the lawyers themselves.

4. Even though the legal profession is famously resistant to change, it seems inevitable that change will come, either from above, such as in the UK, or from below, in the form of pressure from major businesses. We mustn’t run from it, but embrace it, and use it as a platform for establishing our thought leadership.

5. Learning not just how to think and work like a lawyer, but also how the legal services market is changing, and developing new skills that are relevant for the market today and tomorrow.

6. These associations are a great platform for sharing ideas and practices.

7. Such as Corporate Commercial, Arbitration, Banking and Finance, competition, Anti Trust Construction, Insurance and International Trade

8. In order to do business with different nationality is to read as much has possible above correct ways of doing business in that particular jurisdiction.

Zafar Azeem, "Becoming an international lawyer," Business recorder. 2015-06-18.
Keywords: Social sciences , Social issues , International lawyer , Legal profession , Criminal jurisdiction , International Jurisdiction , International trade , Social media , Commercial goals , International bar association , Finance , England , UK