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Overview

There is not truly one area of practice that would be encapsulated by the term “international law.” American lawyers who practice internationally can practice in myriad and varied areas. International trade lawyers help facilitate the movement of goods across borders and import-export laws, international treaties, and the litigation before the International Court of Trade. Project finance lawyers often focus on funding projects in one or more international markets, including Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Oil and gas attorneys are often involved in deals with or in oil-producing countries. Litigators who want to practice international law can focus on the growing area of international arbitration. An M&A attorney may have significant expertise in international transactions, an IP attorney may deal with protecting intellectual property assets in other territories, a bankruptcy attorney may deal with the various national laws that touch on the insolvency of a multinational corporation. What ties these disparate areas together is that they are often practices in the largest international firms, involve lawyers of various nationalities, and attract lawyers who like to travel and have expertise in geographic regions or languages. Some firms also have practices focused on specific regions outside of the U.S. Those following a nonprofit path may find legal positions with organizations that address global issues.

Featured Q&A's
Get an insider's view on working in International from real lawyers in the practice area.
Taisa Markus, Partner
White & Case LLP

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

I work across two practice areas—capital markets and bank finance. On the capital markets side, I represent both issuers and underwriters, and on the bank finance side, I represent both borrowers and lenders. In capital markets, I work on registered and 144A IPOs and other equity offerings, bond offerings, and liability management transactions. On the bank finance side, I work on unsecured, secured, and structured financings. It is a very broad-based practice compared to a domestic finance practice. All of the matters are cross-border, so I work with large teams across many jurisdictions. In emerging markets, a challenge is that often the deals are “first-ever” deals where there is no precedent or market practice. For me, this is a great opportunity to lead or participate in a team working to come up with novel solutions and setting market practice.

What types of clients do you represent?

I have represented the major investment and commercial banks in Latin America financings and some of the largest companies in Latin America in capital markets and banking transactions in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Brazil.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

I have worked on SEC-registered IPOs, home country IPOs with 144A sales in the U.S., and numerous bond offerings for industrial, consumer, and financial institution issuers.

How did you choose this practice area?

After working and spending time in Argentina, I knew I wanted to work in the region. The deals that were done in the early 1990s, when the market first opened up, were capital markets deals and bank finance deals. I had banking experience and broadened that experience to capital markets. There were very few lawyers at firms at the time with my language skills and substantive experience, so this was a great opportunity for me in terms of having a significant role in deal execution and leading a team.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

I try to have a brief organizational meeting with the deal teams every morning. Deals can be very fast moving, and things can change rapidly, so it is important for everyone to be coordinated so we are working efficiently and not at cross-purposes. I am on the phone in Spanish a large part of the day. Some of the calls are with clients to discuss open issues and set strategy. Others are with opposing counsel to negotiate agreements or with larger working groups to review status. I also spend a significant amount of time every day reviewing agreements and disclosures and making sure that key issues are identified and prioritized appropriately. I try to be available for questions and to provide guidance to the younger lawyers on the team, as good training and mentoring yields much better results for the client, for the lawyers, and, honestly, for me in terms of quality work.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

I would recommend that anyone interested in cross-border work take a course in conflicts of law. Understanding how to navigate conflicts and which law governs which aspect of a matter is fundamental to structuring a deal, executing it, and advising a client. It is the course that has proven most valuable to me in my career. It does not matter how much you do or do not know about any particular area if you can’t figure out what law governs. At times, this analysis is what will drive whether a particular structure or deal can or cannot be done.

What do you like best about your practice area?

I love working in the region and like to think of myself as an honorary Latin American. It has been very exciting to witness all the changes in the region, which, on a net basis, have been positive. These markets can be volatile, but they are tremendously promising for those who have patience. I will also say that over the years, while I may have worked very hard and faced difficult and frustrating situations, I have never ever been bored.

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

White & Case has the most extensive practice in Latin America of any law firm. We have more than 250 lawyers working in the region, all of whom speak Spanish or Portuguese or both. The Latin America practice covers not only capital markets and finance, but also project finance, arbitration, M&A, and white collar work. The firm places a high value on collaboration and, in particular, cross-practice collaboration, and this approach has resulted in our working on some of the highest-profile and interesting matters in the region.

Just a few highlights of market-leading matters in Latin America that have involved cross-practice collaboration include our representation of Corporación Quiport S.A. (Quiport), the concessionaire of the Quito International Airport, in connection with the US$400 million refinancing of its project financing in the international capital markets. We also worked on the ground-breaking financing for the National Routes 2 and 7 road project in Paraguay (the “Project”), the largest private investment in the history of Paraguay. White & Case advised Sacyr Concesiones S.L. and Ocho A S.A., as sponsors, Rutas del Este S.A., as borrower, and Rutas 2 and 7 Finance Limited, as issuer, in the financing for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the project.

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

On the capital markets side, a junior lawyer would be significantly involved in drafting and reviewing the relevant disclosure documents—the offering memorandum or prospectus specifically. This requires learning a lot about the issuer’s business and then learning how to describe that business in a securities law document, which is intended to both protect against securities law liabilities and to serve certain marketing purposes. A junior associate would also draft and negotiate the various deal documents, working their way up from simple closing certificates to high-yield bond covenants. On the bank finance side, a junior associate would participate in negotiations led by a senior associate or partner and assist with revisions or written comments to the documents. Most aspects of a closing would be run by junior associates, which presents a great opportunity to take ownership of documents and of the process.

Working in this region also gives associates significant opportunity to use and improve their language skills. We are always seeking people who are conversant in Spanish and Portuguese.

How can lawyers develop greater cultural intelligence in dealing with international transactions and matters?

Listen, and be self aware. Ask questions. Learn about a country, and learn the language.

Taisa Markus, Partner—Americas Capital Markets

Taisa is a partner in the firm’s Capital Markets practice in New York. She graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law, where she currently serves on the Board of Advisors, in 1986. Her practice focuses on cross-border securities offerings; cross-border bank finance; and M&A, restructurings, and general securities law matters. Taisa has significant experience representing both financial institutions and issuers, particularly in the Latin American and European capital markets. She also has in-depth knowledge of Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital securities across jurisdictions.

Industry press consistently recognizes Taisa as a leading lawyer for capital markets involving Latin American issuers. She is ranked for Banking & Finance and Capital Markets by Chambers Latin America and Chambers Global and as a Foreign Expert in Chambers USA. Taisa is also recognized in Latinvex as one of the top 100 lawyers specializing in Latin America.

Andrea M. Basham, Counsel
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

I represent our corporate clients in their strategic joint ventures and non-control investments, including through corporate venture capital programs, as they increasingly seek to hedge against potentially disruptive technologies by outsourcing risks and costs and gaining access to research and development, intellectual property, and innovation strategies. I also represent institutional investors of all types in a variety of non-control investments. In addition, I represent a number of companies in a broad range of corporate matters—including governance, disclosure, M&A, and financing transactions.

What types of clients do you represent?

My clients include a mix of companies and institutional investors. On the corporate side, I have represented clients across a variety of industries, including industrials (Stanley Black & Decker), media (New Media, Universal Music Group), technology (Alphabet/Google, MercadoLibre), financial services (The Hartford Financial Group), oil and gas (Carbo Ceramics), and payments (Evertec), among others. On the institutional investor side, I have represented private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds, asset managers, and hedge funds.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

Recently, my transactional work has been focused primarily on non-control and strategic minority investments by corporate and institutional investors. I have particularly enjoyed being part of my corporate clients’ evolution and growth in recent years with respect to their focus on emerging technologies. That work has included representing Alphabet/Google in its investment in SpaceX; Stanley Black & Decker in its varied investments in new technologies through its corporate venture capital arm; Stanley Ventures; and MercadoLibre in its combined $1.85 billion public and private/PIPE financing, which included a commercial arrangement with PayPal. I just represented Universal Music Group in connection with Tencent’s publicly announced purchase of 10 percent of the company from Vivendi and option to purchase a stake of UMG’s Greater China business.

How did you choose this practice area?

I knew coming out of college that I wanted to be a corporate lawyer and took two years to work in consulting to get to know the business world before going to law school. While I debated going to business school instead, what intrigued me most coming out of law school was being able to partner with business leaders to help them achieve their objectives. I particularly value the Global Transactions practice at Freshfields, given its forward-looking commitment to anticipating how economic changes and market shifts are likely to affect our clients and our practice, which allows us to be better lawyers to our clients.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

This is a great question, and I could use all of this space to talk about the different adventures a day can bring. One of the things I find to be the most fun about being a law firm lawyer is the variety of matters I deal with on any given day. The most significant part of my day is really about human interactions. I spend a lot of time on the phone or in person with current clients, whether it be advising a client with whom I’ve had a long relationship on a one-off question that has come up or spending several hours on a call or in a meeting negotiating a transaction agreement with a broad group of clients and their advisors. And I particularly enjoy business development and focusing on new client relationships, which is increasingly a part of all our practices. I also spend a lot of time with colleagues, and I value Freshfields’ commitment to an open culture and collegiality. In an era where technology often makes avoiding direct human interaction way too easy, I make a point every day to try to meet with my teammates on my transactions in person and to spend real time teaching the associates with whom I work. The second part of my day almost always involves reviewing of contracts or other types of documents, requiring focus and concentration and the time to think through difficult issues without interruption—easier said than done, but an incredibly rewarding part of the job to get right. The third part of my day is spent organizing—making sure I’ve been responsive to every question, planning what needs to be accomplished in the short and medium term and how to get there, and ensuring that I’ve appropriately delegated the various things that need to be done.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

The lawyers I look up to most are not necessarily those who have the best formal training or the most headline deal experience, but those who really commit to learning from every experience and remain adaptable throughout their careers. A corporate practice, and particularly one that is very transactional, involves a lot of people management, a lot of process management, and a lot of knowledge. No one is innately able to perfectly manage every deal, every problem, or every person that comes their way. We learn from each other. I think those who succeed the most are those who have paid attention to how others have performed successfully (or not) in similar situations and are able to implement their lessons learned in emulating the best aspects of them.

What do you like best about your practice area?

I love the variety of work and the variety of clients. At Freshfields, we don’t work in siloed industry or practice groups, and I’ve valued and sought to work in that sort of free-flowing, organic structure throughout my career. As a result, I’m always working on multiple projects for totally different clients. I particularly like the aspect of my practice that allows me to get to know the businesses of my different clients, and I am constantly learning something new. Most recently, this has included learning about what the 3D printers of the future might look like, how payments systems are rapidly evolving, and how music label contracts work.

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

What I find most unique about Freshfields’ New York Global Transactions practice, as compared to other “Wall Street” corporate law practices, is its approach and commitment to being a truly global firm. The firm’s commitment to continuing to grow its corporate practice in the U.S. is unparalleled. But also, in a world where nearly every transaction has some sort of cross-border element to it, whether large or small, the breadth of the firm’s expertise both across practice areas and jurisdictions around the world is an asset that I believe positions the firm particularly well to serve our clients on the complex transactions that we expect to see in the years to come.

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

The variety that I appreciate about my own practice is equally applicable to a junior lawyer’s role. The junior lawyer will often be the first point of contact for a client, which creates a real opportunity early in her or his career to start developing professional relationships. The junior lawyer will often be responsible for keeping track of all workstreams on a matter—keeping the trains running on time and knowing where each deal is at any given time is an exciting way to learn about the complexity of a transaction without having to immediately dive into the substance and technicalities of all of the different workstreams. The junior lawyer will often be the first to take a pencil to paper (or keyboard to screen) in drafting a document, and our culture endeavors to give a junior associate as much responsibility as he or she is willing and ready to handle.

How do you see this practice area evolving in the future?

I think clients today expect their legal advisors to understand their businesses and the economics of a transaction to an extent much greater than they did 5 or 10 years ago, and that trend will continue. As a result, being a corporate lawyer means not only getting the legal advice right, but being a businessperson and being able to counsel clients on both legal and commercial aspects of an issue or transaction. In my mind, this continues to make our practice more interesting, and I value working at a firm that makes this a priority. I also think (and hope) that our legal teams will continue to look more like the world around us. Clients are increasingly demanding that their providers field diverse teams, and they value the contributions of women and minorities in a way that I think has really come to the forefront in the last several years. I am particularly proud of how Freshfields has committed to diversity; our team is both incredibly diverse and incredibly committed to continuing to build with diversity as a primary goal. Lastly, clients are well aware of the efficiencies that technology offers with respect to certain elements of providing and delivering legal advice. Freshfields is out in front of this, figuring out how AI can help contract review, how precedent gathering can be more effective, and how drafting can be more efficient, among other things. On all of these fronts, I am proud to be part of a commitment to an open-minded and adaptable approach to being the advisors on the next generation of transactions.

Andrea M. Basham, Counsel — Global Transactions

Andrea is a counsel in the M&A practice of Freshfields’ New York office. Andrea advises companies in raising capital through public and private financing transactions and shareholders on their equity investments, including corporate venture capital programs. Her practice also focuses on disclosure and ongoing reporting obligations of public companies, public and private offerings of securities in the U.S. and elsewhere, and securities law and reporting aspects of M&A transactions involving public companies. Andrea received a J.D. degree in 2002 from New York University Law School, where she served on the Articles Committee of the NYU Law Review, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Vanderbilt University in 1997.

Antonia Sherman, Partner
Linklaters LLP

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

Our group handles all aspects of antitrust and competition practice, including cartels, merger control, behavioral issues, and civil litigation. I focus primarily on merger control, where we represent clients in merger control proceedings in the U.S. and elsewhere. Merger control refers to a review/investigation by an antitrust authority of an M&A transaction. At least 180 countries have merger control laws that require the parties to an M&A transaction to file a notification with a government agency describing their pending transaction and observe a waiting period prior to closing the deal. Because of the global nature of Linklaters’ practice and client base, our work tends to be multijurisdictional. When a deal comes to the team, we assess the combination to determine whether there is potential harm to competition and any product overlaps. If there are product overlaps, we evaluate how substantial they are and if the transaction is going to require a remedy or consent agreement with one or more government agencies so the deal can go through. At the same time, we determine where merger control filings are required and plot out the timeline for the antitrust process all the way through to closing, which is generally determined by whether there are substantive issues brought upon by an overlap that will require a remedy. We also engage with the regulators and defend the merger, setting out the procompetitive arguments as to why the transaction will not result in harm to consumers and, if applicable, why any proposed remedy would cure any potential harm.

What types of clients do you represent?

We work mostly with large multinational corporations in a wide variety of sectors, including energy, health care, industrial gasses, and mining. We often represent European, Canadian, and Latin American clients. In addition, we represent private equity firms, which have a global presence and so are often required to notify transactions in multiple countries, even if there are not any substantive issues.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

Most of our deals feature a cross-border element, given our multinational client base, and so we usually work closely with our Linklaters colleagues in Europe and Asia. In many transactions, we act as the quarterback for the transaction with local counsel in Latin America, Africa, India, and Australia, to name a few. One of our more recent deals was a cross-border merger of equals in the industrial gas industry—between Linklaters’ client Linde AG, a German company, and Praxair, Inc., a U.S. company—which involved merger clearances and remedies in many countries. The Linklaters team included antitrust, tax, corporate/M&A, and employment lawyers from New York; Washington, DC; Brussels; Munich; and London.

How did you choose this practice area?

I started my career as a legal assistant at a large firm in New York and had a few antitrust assignments. After law school, I returned to that firm and joined the antitrust group, subsequently transferring to the M&A group. After that, I joined Linklaters in the Litigation group and then transitioned to the U.S. Antitrust practice when it started up. It was very helpful for me to have a background in M&A and litigation because antitrust is an interdisciplinary practice area with transactional and litigation elements, as well as a hefty dose of economics.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

Given that I sit in Washington, DC, and many of our clients are in Europe and Asia, my day starts with a lot of early-morning calls with clients. We catch up on what happened with the deals overnight, and I fill the client in on the status of proceedings with U.S. agencies and various other jurisdictions that we are overseeing. I also spend time reviewing where filings might be required for transactions, speaking with M&A lawyers about antitrust provisions that should go into their agreements, completing a substantive assessment of a given transaction to see if there are going to be issues, and talking to the clients and experts about the products and market relating to a given deal. We also regularly go to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to discuss transactions.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

If you want to do merger antitrust work, it is key to understand how M&A transactions work. An economics background is really helpful since so much of what we do relates to economics. We do a lot of writing, analysis, and advocacy, so litigation-based classes and training are also really helpful. And, it goes without saying, I would recommend taking a couple of antitrust classes!

What do you like best about your practice area?

I really enjoy digging into various industries and have had the opportunity to learn a great deal about many different industries and products over the years. I frequently speak with businesspeople and others who are experts in their fields and are passionate about their products. It is interesting, fun, and stimulating to delve deeply into an industry in order to understand the dynamics of the market. Additionally, due to the global nature of most of our deals, I have been able to develop longstanding relationships with colleagues and local counsel all over the world.

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

What sets Linklaters’ Competition/Antitrust group apart is that it is a truly global practice group. Our group consists of around 160 dedicated competition lawyers sitting in New York; Washington, DC; London; Brussels; Düsseldorf; Madrid; Lisbon; Milan; Beijing; and Hong Kong—and no one office or region dominates the work. We cover mergers, cartels, civil litigation, and conduct and have strong working relationships with law firms all over the world, such as Allens in Australia, Webber Wenzel in South Africa, and TT&A in India. Almost all of our deal teams are composed of lawyers from all over the world working on global competition law on a daily basis. I really like my colleagues and very much enjoy working within a global team.

What kinds of experience can summer associates gain in this practice area at your firm?

We try to replicate the junior associate experience for our summer associates. Our goal is for a summer associate to finish the program with an understanding of what they would be doing for their first couple of years at the firm. This includes, for example, taking the first crack at an overlap analysis in order to assess whether there are any issues with a transaction, researching and drafting memos on antitrust issues, and helping with U.S. and non-U.S. filings and submissions. We also take summer associates to meetings at the FTC and the DOJ and invite them to be on conference calls with clients, government agencies, and other counsel. On the cartel side, summer associates could be involved with witness interviews, internal investigations, and the drafting of research questions, in addition to contributing to briefs, motions, and the like.

How can lawyers develop greater cultural intelligence in dealing with international transactions and matters?

Be globally minded and curious, read the news, listen to podcasts, immerse yourself in international affairs and business generally and regarding the countries you are working with specifically. Develop an understanding of how these countries, via their media, view the U.S., including the conceptions they have about the U.S. and its politics. Be inclusive—avoid being U.S.-centric and making assumptions about others, whether they are from the U.S. or abroad. Just as you aren’t the spokesperson for your country, neither are they for theirs. Be respectful, polite, sensitive, and open-minded.

Antonia Sherman, Partner — Competition/Antitrust

Antonia Sherman is a partner in Linklaters’ Competition/Antitrust practice based in Washington, DC. She represents clients in merger and non-merger investigations before the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice. She provides advice on the antitrust aspects of mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other business arrangements, with a particular focus on complying with and obtaining merger clearances, both under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Act and the laws of non-U.S. jurisdictions. She has broad experience with general commercial and antitrust litigation in state and federal courts. Antonia serves on the Recruitment and Retention Committee for the firm’s global U.S. practice. She graduated with a B.A. from Amherst College and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law.

Paula Anderson, Partner
Shearman & Sterling

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

I’m a litigator by training, but when people ask me to describe my practice, I sum it up this way: I help large multinational companies operating in various high-risk jurisdictions across the world fight corruption and create a culture of compliance.

A large part of my practice is anti-corruption compliance, which includes internal investigations into allegations of potential violations of anti-corruption laws. I also assist companies in responding to government investigations and advise companies on anti-corruption risks involved in expanding into new markets, particularly emerging markets. I also assist companies with transactional due diligence, advising on corruption risks associated with potential targets and helping them devise plans to mitigate those risks, both from a compliance and operational standpoint. The other part of my practice is civil litigation—including shareholder class action lawsuits, complex commercial litigation, and cross-border disputes.

What types of clients do you represent?

My clients are predominantly large, multinational companies operating in various markets around the globe. We represent companies who are leaders in a number of different industries, including media, technology, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, mining, finance, food and beverage, and consumer goods. I also represent individual directors and officers under investigation for potential FCPA violations, and in shareholder lawsuits when they are accused of breaches of their fiduciary duties.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

Some of my most notable cases include representing (i) Synthes, Inc. in a shareholder class action challenging the company’s $20 billion acquisition by Johnson & Johnson, (ii) the former CEO and General Counsel of a foreign subsidiary of a major multinational company in connection with a global FCPA investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and (iii) Liberty Global, Inc. in a shareholder class action challenging its $23 billion acquisition of Virgin Media Inc. In addition, our firm was appointed as an independent Foreign Corruption Practices Act (“FCPA”) compliance monitor for Baker Hughes, as well as for York International, as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ and SEC following charges for FCPA violations. I led teams in multiple countries across the world for both of these monitorships, collecting and reviewing documents, interviewing witnesses, conducting forensic accounting analyses, and reporting to the DOJ and SEC on our findings.

How did you choose this practice area?

International law has always intrigued me. I was born and raised in Barbados, and my parents immigrated to the U.S. when I was two years old. I chose Shearman & Sterling because of the firm’s global footprint and the opportunity to work with international clients and on international matters. I started off at the firm as a junior associate working on international arbitration matters. As a mid-level associate, I started to do more work in the compliance and FCPA space. Today, I continue to help clients navigate the provisions of the FCPA and work with different regulators and enforcement authorities in the U.S. and around the world.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

A lot of my work involves traveling to conduct interviews on the ground in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. When I’m not traveling, I spend much of my time reviewing and editing interview memos, preparing investigation reports for company boards and management, interacting with regulators, drafting and editing briefs, working with financial and forensic accounting experts, and appearing in court on behalf of my clients.

I’m also the relationship partner for a number of the firm’s key clients. In addition, I’m the associate development partner at the firm responsible for initiatives like trainings and mentoring programs to support the career development of our associates. I also sit on the Recruiting Committee and am actively involved in our inclusion networks and related initiatives.

Additionally, I do a lot of pro bono work in the international arena. Every year, I conduct trial advocacy trainings in East Africa in partnership with a nonprofit organization called Lawyers Without Borders (“LWOB”). We team up with LWOB to lead advocacy trainings for prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement personnel in those jurisdictions, focused on prosecuting cases of human and wildlife trafficking. I conduct similar training for prosecutors at the International Criminal Court, focused on prosecuting war crimes and crimes against humanity. These are just a couple of examples of the breadth of our pro bono practice. Lawyers across our 23 offices completed more than 40,000 hours of pro bono work in 2019.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

I would advise any law student who is interested in working on FCPA matters to take an international law class focusing on anti-corruption. I also recommend taking business courses and classes in forensic accounting. It’s important in this field to understand our clients’ businesses so that our advice takes into account practical business considerations. We also need to be knowledgeable about current world events and the socioeconomic climate of the various jurisdictions in which these matters arise. It’s essential to have the proper context to evaluate the information we uncover in the investigations and interviews so that we can most effectively advise our clients.

What is the most challenging aspect of practicing in this area?

Perhaps the most challenging aspect is working in different time zones. When I’m traveling for investigations, it’s often to the other side of the world, and when my day ends there, it’s just beginning in the U.S. There’s also the aspect of being on the road a lot and being away from your family and kids. So, when they are not in school and it’s feasible to do so, I try to take my children with me on some of my trips. At just three months old, my son traveled with me to London, and by five, he had already traveled with me on work trips to Amsterdam, South Africa, and Tanzania.

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

The junior lawyers on my team are involved in every aspect of our investigations. They’re the key fact-finders, so they conduct a focused review of the documents to follow the narrative and the money. They work to figure out who was involved and what really took place. The junior lawyers also help put together our witness kits for witness interviews, draft witness outlines, attend interviews, prepare witness interview memos, and draft reports for clients. For example, one of our first-year associates accompanied me on a trip to Turkey for an investigation for a major multi-national company. This associate did all the document review prior to the trip, prepared the witness kits, drafted outlines, and attended and participated in the interviews. I’ve also had summer associates accompany me on investigations in India and Brazil.

How do you see this practice area evolving in the future?

As anti-corruption enforcement expands outside of the U.S., I see the practice becoming even more global. In recent years, we’ve seen more enforcement efforts by the U.S., along with a lot more cooperation between the U.S. authorities and foreign authorities in launching investigations. The resolutions of these cases have also become global in nature. As a practitioner, it’s now imperative to know and understand foreign anti-corruption laws and to be familiar with enforcement authorities outside of the U.S.

How can lawyers develop greater cultural intelligence in dealing with international transactions and matters?

You have to experience different cultures out there in the field. There is simply no substitute for real-world, on-the-ground experience. You also need to stay current with world events and understand the global economy. It is also helpful to read relevant industry publications and to join a bar association committee that is focused on international law matters.

When we are advising clients looking to expand their operations into new geographic markets, we need to advise not just on the legal aspects. We need to consider the sociopolitical landscape and what trends and developments we see happening in those regions. It’s extremely important to be knowledgeable about these things, so that we can provide a comprehensive, 360-degree perspective for our clients.

Paula Anderson, Partner — Litigation

Paula Anderson is a partner in Shearman & Sterling LLP’s Litigation practice. Her experience is broad, with an international focus, and encompasses a wide range of areas, including internal and government investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and global anti-corruption compliance, cross-border litigation, bankruptcy litigation, antitrust, M&A-related litigation, and international arbitration.

Her clients include global leaders in the finance, technology, insurance, automotive, telecommunications, oil and gas, engineering, media and entertainment, consumer goods, health care, and manufacturing industries.

Paula received a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where she was class valedictorian.

Sarah Travis, Senior Counsel
Allen & Overy LLP

Describe your practice area and what it entails.

My practice area is transactional capital markets, specifically focused on U.S. SEC-registered and unregistered equity and debt offerings and other capital-raising transactions, corporate governance and board advisory, and ongoing U.S. and foreign private-issuer public-company representation. On a day-to-day basis, this involves significant interaction with a wide range of clients and other parties—private equity sponsors, public-company senior-management teams and board members, investment bankers, financial advisors, and SEC staff.

What types of clients do you represent?

We represent private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies, U.S. public companies, investment banks, and other entities involved in strategic acquisitions and capital-raising transactions.

What types of cases/deals do you work on?

We often represent private equity sponsors and/or their U.S. public portfolio companies in connection with capital-raising and strategic M&A transactions. This includes SEC-registered, public M&A transactions, registered and unregistered equity (common stock, preferred stock, or warrants), and debt (high-yield, investment-grade, or convertible bonds) offerings and ongoing public company Exchange Act reporting.

How did you choose this practice area?

I discovered it “by accident.” I started working in the fall of 2009, when much of the corporate transactional work being done in large law firms was bankruptcy and restructuring related. I sat in the M&A group of my law firm and thought I wanted to be an M&A lawyer. After working on several large, high-profile restructuring transactions that involved U.S. public companies and their private equity and hedge fund creditors, I discovered “capital markets” and was drawn to the combination of corporate transactional and rules-based securities work in the practice. Having to learn and abide by the rules and requirements of a regulatory body (the SEC) while being involved in a dynamic transactional practice appealed to me.

What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?

My practice is a combination of transaction-based work and ongoing reporting/advisory work, so my day to day can vary significantly. I find myself on the phone with the general counsels of my public company clients virtually every day, advising them on any number of items. On the transactional side, things can be extremely busy or not as busy, based on the ebb and flow of any specific transaction or the impact of the larger market on the timing/pace of a deal. The SEC reporting and advisory work is a great counterpoint to the unpredictability of the transactional side—I always know when my clients’ 10-Ks or proxy statements are due and what will be involved in helping them to prepare. I’ve never been someone who wanted a nine-to-five job. I would get bored, so the dynamism of this job is perfect for me.

What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?

My practice involves a lot of work with accountants, investment bankers, and other financial-industry participants, including the finance and treasury teams at public companies. These people tend to think about things in a different way than lawyers do. Being cognizant of this and having some exposure to reading and reviewing financial statements and the notes to the statements are great assets. This does not mean you need a significant financial background—more just an awareness that there will be “numbers” in your practice!

What is the most challenging aspect of practicing in this area?

The “jargon.” In U.S. securities work, there are a lot of words, forms, rules, and other seemingly esoteric references that can be intimidating to junior attorneys. There can be a steep learning curve for this jargon, and it can take time for junior attorneys to feel that they are really “mastering” the terminology of the practice. That said, there is undoubtedly a “lightbulb” moment for junior associates, usually after they’ve done their first few transactions, where all of that jargon starts to coalesce into something they can relate to and understand. You start to see how the pieces fit together. This is one of the best moments as a junior associate in the practice. You get that “I’m a real lawyer” feeling!

What do you like best about your practice area?

My practice is a combination of law and business advisory work. Especially with private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies, we get the opportunity to really get to know the businesses and the management teams and learn a lot about what makes each business “tick.” Learning about all different types of businesses and industries and navigating the personalities and complexities of each one is a daily challenge. I think it keeps us on our toes and makes things fun and interesting!

What is unique about your practice area at your firm?

Given A&O’s global reach, we have exposure to and experience with a wide range of clients from across virtually all jurisdictions. There is a unique challenge to advising non-U.S. clients on the intricacies of U.S. securities law, so our platform enhances the challenge and fun of the practice. Also, because we are a global firm but still growing in New York, our practice’s scope and breadth is wider than in many New York firms. We do not have “silos” within the general securities portion of the ICM group, so our attorneys are exposed to a wide range of work from the very beginning.

What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?

Junior associates are valued members of our transaction teams. We do not believe in separating out tasks solely for junior lawyers. All of the attorneys on our teams do substantive work on all matters, and virtually all have direct client-facing interactions. The junior associates that work with me do a lot of interfacing with the general counsels and senior management of our public-company clients.

Sarah Travis, Senior Counsel—International Capital Markets – General Securities

Sarah is senior counsel in the International Capital Markets group in Allen & Overy’s New York office, concentrating on public and private securities offerings, such as registered equity offerings—including IPOs—and convertible and high-yield bond offerings. She also works on restructuring transactions and business acquisitions—including exchange offers and public mergers. Her practice includes acquisition financing transactions, exchange offers, debt tender offers, consent solicitations, and other capital markets transactions in a wide variety of industries in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. Sarah also assists clients in the filing and maintenance of shelf registration statements, including universal shelf registrations, and counsels clients on corporate governance and advisory matters as well as ongoing disclosure and compliance.

Sarah graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and Cornell Law School.

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