Archive for October, 2006

Attention International Law and Diplomacy Aficionados: New Book about Prince Bandar

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

 International lawyers who follow diplomatic developments will enjoy a newly released book about Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar, who served as the Saudi ambassador to the United State 1983-2005:  The Prince:  The Secret Story of the World’s Most Intriguing Royal:  Prince Bandar Bin Sultan by William Simpson (2006 Harper Collins). 

Last night I dined with the author (Bill Simpson) and learned about his friendship with Prince Bandar.  As peers and fencing partners at the British Royal Air Force College, Cranwell,  Simpson and the Prince forged a close bond. 

Simpson regaled us with stories of diplomatic intrigue from the book.  He also explained why Prince Bandar has become such an accomplished international figure.  The son of son of Crown Prince Sultan and a servant, Prince Bandar spent his early years living in primitive conditions, being raised solely by female relatives.  Given that his beginnings were less auspicious than those of his fully royal half siblings, Bandar always worked hard to get his father’s approval.  According to the author, this incredible drive has helped the Prince to excel in everything he does. 

Simpson also credits Bandar’s having spent his early years exclusively among women of humble origins (in contrast to a traditional Saudi prince’s upbringing) for some of the Prince’s open mindedness and diplomatic talent. 

The author was both charming and well spoken.  He clearly knows Prince Bandar well, and in fact, Prince Bandar collaborated closely on the book. It’s next on my reading list.

Lawyer Versatility is Key in a Global World

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

International lawyers recognize the importance of versatility. Their practices often cross boundaries into multiple disciplines.  In this global economy, young associates, as well as seasoned partners, need to develop broad skills across traditional practice lines. 

In his recent article titled We Listened to Associates; Now Partners Have to do Their Bit for British, David Morley, Worldwide Managing Partner of Allen & Overy wrote, “…we need to develop versatile lawyers capable of working in more than one discipline. So when a partner has career discussions with an associate who wants to experience other practice areas, we must encourage that where we can.”

Mr. Morley recognizes that to retain top talent and prepare this talent for long-term legal careers amid globalization, versatility is key.  His law firm will also try to give associates more helpful feedback and will award individual associate bonuses based on each associate’s contribution to the firm.  According to Mr. Morley, “…we now have greater flexibility to work as a global business in local markets.” 

International Experience without Living Overseas

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

 In Global Experience Isn’t Always Overseas, the Wall Street Journal’s explores how US-based executives can enhance their international credentials even though they live and work from a US base.  The article profiles two US-based execs who, through frequent trips abroad and global savvy, have enhanced their reputations as international businessmen.  

As the article correctly notes, it’s important to communicate this expertise to the rest of the world:  “Outside the workplace, you can showcase your U.S. oversight of international operations by spelling out the frequency of your foreign trips in your resume, giving speeches and promoting your acumen in the press.”

 Lawyers wanting to emphasize their international expertise–take heed.  Comb your background for every bit of your international experience, even if you handled an international law question tangentially when working on another matter.  Keep a list of this experience so that you have concrete examples to cite when speaking to prospective clients.  And, as the WSJ article notes, be mindful in your marketing; write articles, give speeches and the like about international matters to establish yourself as an expert.

Expat Women Still Face Thick Glass Ceiling

Saturday, October 14th, 2006

As the British Telegraph discusses, breaking the glass ceiling is harder abroad.  Professional women still face particular challenges when sent as expats to the Middle East and Africa, according to this article.

Winning Alternatives to Hourly Billing

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Read my recent review of Winning Alternatives to the Billable Hour:  Strategies that Work in the October/November issue of The Houston Lawyer.  If you are looking for creative billing structures, this book will help you to develop some.