On Wednesday, October 19th, the BBA will be hosting a CLE titled Doing Business in Canada: Key Considerations for U.S. Lawyers, where a panel of experts will discuss a broad array of issues dealing with corporate, tax, employment and cross-border litigation. This theme of this week's program got BBA Week wondering what fun or unique places our members have gone on business, so we asked:

"What is the most interesting business trip you have been on? "

If you would like to respond to a future Voices of the Bar, make sure you send a headshot, and contact Eric Fullerton at efullerton@bostonbar.org.

 

Julia  Huston – Foley Hoag
"I recently vacationed in Vancouver and was able to visit a client at the same time.  My family and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch and a behind-the-scenes tour at the client's brewery, and he and his wife also hosted us for brunch at their house (our two year olds played together).  It was a rare mix of business and pleasure that really worked!"

 

Luke T. Cadigan - K&L Gates LLP
"I once had to take testimony of a witness under the Hague Convention in a German court in the small town of Wolfratshausen, Germany.  Following German practice, the judge dictated for the record his summary of the testimony after each question and answer.  With all the translating that had to be done on top of it, the process was pure torture." 

Laura L. Carroll - Burns & Levinson LLP
"Considering that I have been representing Canadian companies in U.S. legal matters for many years, it's no surprise that two of my most interesting business trips have been Canada related.  A few years ago, I traveled to a client’s seafood processing facility located on an isolated harbor on the northern coast of Newfoundland, so that the parties' experts could observe the shellfish processing operation from start to finish.  Following that inspection, our client was voluntarily dismissed as a defendant when plaintiff's expert could no longer opine that our client’s product could have caused plaintiff's illness.  Some years earlier, I represented another Canadian client which had received customer complaints and returns of poor quality product.  Our investigation revealed that a distributor in the Midwest had obtained counterfeit packaging bearing our client's trademarks, into which it had packed lower quality products.  We tracked down the box manufacturer in Ohio, served a subpoena, and ended up conducting the deposition on the box company's loading dock, as the deputy sheriff/process server helpfully stood watch."

 

Chesley Oriel - Goldberg & Oriel
"The most interesting business related trip I have ever been on was in August of 2009. With about two weeks notice, I went to Cairo, Egypt with a Massachusetts client who suddenly developed a business connection in Egypt. Although he is a US citizen, he was born in Egypt, and so he was quite familiar with the Country. I never dreamed that I would see the Pyramids or take a dinner cruise down the Nile. Besides having a meeting at the US Embassy, we traveled to different parts of the country. It was an amazing trip for a Framingham based lawyer with a "general practice."

Howard D. Medwed - Burns & Levinson LLP
"That's a tough one; I've been on 3 interesting foreign trips, a trip to Rome to negotiate the purchase of a film, a trip to Ireland to negotiate the succession plan for a company with dual U.S. and German ownership and Irish interests and a trip to Moscow to settle the estate of a Russian tycoon with dual U.S.-Russian citizen heirs. The Moscow trip was the most fascinating. My name means "bear" in Russian so I was welcomed as a prodigal son returning to the fold. My client arranged VIP treatment so I had a hotel room with a view of the Kremlin, attended a performance of the Bolshoi  Ballet, had a personal guide to the Kremlin and other places in Moscow and saw some marvelous Russian art. I also learned a great deal about intestate succession in a community property state and dealt with the challenge of planning for a company which became an instant "controlled foreign corporation" for U.S. tax purposes.  Most interesting was getting accustomed to the difference between U.S. and Russian business cultures. I understand that little has changed since Soviet days, only what was illegal then is legal now, but U.S. law followed U.S. citizens then and does now."


Thomas M. Madden - Little Medeiros Kinder Bulman & Whitney
"The business trip that stays with me most was my first …
While At Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine in New York, I took the shuttle to Washington, DC to hand deliver registration statements to the SEC and return with date stamped copies.
It was a rite of passage back in the day before electronic filing…"

Roy J. Watson, Jr. - Watson Law Offices
"In 1980, I flew to Geneva, Switzerland to try and apply for entry visas for an Iranian family at the height of the Iranian Hostage crises with the American Embassy workers being held hostage.  When I was finally brought into meet privately with the Consul general in Bern, Switzerland to present my client's case, I tried (as I often did) to "break the ice" and ease tensions by stating: "I am Armenian, and we are generally considered to be the Ambassadors of the Middle East."  As soon as I said that, I saw her whole body stiffen and her hand moved to what I knew was an emergency "alert" button under her desk to summon in the Marine guards.  I quickly moved on without further incident, and only later did I realize that the morning headlines reported that a group calling itself "The Armenian Justice Commandos" had - that morning - blown up the Turkish ambassador's car!   (The visas were all approved, and the family now has green cards.)  Always check the morning headlines!!


I allowed my client to "book" my lodging.  He "booked" me into a large apartment where a woman "rented out rooms."  As a result, I spent an entire week, actually "sharing" space with my client and another Iranian family who spent every waking minute "quizzing" me about the options and status of his case.   As a consequence, I spent pretty much the whole week just walking the streets of Geneva to get out of the apartment and away from them.  Rule #2, never let your client make you travel / lodging arrangements!  These are the lessons we learn in our youth that give us "wisdom" in our old age."