Canadian Lawyer Magazine has published a new profile of Robert Amsterdam, founding partner of Amsterdam & Partners LLP, titled “Skirting Danger Abroad.” An excerpt of the article appears below:
The lure of exploring other countries and learning about their political systems attracted Amsterdam to international law and kept him interested over the past decades. “I think the creativity of it and the ethereal nature, the fact that it blends law, politics and sociology together is what I find terribly exciting.”
He credits his early love of travel for keeping him feeling at home in some of the most difficult places in the world, including many developing nations where he continues to work. His firm helps businesses navigate emerging markets, identify their political risk and insulate them against civil suits and criminal charges. Despite not being licensed to practise law in most of those countries, his extensive experience and good local contacts help to protect his clients from the many pitfalls that can accompany working in countries where there’s not always a clear line between the legal and political.
Unlike larger firms that he says will go into a country using internationally recognized lawyers who graduated from some of the world’s top universities, he prefers to hire local lawyers on the ground — people familiar with the area’s customs and culture. The lawyers he hires may not always have the most clean-cut reputation, he says, but they’re the ones who get results. “I want someone who doesn’t speak English. I want someone who is not internationally connected to other foreigners … I want to know what’s happening on the ground. I want an old criminal lawyer. I often tell my clients, if he has a full set of teeth, I don’t want him.”