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New York Dispute Resolution Lawyer

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Globalization is a “force majeure” that is growing and shaping the practice of law. As increasing numbers of New York lawyers represent clients in transnational and cross-border matters, many New York attorneys are welcoming the enriching perspectives that their international brethren bring to deal making and dispute resolution. However, culturally competent lawyers are also cognizant of how the different and sometimes disparate ethical obligations and values held by their colleagues from civil law countries are influencing and, at times, complicating their dispute resolution efforts. In the previous column, I discussed how our perceptions, communications and preferential modes for resolving conflict are culturally laden choices.

Continuing the discussion, in this column, I discuss how lawyers from civil and common law countries are inculcated with different culturally based ethical values that influence their participation in dispute resolution. First, I highlight how the different sources of law and the prescribed educational qualifications in the common and civil law systems have different cultural underpinnings that are the genesis of variant ethical behavior. Then, I explain how although the ethical codes of civil and common law countries both identify the core ethical concepts of professional independence, confidentiality and conflicts-of-interest, each code interprets these terms with divergent and culturally infused meanings. References to two ethical codes, the ABA Model Code and the Council of Bars and Law Society of Europe Code of Conduct (hereinafter the CCBE Code) frame this comparison. Next, I hypothesize about how these different legal systems might influence an attorney’s receptivity and preferences for certain dispute resolution processes. Finally, I conclude with recommendations about how, given these inherent value differences, you as an attorney might achieve cultural symmetry with your international colleagues and create more effective and responsive dispute resolution options.


Reprinted with permission from the New York State Bar Association.



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