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The general or even specialized practitioner faces serious difficulties as the world shrinks and the practice of law frequently transcends international boundaries. In the civil and commercial arena, issues of discovery and service of documents abroad, others relating to judicial assistance from foreign courts, available to American courts or individual litigants, and assistance available from American courts for foreign governments and individual litigants, can be mindboggling. In an age where transnational litigation (that is, domestic litigation that touches upon one or more foreign jurisdictions) is rapidly increasing, counsel could be guilty of malpractice if counsel takes action abroad that proves ineffective and that causes substantial expense, Counsel must be sure what to do and what not to do to remain properly within the law of the foreign state. Failure to meet this standard may not only produce the repercussions of malpractice; it may even produce criminal liability in the foreign country. American lawyers all too often overlook the fact that foreign law may well have a bearing on acts and procedures abroad. Aside from the fact that some procedural acts performed on behalf of American litigants abroad may violate the foreign state’s criminal laws, sometimes acts performed solely in accordance with American procedural rules may be without legal effect as a matter of foreign law. Hence. Volumes 1 and 2, authored by Bruno Ristau, are essential, as they provide understanding insight necessary to avoid the pitfalls and to ensure efficient, ethical, and safe transnational practice in the civil and commercial arena. Michael Abbell does the same for the practitioner of criminal law in volumes 3-6. I am not an expert on civil or commercial litigation, and those chapters were reviewed eminently, in 1986, by David Otis Fuller, Jr., so I will not dwell thereon.

Publication Citation

26 Int'l Law. 575 (1992).