Thursday, June 4, 2009

School Daze

I was talking to some co-workers about the different European law school systems this afternoon, and after getting a handle on how the schools work (in France you declare a "major" in high school), I thought to ask how hard it is to get into law school.  They looked at me like that was a strange question.

Heidelberg, one of the world's oldest universities, is apparently pretty tough to get into because it's famous.  But my co-worker couldn't honestly tell me if it's a very good law school or not.  What's the best law school in Germany?  No real answer.  In France?  Doesn't really matter where you go, so long as it's in Paris.

Ask any US law student what the best law school in the country is and they know.  They know the top 5, top 10 and probably top 14 off the top of their head.  We know, and never stop talking about, how this affects hiring later on, market-rate first year salaries in the top five markets, your chances of being on the Supreme Court or teaching, etc.  It drives our friends and family nuts.

Of course, when you're spending/borrowing a small fortune to do something, you tend to get well acquainted with it.  But French law students also recently got pretty upset about their tuition, too.  Not long ago, final year's tuition shot up to 900 Euros.

German Legal Term of the Day

"Steuerhinterziebungsbekampfungsgesetz" = Act to Combat Tax Evasion

This is the name of an actual German law - very well known to tax attorneys here - designed to limit off-shore tax shelters such as Jersey or Malta. Not only is the word seriously impressive when spit out quickly by a co-worker, along with a "you don't know this?" tone, you have to hand it to the German Parliament for sticking to a simple, if long, name. If this were the product of our Washington Lovlies, it would have been named the Federal Defense of Apple Pie Freedom and Baseball Freedom Liberty Defense Act.

Or, to put it another way . . . "Bundeswacheäpfelkuchefreiheitundbaseballfreiheitunamhängingkeitwachegesetz."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Any Day Now

Any day now, Baby G, you're going to have a new baby brother!  You and your mom will both be big sisters.  I can't wait to meet the little guy when I see you again.  Your godfather misses you every day, Gabs.  I love you, your mom and dad and your little brother.

Uncle Patrick

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Zahra!

Happy Birthday, Zahra!  I miss you very much and hope you have an amazing day!  Give your Mom, Dad, Natasha and Saif big hugs for me.  

Love, Uncle Patrick

Bi-Lingual Credit Agreements

Friday was the first big translation exercise of my summer.  A US corporation is purchasing a German company and we're handling the credit side of things with the foreign bank.  Because the subsidiary, and a bunch of other holding companies are all registered in Germany, German corporate law applies.  But US law also applies to all the contracts.  So the credit agreement and all its parts have to be in step in two jurisdictions at once.

The hard thing about this is that you can't simply translate the documents.  In this case, I was translating from German to English.  The translation had to be effective in the US and also Germany.  So all the key legal concepts had to be recognizable to a German regulator and an American lawyer.

This is a lot easier said than done.  I thought it would take about an hour.  It took four.