My inbox frequently pings with an important query:
“Hey, Aaron, can you introduce me to local counsel in (Country ABC) to help with an enforcement action?”
Sometimes, you bet I can. Ireland, Singapore, Germany, Italy… no problem at all. I’ve got people.
Other times, not so much. Not because the country in question doesn’t have lawyers– but because I haven’t needed to make a connection there for whatever reason.
But the fact that I don’t know somebody “over there” isn’t the end of it. A little known resource provided by the U.S. Department of State has usually yielded good results for me: the Legal Assistance lists available from the U.S. Citizen Services offices in our embassies worldwide. Here’s how to find somebody (it’s really quick):
- Google “U.S. Embassy (Country ABC)”
- The search should show a link to U.S. Citizen Services right within the initial organic results, so you won’t have to navigate much. If it doesn’t show up immediately, no worries. Click onto the main page for the embassy, and you should see a comparable link without a lot of fanfare.
- On the U.S. Citizen Services page, scroll down to Local Resources, and click on Legal Assistance.
- The Legal Assistance page will show a list of English-speaking attorneys in that country who have identified themselves to the embassy staff and indicated that they welcome American clients.
- The document may even break down the list by geography and specialty (both are critical to finding the right colleague).
This list is not an endorsement of those lawyers by the U.S. government (see the State Department’s guidance here)– it’s merely a resource, but I’ve always had pretty good luck with it– and have even gained a couple of friends out of the deal. Also worth noting– many Canadian embassies maintain similar lists of attorneys who welcome Canadian clients– frankly, if you can’t find somebody on one country’s site, try the other!