by John L. Watkins
Part II of our podcast series on Common Legal Mistakes International Companies Make in Doing Business in the U.S. is now available. In this podcast, Tom McLain and I provide the general background regarding legal issues in the U.S. This discussion provides the foundation for more specific issues to be discussed in later episodes. Tom and I discuss the sources of law in the U.S. and the fifty states, and address some of the key legal differences that exist in most U.S. jurisdictions when compared to other countries. Specific topics include:
1. Why there really is no “U.S.” legal system, but instead fifty state legal systems with a federal overlay;
2. Why the U.S. is really not a “common law” system, but a mixture of statutory, regulatory and common law;
3. Some of the key differences between legal issues in the U.S. and most of the rest of the world, including the jury system, the fact that there is generally no “loser pays” rule, the fact that lawyers are permitted to take cases on a “contingency fee” basis, the fact that punitive damages are sometimes permitted, and the fact that, in many state court systems, judges are elected.
The podcast also provides an overview of how, despite the legal challenges, doing business in the U.S. can be managed with an acceptable level of risk. Future podcasts will cover topics on doing business in the U.S. in greater detail.
The podcast is available at http://www.ctflegal.com/podcasts.html or http://www.ctflegal.blip.tv/.