"Across the board the people at Hogan Lovells uphold values of mutual respect, professionalism, and good citizenship."
- Mark Mazo, Partner, Washington, D.C. office, and also working in Europe
I handle cross-border business transactions, principally for European and Middle Eastern clients.
Getting to know Hogan Lovells
Before joining the firm more than 20 years ago I headed the corporate group at another Washington, D.C. law firm. I was increasingly working with international clients and I needed to be at a firm that could support a cross-border corporate practice as well as provide deep experience in M&A, securities, commercial, and finance matters. Then, as now, Hogan Lovells had the preeminent, cross-border practice in Washington, D.C. and was (and is) a preeminent American -- and now international -- law firm. For what I wanted to do, Hogan Lovells was (and is) the very best choice.
There is no “typical” workday. Every day I confer with clients and Hogan Lovells colleagues in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East about ongoing transactions, about potential future transactions, and about managing the work we have. The days are long, generally beginning around 6:00 a.m. when I begin working on overnight correspondence from the Middle East and Europe. I generally leave the office late, and I usually handle matters after dinner in order to report back to clients before they come into their offices in other time zones.
We really are a global player. Every month I spend about 1 to 1 ½ weeks in the Middle East (principally Dubai and Riyadh), about 1+ weeks in Europe (principally Paris), and the rest in the United States. Needless to say, United Airlines knows me well.
I have had, and continue to have, many rewarding professional relationships with our colleagues. But for me the most rewarding experience is to help train younger lawyers and see them grow and blossom before my eyes. Watching them become skilled and accomplished professionals is tremendously satisfying. As a more senior partner, I want associates to take on larger and larger responsibilities on transactions and other matters. I also want associates to develop long standing working relationships with clients and to participate in business development efforts. This is what we do here.
Although it sounds corny and even trite to say it, in fact our values are critical to building our law firm. Fancy offices and state of the art computer systems do not make up law firms. Law firms are people; only people. Across the board the people at Hogan Lovells uphold values of mutual respect, professionalism, and good citizenship. Those values are critical to who we are and the work we do with our clients every day.
The International Business Transactions group is a small but important team. One of our partners is Bill Curtin, who has built one of the world’s premiere cross-border practices (e.g., representing Ford in selling Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover). We work extensively with U.S. and European lawyers in Washington, D.C., as well as in London, Germany, and France. It is great fun.
Last year we represented Rotana — the world’s largest integrated Arabic language television, movie, entertainment, music, and internet business — in a large transaction involving a significant investment by one of the leading Western media companies, our client News Corporation. In order to complete this transaction we had to organize the Rotana businesses — located in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, the UAE, and several other countries — under a single holding company formed in Abu Dhabi. This required large teams from our Middle East, London, Washington, and Dubai offices working for months in challenging areas of the world. As best we can tell, no other law firm has ever completed such a large, complex, and geographically diverse Middle Eastern transaction in such a short period of time. The “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters we used for deal gifts attest to the pressures we faced. But throughout our team kept a spirit of camaraderie and adventure that made this a truly meaningful (and fun) project.
Outside the firm
My wife and I have four grown children with whom we spend as much time as possible (my wife is a neonatologist and her schedule is as busy as mine). We particularly love to spend time together in Colorado, both for skiing during the winter and even more for dozens of activities during the summer.
Many of my colleagues and clients are among our best friends and we spend time together. One long-time client just traveled to the U.S. for my son’s wedding and I recently attended the wedding of a client’s daughter at the client's family home in Umbria.
Word to the wise
Get to know as many people as possible in as many practice areas and as many offices and as many countries as you can. The range and depth of experience here exceeds any other firm in the world, but the interesting, engaging, and fun people are even more remarkable. It is particularly fun to get to know men and women from other backgrounds and cultures. There are many profound and important reasons to become a “multi-office” or “global” lawyer in the 21st century, but the best reason is that it is fun.
Always look for the best possible training and learning opportunities in the firm. Practicing law is a new and different skill and it takes time to learn it. At the beginning you will not be very good at what you do, and that can be frustrating for people who have earned “A’s” in everything they have done. But as you master the skills and gain more responsibility, you will see how much fun the practice can be. That is why you should seek out the best training you can get.
I am a leading mergers and acquisitions lawyer in our Corporate practice group who works every month in our Paris, Dubai and Riyadh offices. I have built a practice here handling cross-border business transactions for over two decades, traveling every month to work with clients who are leading international investors as well as one of the world’s largest aerospace companies. I have extensive experience structuring, negotiating, and executing complex investment, acquisition, and divestiture strategies.
Prior to joining our team in 1990, I led the Corporate practice of another firm. I am an alumnus of Harvard Law School.
When not traveling for my legal practice, I spend time in Colorado hiking, skiing, and 4-wheeling with my family.