I grew up in Dallas, Texas where I went to the still segregated public schools. I attended The University of Texas in Austin for three years. After my first year, I spent the summer in a language school near Bonn, Germany. After my second year, I attended the University of Munich for a year. I graduated with honors in 1972 and attended The University of Chicago Law School on full scholarship. When I graduated, I joined a mid-sized, regional law firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1979, I received the Schulte zur Hausen Stipendium for a year at the University of Frankfurt followed by a year at The Georgetown University Law Center. In Frankfurt, I worked at the Institut fuer auslaendisches und internationales Wirtschaftrecht. I am still in touch with my colleagues from the institute. I also worked simultaneously at Puender Volhard Weber - when it was approximately 10 lawyers - and Boesebeck Barz. My most interesting project was recovering frozen assets wrongly thought by the United States to belong to the Iranian government.
On my return to private practice, I joined the only law firm in America which focused on German-speaking companies, Walter Conston. It merged into Alston & Bird, a large, Atlanta-based law firm. In 2008 I moved to Eaton & Van Winkle, which also had a German-language practice. I became a sole practitioner in 2017.
All lawyers think they are the best at what they do. By eliminating things they are not good at, they can come close. I do not do litigation, tax, banking, securities, antitrust, labor or environmental law. By reason of 45 years of working for mostly mid-sized, family-owned companies, both from Pittsburgh and from German-speaking Europe, I have built up substantial practical experience in general commercial matters, with a special focus on M&A.
Since almost all my clients are from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, I have a good idea how the German legal system works, how companies are run and what pre-conceptions these business people bring with them to the United States.
Because my German is close to fluent, I know where Germans and Americans are likely to misunderstand each other. For instance the word "irritate / irritieren" is frequently misused and dangerously so.
I work hard to maintain my network of contacts in the DACHS countries (D = Deutschland, A = Austria, CH = Confoederatio Helvetica), I know lawyers, businessmen and women, accountants, journalists and politicians in Vienna, Zurich and almost all parts of Germany - large cities and small towns. This also means that I have to behave.
I also have to behave because I received the Bundesverdienstkreuz in 2014.
I am (I believe) the first US-based member of the Atlantik-Bruecke. I am also active in the American Council on Germany and less frequently the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies. I also participate in functions of Global Bridges. I was until recently on the board of Youth for Understanding. My main physical activity is with a chain saw in hand. My main intellectual pastime is struggling with the German language. I intend to pick up my clarinet again (Mozart, Spohr, Brahms). As it happens, the principal clarinetist of the Pittsburgh Symphony was often in our apartment, but before we owned it.