Getting to know another culture is a way to have a better understanding of your own culture. This applies on a personal level as well as a professional level. I have always been curious about the daily life of lawyers in the United States. I believed it would give me a better perspective about my job in Brazil. Last week I fulfilled this wish when met John Adams, an American lawyer and partner of Price and Adams law firm.
I expected the environment of the law firm to be unfamiliar and to learn about a different judicial system than the Brazilian one. However, I was surprised to see how the tasks of an American lawyer are similar to the duties of Brazilian lawyers. Although keeping track of lawsuits in America is easier due to an online system, the job of an American lawyer involves the same skills required from their Brazilian counterparts.
Moreover, the lawsuits in the United States follow basically the same structure as those in Brazil. The plaintiff, who feels his rights have been violated, files a complaint against the defendant that, once summoned, has twenty days to respond the plaintiff's allegations. Aside from the time given to the defendant to file an answer the system is exactly like the one in Brazil.
However, one big difference is that, if both parties agree, an American civil lawsuit can be decided by a jury and not by a judge. That is certainly odd to Brazilians who are used to having a judge decide the civil cases. Surprisingly though, the majority of the civil lawsuits in America do not even go to trial because they are settled before the jury or the judge can analyze the evidence.
Meeting an American lawyer was certainly a great experience. In addition to all of the technical similarities between the tasks of Brazilian and American lawyers, I learned that they share the same moral standards. Like Mr. Adams said, "the most important thing is to be an ethical and passionate lawyer, then you will succeed".