Episode 43

Why Foreign-Trained Lawyers are Essential: Flavia Naves, Of Counsel, Hathaway & Kunz, LLP

Episode summary

Introduction: 0:00

  • Introducing Flavia Naves, former general counsel and corporate secretary at Circle and authority on law and regulation of crypto, fintech, and digital payments.
  • Currently serving as commissioner of the State of Wyoming’s Stable Token Commission and of counsel at Kunz and Hathaway, LLP.

Moving to the United States after growing up and studying law in Brazil: 2:44

  • Coming to the US as an exchange student and returning each summer until you settle in Pennsylvania to pursue an LLM.
  • Facing hiring challenges from employers who want lawyers from familiar universities.

Entering the legal job market as a foreign-trained attorney: 3:51

  • Recognizing that your biggest difference is your biggest strength.
  • Looking for roles at companies that deal business with your native country and need experts in their language and legal system.
  • Breaking out into more general roles after ten years focusing on regional legal work.

Seeking mentorship from other foreign-trained lawyers: 8:18

  • Moving to a less diverse part of the United States without opportunities for mentorship from lawyers with a similar background.
  • Feeling a duty to give back after experiencing an early lack of career support.
  • Advising foreign-trained lawyers to seek mentorship from attorney’s from their own region.
  • Seeking out specific areas of the law that are commonly practiced in your native region.

Why companies should consider more foreign-trained attorneys: 11:23

  • Drawing on a breadth of knowledge that U.S.-trained attorneys aren’t taught.
  • Augmenting your practice with global experience.
  • Recognizing that all lawyers who pass the bar in their respective state can practice law.
  • Taking the effort to sponsor visas for lawyers instead of just engineers.

Considering LLMs: 14:36

  • Bridging the gap between civil law and common law with a U.S Studies LLM.
  • Qualifying for local requirements outlined by each state. 
  • Pulling professionals into states that have lower requirements in order to do more work with international business partners.

Navigating moments of career transition: 18:24

  • Surviving post-acquisitions layoffs by having legal expertise that no one else has.
  • Letting job transitions make you stronger and more determined.

Deciding to leave your GC role at Circle: 20:36

  • Reassessing your career on the precipice of turning fifty.
  • Reaching out to friends and mentors to guide you through the next phase of life.
  • Choosing to prioritize personal health over work stress.
  • Refusing to tie your personality to your job title.
  • Dealing with tough questions after leaving a C-suite role in a highly regulated industry.
  • Managing a seamless transition between your legal team and regulators.

Life after Circle: 25:38

  • Driving an RV around the country and visiting every National Park in the United States.
  • Tips for visiting Yellowstone National Park.

Book recommendations: 31:15

  • What the Best Law Teachers Do by Michael Hunter Schwartz, Gerald F. Hess, Sophie M. Sparrow

What you wish you’d known as a young lawyer: 32:42

  • Your biggest difference is your biggest strength.
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Tyler Finn
Head of Community & Growth, SpotDraft
Flavia Naves
Of Counsel, Hathaway & Kunz, LLP

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