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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

Influencing Legal Developments Outside the US – When Is It OK to Seek to Influence the Develo

Perspective certainly matters when it comes to influencing the development of legal systems around the globe.

On one side, consider some of the arguments from "big oil." Thus, In its blog and other writings attacking tort litigation and justice in Ecuador, Exxon Mobile has complained bitterly about efforts by plaintiff’s lawyers to influence how tort law developed in that country. Is that a legitimate complaint?

Some would say no. Why? All around us are efforts to influence how law develops in other countries and in the US. Consider, for example, today’s NLJ article about "big business" testimony asking Congress to try to influence what China does with its nascent antitrust law. Thus, the article states:

"But, they said, the U.S. government should act to influence how Chinese agencies implement the law. They suggested creating a high-level task force of U.S. antitrust officials and trying to help train Chinese regulators who are new to antitrust law. They also emphasized transparency, so that U.S. companies know why Chinese officials made their decisions."

One has to wonder what the record would show if plaintiff’s lawyers were allowed to take full discovery on all of ExxonMobile’s efforts to influence the development of laws around the world.

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