C Ryan Reetz
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
200 South Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 400
33131, Miami, USA
Ryan Reetz wins approval from market sources as "an excellent lawyer" for high-value, cross-border litigation proceedings.
C Ryan Reetz is a board-certified specialist in international litigation and arbitration. His practice ranges from disputes involving foreign governments to commercial disputes and class actions. He has served as faculty at the Emory University, University of Miami, and University of Navarra law schools, as well as the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and has led a number of organizations including the Florida Bar’s International Law Section and Florida’s international litigation and arbitration board-certification committee.
What do you enjoy most about your role as litigator?
Blending creativity and experience to present the client’s case as persuasively as possible, whether to a jury, a judge, or another decisionmaker.
On what types of matters have clients come to you most frequently in recent months?
The common denominator, rather than a particular industry sector or a particular type of legal claim, is that most of the matters are cross-border in nature. They either involve parties from more than one country, or a sovereign State as a party, or the application of law from outside the forum, or some other interest of a State other than the forum.
What do clients look for when selecting counsel for high-value litigation proceedings?
The most sophisticated clients are looking for skilled litigation teams that respect their priorities and share their values, including the client’s approach to collaboration and to case development and preparation. They want a lead counsel who is an excellent trial lawyer – and who also respects and pursues the client’s agenda rather than an exclusive focus on the lawyer “winning” at trial.
What effect is technology having on the way litigation is practised?
The evolution of technology has enabled us continuously to find new, and usually more persuasive, ways of presenting our cases, such as slideshow presentations, animations and computer simulations, transcript-synchronised video testimony, trial presentation software, interpolation and enhancement of images and sound recordings, hyperlinked memoranda, and many other tools that have become commonplace. It has also vastly complicated (in some ways) and helped to simplify (in others) the “discovery” process in U.S. litigation. Today, of course, the pandemic has led to widespread adoption of remote trials and hearings, which has generated significant efficiencies in handling pretrial hearings. But all of these developments present a risk that advocates may become distracted by their technological options and lose sight of the fact that persuasion is, at base, a deeply interpersonal process.
What are the main challenges lawyers face when handling cross-border litigation between parties of varying jurisdictions and legal systems?
The primary challenges fall into three related categories. First, counsel must recognise that a case has cross-border elements and must fully understand the practical consequences of that fact. For example, the courts in one jurisdiction may or may not apply the law of another jurisdiction; they may or may not defer to litigation pending in other courts; and their judgments may or may not be enforceable in the jurisdictions where enforcement will be needed. A coherent strategy cannot be developed or executed without this fundamental understanding. Second, lawyers must be able effectively to explain differences in legal concepts, systems, procedures, substantive laws and the like to clients, counsel, judges and others who are unfamiliar with them. Third, mere explanation is not sufficient; advocates must be able to persuade across borders, that is, to convince a tribunal (or other listener) from a different legal system of the client’s positions notwithstanding differences in cultural or legal backgrounds, underlying assumptions, communication styles, and language.
How has your experience as chair of the Florida Bar’s International Litigation and Arbitration Board Certification Committee enhanced your role as litigator?
I’ve been privileged to work as part of a small team of committed practitioners to persuade the Florida Bar and the Florida Supreme Court to create this board certification area, and then subsequently in the work of the committee itself. Throughout that process, including my tenure as committee chair, I’ve been able to learn from colleagues, deepen relationships with extremely talented fellow practitioners, and provide a certification program that clearly identifies international litigation and arbitration as a specialist area and assists prospective clients in identifying qualified and ethical specialists in that field.
How does Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner distinguish itself from the competition?
First, we are trial lawyers – not back-office litigators – and combine our advocacy skills with a deep understanding of the relevant law, including private international law. Second, we work closely together as a team across all of our offices globally, involving lawyers with the background and experience needed for a particular case. Finally, we are deeply committed to partnering with our clients, collaborating with them to achieve their objectives as efficiently and effectively as possible.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Professionally, I am proudest of a confidential pro bono matter many years ago that made a great difference to a very few people. But my greatest pride and joy in life is my family.