US lawyers guide Israelis on ins and outs of legal system

Mock trial described as service to Israeli lawyers, familiarizing them with the complex US intellectual property jury trial process.

May 25, 2010 05:53
2 minute read.
CLAUDE STERN, a US trial lawyer, teaches his Israe

us lawyer 311. (photo credit: Yissachar Ruas)


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A leading US intellectual property law firm presented a mock trial for Israeli lawyers and hi-tech executives in Tel Aviv on Monday to familiarize Israeli companies with the American legal system.

Two partners in the firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Claude Stern and John Quinn, argued the mock trial to a representative “civilian” jury. University of Utah President Michael Young judged the case.

Stern, chair of the firm’s national IP litigation practice, is leading Quinn Emanuel’s initiative in the Israeli market. He has represented about half a dozen Israeli companies in intellectual property cases.

“Israel is an important client target for me, because it’s such a remarkable technology center,” Stern told The Jerusalem Post Monday. “For both personal and professional reasons, I want to make sure we do everything we can to help Israeli companies dealing with US litigation.”

Stern described the mock trial as a service to Israeli lawyers, familiarizing them with the complex US intellectual property jury trial process.

“Israeli technology is [some] of the most impressive I’ve seen. It’s intelligent, it’s creative, and they’re just plain smart people,” Stern said, but noted, “Another feature is that they’re generally unfamiliar with American legislation procedure.”

The major difference between the Israeli and American systems is the role of the judge and jury. American juries are civilian, selected from licensed drivers and registered voters. In contrast, the Israeli legal system employs professional judges.

“The thing that a great American trial lawyer does is simplify. You’ll see us talking without lots of details of the technology,” explained Stern, noting that average jury members in the US don’t understand the details of patented technology.

The cases presented in the mock trial showed how US attorneys argue a complex legal case to a civilian jury.

“This is a case about broken promises,” opened Quinn’s fictional testimony, in terms any US juror would understand.

Israelis have two major struggles in working with the US legal system. The main problem is that it’s very expensive. Legal services in the US cost two or three times what they cost in Israel, Stern estimates. The second issue is that Israeli companies are not accustomed to turning all of their documents over to their attorneys.

Victoria Maroulis, a partner at Quinn Emanuel, introduced the mock trial as “a simulated experience where attorneys practice and do everything they would regularly before a court.” Attorneys used the exercise to test the facts of their case and allow their clients to predict the themes of their case.

Quinn Emanuel chose the particular mock case because contract disputes involving patents and technology represent the majority of Israeli legal cases.

Before joining Quinn Emanuel, Stern worked for the US group which developed alternative dispute resolution in Israel, a mandatory effort to settle cases. He has noticed a major change in the national psyche over the past decade, as Israelis have become more willing to settle cases.

Since joining Quinn Emanuel seven years ago, Stern has made a conscious effort to enter the Israeli IP market, the world leader in patents per capita.

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