Honorable Robert M. Evans speaks to law students.

October 01, 2009

The Honorable Robert M. Evans of the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida addressed students at an event hosted by the International Law Society and the Center for Career & Professional Development at Liberty University School of Law on Friday, September 25, 2009.

Prior to his judicial career, Judge Evans had an extensive career in international law. He represented aviation companies and completed transactions with heads of state including the Sultan of Brunei and King Juan Carlos of Spain.  He has also traveled to Egypt, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey and has bought and sold transport-category aircrafts all over the world.  He regaled the audience with the stories of his travels and of high-class planes, one with the first Jacuzzi installation and another with a specially-commissioned conference table made of 14 karat gold that held 15 pounds of diamonds under its glass top.

  Judge Evans also shared three principles for the practice of
  International Law:
  •    Learn the Law. He explained that it is crucial for lawyers
  not to fake their understanding of a situation in the
  international arena. “Don’t be afraid to ask for an
  explanation,” he told the students.  “Most attorneys
  are willing to help you and will appreciate that you took
  the time to ask.”

  •    Know the Country. Each country interprets the law
  differently and some governments may operate in ways
  that can significantly challenge your purpose.

  •    Know the People. Judge Evans explained that his job was not to question the
 culture or expect to change it. He said, “My job was to understand the culture and
 then facilitate a transaction,” citing a time he had to step in when one of the clients
 refused to work with a female attorney from the United States.

He emphasized that international transactions are dependent on a comprehensive understanding of two things. First, lawyers must be aware of each country’s currency, and whether it is hard (exchangeable) or soft (not exchangeable). Second, insurance or sureties are essential to international contracts as they protect the parties’ interests. Furthermore, in his practice, he insisted that all transactions be completed with English-written contracts, and he always hired his own interpreter to work with him to avoid any confusion or misguided loyalty during the transactions.

  Judge Evans took the time to encourage those
  students who are  concerned about their job
  searches in this economy. “The beauty of your
  legal education is that when you get your
  degree, it is   the key that can  never be taken
  away from you.  It can open doors everywhere,
  and by  default, you’ll become an expert in
  whatever it is you’re dealing with at  that time.
  Your first job is often a stepping stone to the
  next one—don’t be afraid to make a career
change when it’s right.”
 
 Judge Evans earned his Juris Doctor from Florida State University in 1985
 and began his legal career with Page Avjet Corporation.  He was also the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Signature Flight Support Corporation.  In addition to international law, Judge Evans has experience in family, juvenile, criminal, and civil law and currently teaches an adoption class at Barry School of Law.