Foreign affairs law, or international law and US law as it applies abroad, has been Joe Brand’s ticket to more than 90 countries. On behalf of such clients as foreign sovereigns, multinational enterprises, international financial institutions, educational institutions and even nongovernmental organizations, Joe has done legal work in all corners of the globe. In his domestic practice, he helps his foreign and American clients on their M&A deals, financings, regulatory compliance, corporate governance matters and dealings with the federal government. Joe also advocates for clients in the area of international human rights.
Governments, and their official instrumentalities, are among Joe’s clients, and his service for them can be described in the example of a South American country that, at the request of the World Bank, retained him to negotiate a settlement with creditors who threatened to seize the government’s major asset at the very time the government was seeking to alleviate a budget crisis by privatizing the asset. Drawing on his experience in comparative law, Joe borrowed a concept from a different legal culture, lobbied its passage by the legislature, defended it when it became the subject of international arbitration and ultimately used it to force a settlement favorable to the client.
His practice is by no means limited to one part of the world. Other examples of recent international activities include a technology transfer to an Asian country, investments in Russia, restructuring the investment portfolio of a Middle East institution and the representation of an African-based oil company. His Russian practice includes advising Russian businesses on US and international compliance issues and requires his frequent presence in Moscow.
Joe served for many years as outside counsel to a US-based multinational with operations in more than 70 countries and has counseled the company’s managers on almost every significant domestic and foreign legal activity involving the company; engagements that run the gamut from market access and direct foreign investment to trade disputes and international litigation. US legal work for his foreign clients includes environmental issues for a Japanese chemical concern, regulatory compliance for an Arab bank, defense procurement for a Brazilian manufacturer and human rights advice for a European company.
Joe’s active pro bono practice includes advocating for the release of US citizens unduly detained in foreign countries and has led him with two colleagues to establish Pretrial Rights International, a NGO which seeks to protect the human rights of detainees awaiting trial worldwide through legal action, advocacy, publicity and education.
Outside the practice, Joe maintains an active interest in international legal matters. He taught the core curriculum course in comparative law at George Washington University Law School for more than 10 years and chaired a nongovernmental organization that litigates in US courts on behalf of foreign victims of torture. His interest in university affairs is seen in his service as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of the George Washington University. During his tenure as a trustee, he chaired the fundraising program that brought more than half a billion dollars to the university’s endowment. He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Joe also chaired an international health care charity, was a director of Human Rights First, formerly called the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and served as a governor of the Middle East Institute.