At Harris Bricken, we keep close tabs on what is happening around the world, and we know that our friends and clients do, as well. We are happy to provide this podcast series: Global Law and Business, hosted by international attorneys Fred Rocafort and Jonathan Bench, where we look at the world by talking with business leaders, innovators, service providers, manufacturers, and government leaders around the world.
In Episode #81, we are joined by David Sargsyan, partner at Ameria. We discuss:
- Armenia’s economy today, including its emergence as a tech hub.
- The synergies between China and Armenia.
- An overview of Armenian culture.
- The role played by diaspora Armenians in the country.
- What prompted David to attend Notre Dame Law School (Fred’s alma mater!).
- The path ahead for Armenian law firms.
- Listening, and watching recommendations from:
- “Societies that treat women badly are poorer and less stable” (The Economist)
- The Jaded Cynic, newsletter by Roberto De Vido
We’ll see you next week for another exciting and informative episode when we sit down with Robert Lamb to discuss international supply chain finance!
This podcast audio has been transcribed by an automatic transcriber.
Fred Rocafort 00:07
Global law and global business go hand in hand, but never seem to keep pace with each other. The importance on the global stage of developing and developed nations waxes and wanes, while consumption and interconnectedness steadily increase all the while laws and regulations change incessantly requiring businesses to stay nimble. But how do we make sense of it all? Welcome to Global Law and Business hosted by Harris Bricken International Business attorneys. I’m Fred Rocafort.
Jonathan Bench 00:37
And I’m Jonathan Bench. Every week, we take a targeted look at legal and economic developments in locales around the world as we try to decipher global trends in law and business with the help of international experts. We cover continents, countries, regimes, governance, finance, legal developments, and whatever is trending on Twitter. We covered the important the seemingly unimportant, the relatively simple and the complex.
Fred Rocafort 01:02
We hope you enjoy today’s podcast. Please connect with us on social media to comment and suggest future topics and guests. Today, we are honored to be joined by David Sargsyan, an attorney from Armenia. And the story of how we ended up inviting David to the podcast is an interesting one. I’ve been interested in Armenia for a long time, variety of factors involving its history involving some of my friends who have our Armenian ancestry. And when I was thinking of countries that I wanted to to learn more about them that I’m that I thought our our listeners would want to learn about, I set about trying to find an Armenian attorney, and was lucky enough to find someone who’s not only an Armenian lawyer who has graciously agreed to be on the podcast, but also a fellow alumnus of the University of Notre Dame, David holds an LLM from Notre Dame. And I just discovered during our initial chit chat that he’s a fellow, a fan of football club, Barcelona, so it makes me even happier to have stumbled upon him. So David, welcome to Global Law and Business.
David Sargsyan 02:25
Thank you very much. And I am really honored to be first come from from Armenia. But I must say, there are a lot of good words around here. So it took up for the market. And I don’t want to monopolize this podcast. So I hope that this will open up the room for other lawyers to God and provide their experience and expertise of farming yet. It’s really a very exciting market. They’re a small one. But we are all friends here, good competitors. And we are trying to break up the standards to the Western one, to have a best serve for this market. Thank you again for this opportunity. And as you mentioned, yeah, we are both Fighting Irish. So you can you can really see that I’m I’m one of the fighting Irish fellows from Notre Dame and I’m a graduate of Notre Dame back in 1997-98, because LM program and before that I graduated from Yerevan State University Law School. And I was actually doing my Master’ss on Political Science and International Relations in the American University of Armenia located in Yerevan during those years. But then I took a break and join Notre Dame community, which was one of the best years spent both on academic level and on networking with various students, cultural experience, etc. And I was lucky enough to have a good year in not them to have a diploma with some honors. And even I was able to get the competition to join the international tribunal for former Yugoslavia and then have in, in Netherlands. So back then, I was back to Armenia after one year in Denmark. And it was really a very exciting experience, although I’m not a criminal lawyer, because I decided not to go in that field. And my major was, of course, international law. And then back in Armenia, I decided to finish the American University of Armenia and get my second master’s there. So I got both LLM from Notre Dame and Master’s from American University of Armenia on Political Science and International Relations. I mostly focus in private law and my work experience mostly with Ameria group with Ameria self, which is one of the reknown advisory boutiques in Armenia and it has become later on major financial advisory group. And I will explain in detail but prior to that I was used to work on different technical assistance projects under USA ID or EU funding. And that was a good experience as well working with American lawyers in Armenia. And we worked on developing different branches of legislation, mostly focused on areas of capital market development in Armenia, on insolvency legislation, as, as well as on the Hill Park, it was mostly focused on development of the Civil Service legislation in Armenia. So it was a, you know, wide variety of knowledge, skills and experience I’ve tried to accommodate after my study us. And think, I must say that, for me, it’s kinda you know, I was used to say that there is American dream, but there should be Armenian dream, too. So I hope that by my career development by my work here, and by my focus on the Armenian market, I will prove to many, my fellow SEER my fellow friends, like family, and you know, my partners and my co workers that there is Armenian dream to follow. And you can have that dream done in your country, because there are a lot of people who are looking to maybe outside of their markets, I think that there is enough work and enough success to register locally. So after my study, and coming back to Armenia in 1998, working on some technical projects, finally, in 2004, I joined Ameria as partner to develop and work on the legal practice. And thanks to my partners in Ameria, thanks to my colleagues and my fellow legal team, we have been successful enough to develop one of the best practices in the country, and to establish new standards for the legal profession. And I’m proud to be part of that team. So basically, already for 19, 16 or more years, I’m part of Ameria. And the group itself is includes major, one of the biggest tax in Armenia Katama data and I am there, act as a legal director. But my focus, mostly, of course, on our media advisory part, which works on major transactions in the country, and we are proud to be part of many transactions in this part of the world. So this is like small introduction on myself. I have a wife, two kids, one of who is becoming a professional football soccer player in American culture, known as a soccer, and let’s see how it will go. So I’m trying, I’m becoming now specialized in the sports law as well, which I never thought of being specialized. That’s another part of, you know, experience I need to have. I’m studying now.
Jonathan Bench 08:24
David, it’s really great to have you on the podcast and to hear your experience. Certainly your your time frame that you’ve been active is extremely interesting. From a historical perspective, a lot of us, in the US and elsewhere area, we track developments all around the world. We pay attention to which governments are in charge. You know, what, when the lines are crossed? Certainly your area of the world has been very interesting in the last 30 years, to say the least. So let’s focus for a few minutes on on Armenia history, the entire Caucasus region. Could you provide us a little overview of the country situation, some of its economic issues, some of its trade issues, anything from a political perspective, or or a business perspective that you think is important for people who are looking at Armenia, as a market might want to want to come and do business there?
David Sargsyan 09:18
Thank you, Jonathan. Yes, that’s one of the main issues I would like to present. Thank you for the question, because Armenia is such a small landlocked country that many, many businesses would not be interested or would not even think of Armenia, the good place to invest, but in my opinion, it’s one of the best, you know, places to consider and Armenia is, as I stated, is landlocked. A former Soviet republic, which is located like the outskirts of Europe, if I may say, is neighboring to Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, and Turkey, and with very happy history, but still being independent country, which looks for the future development, within the peace with the neighbors within the development of the region we have passed through war, as you know, as you might have, might have heard, it’s become the first year after the first, Korematsu war, I will look like focus on that, because now we are having this agenda. So it’s very important that this agenda would evolve and work and develop into the, you know, eternal peace and eternal development for the overall region. As you’ll see from the neighboring countries name, it’s quite sophisticated region, both on geopolitics and economics. But we better focus on the economics and for many might think that Armenia is located on the crossroads of potential, you know, maybe disputes or potential turmoil, but for me, in my understanding, Armenia is located on the crossroads of the super broad, which means that it might be the place where the economic interest can be matched, and can be properly developed into the interest of all parties involved. So therefore, I think that, from that perspective, it’s a very interesting place to consider. We are having to actually make trade relationships with countries of the region, giants, such as Russia, one of the major trade partners, we have a big exposure to China, we are working with China, there are several infrastructural projects where Chinese investment is already visible, we are having Of course, the major trade partner is neighboring Georgia, there are some relationship with Iran as well, considering that this it’s a neighbor and therefore the relationship with Azerbaijan and Turkey to to see to see patient with number. But we hope that this situation will develop into the opening of transportation to both countries which will basically lead to the economy growth and to the economy, partnering with different businesses from the region, as the country the the we always used to say that we saved in our media group, media company that the main asset of our media are people. So I must say that the main asset of Armenia are the people that education we have here the experience we have here. And the devotion and loyalty of the people who serve on different businesses we have here for the same time on the main economy Korea’s I need sales that we have major mining projects in the country, we have very interesting areas for development. In the infrastructure there is a major project called North South connecting the countries of the region, which might be interest for the Caucasus as well. And real estate development there are major parts of the economy growing. Of course, we have now IT system growing, Armenians are very good into AI in the IT area, for example, discard one of the major players now of which have been developed into the IPO companies company I have originated from Iran from Armenia, it’s it was coming from here, we have major development, our is under good industry wise is out the banks in Armenia, which is again very interesting place to invest and those are considered as a best developed and regulated industry in the country. We have now major focus on that agriculture, which is more in relation to the extensive agricultural redevelopment we cultivate recalculating. And there is a specific of course attention on ecological matters because of the mining being one of the major sectors of the economy. So I will might be limit to this. There are a lot of to think and to invest. And of course, there is always arena for consideration of greenfield projects in the country related to IP.
Fred Rocafort 14:39
David, you you brought up the the Silk Road and you specifically addressed China and how it is one of the major trading partners and not only that it’s it’s actually participating in important projects in Armenia. Both Jonathan and I have spent time in China we we are very interested in in not only what happens in China but in its relationships with with other countries in the in the world and how it is perceived, and and it’s always very interesting to, to talk to people from other countries who, who can help us understand how China is perceived, obviously, I think it’s fair to say that, at least in many countries, many regions in the world, perceptions of China are complex, perhaps even, I don’t know if we can say contradictory, but but there’s definitely a mix of emotions that that China elicits in people. So I’m wondering if you can tell us a bit more about how China is perceived in Armenia, obviously. I mean, Armenia has had, I’m sure a relationship with China for a long time, perhaps, in years past as part of the Soviet Union. I mean, obviously, the Soviet Union and China had its its own relationship, its own complex relationship. And I’m sure there was impact on how people in Armenia perceived China. And then of course, over time there, there’s been the, you know, now, as a, once again, it’s an independent nation, it has to have this relationship with China on its own terms. So I’m just curious, what does the average Armenian think about China? Are the impressions more positive than negative? Are some of the concerns that people have in other countries about China shared in Armenia? Or is there more a feeling that it is a place that can offer opportunities and can offer cooperation rather than a threat?
David Sargsyan 16:36
Well, I assume the question implies that, in many countries, the soft power of investment of China is becoming the political agenda for the for that specific country. I don’t think that we have the same situation here. And I don’t think that we have we are facing such a threat or such an understanding of Chinese investment, we are looking for that investment. And we are looking not only for Chinese investment, Armenia needs both internal and external investments in different projects. But as you have touched China, I don’t think there was any negative implications on any investments, which are done by the Chinese in this country. And we even, you know, experienced that the Chinese investment raises the competitiveness of the Armenian businesses, for example, I was retained on one of the projects, which relates to the development of the major real estate project, which is multi million project. And, as you understand, for the market of around 3 million people, multimedia projects are quite big, sizable projects. So when the project owner was running the tender in relation to the construction companies, he was impressed by the quality of the papers and by the quality of work, which was used by one by one of the Chinese owned construction companies locally. And it was based on the experience of the Chinese construction here, where there is a major construction done for the Chinese school in Iran, which is very impressive. And Chinese Embassy, which is one of the biggest in in the region. So we have seen that there is a quality there’s a time meet, and there is a loyalty to the project, which was presumed by this potential investor. So my understanding is that the overall impression is like that. And people, they see the quality for the price is paid. And they see the loyalty, as well as devotion to completion of the project. And therefore, in my understanding, we do not have such a, Fred, as you might see that any sort of economy president might somehow become a local friend for some politics or for some economic interests within the country. I think Chinese investment is enriching our local market, and it makes us more competitive and triggers both domestic and international investments from other sources. So I assume that we have no such negative implications. We do not face it, and hopefully will not face it in the future.
Jonathan Bench 19:31
David, let’s talk for a minute about Armenian culture. One of my best friends here in the United States, also has Armenian heritage. And so when we became good friends, many years ago, I started to learn a little bit about Armenian history. I’d love to hear more about what Armenia looks like today. What is what are some normal things I mean, even even, you know what kind of things you all enjoy. Now, you said you’re at the crossroads of so many interesting countries. So you must have influences from the north, south, east and west. And and so if I said What was a typical? What’s our typical Armenian? Like, can you tell us a little bit more about you, your friends, your neighbors, just so we can understand your world viewpoint and and some things that are that are important to you?
David Sargsyan 20:17
Well, that so many to say on this question that several podcasts will be needed, but I will try to be precise, although, you know, for lawyers to be precise, it’s very difficult, because you need to breed a lot of arguments to support your position. But, you know, I, I’m growing in Armenian family, but I’m grown in Russian environment, because I attended to Russian school. So the main, you know, during the Soviet time, it was one of the best quality schools to go. So it was a Russian school, for the same time, all my thinking, or my, you know, language and linguistic thinking was mostly Armenian, until I got to know the English store to, to understand the English and to learn English. So basically, you know, that is the I am the mix of that culture, I’m thinking mostly in English terms, because it’s, for me, the linguistic thinking English being very precise language, one, small English letters is translated into Armenian, several sentences. So therefore, it’s, it’s easier for me for, for example, to think in English for the same time, I have a major Russian culture in myself because I read a lot of Russian, and I was kind of educated on Russian, you know, classics, etc, etc. For the same time, I’m Armenian, and I enjoyed the Armenian culture. So this is the mix, which we have in Armenia, because this is coming with, you know, a lot of Syrian Armenian scene here, Lebanese Armenians here, a lot of people coming across with who are bringing their Eastern Western mixed culture into the Armenian reality. And if you work at the streets of Yerevan, you will enjoy listening Russian speech, you will enjoy listening diaspora speech, you will enjoy listening, Arabic, screech, passion, et cetera, et cetera. So this is kind of mix in the country, which is moderate, moderately, because 90 some restraint, all the population is Armenian, and the people are trying and they are devoted to that multicultural relations. For the same time, I would assume that what is about Armenia, as being different, is the local people, because you will face that, you know, I’m always asked why I will don’t live abroad where the market is bigger, you can have a better success, you can be part of a multinational law firm et cetera, et cetera. But you know, there is some point of the culture which keeps me very local, and that is the relations between people, between friends, families, with all due respect, there are certain standards, you need to keep up for example, when when you are in the US or in other western country, you are you respect so much the privacy of the other person that you most probably will not call after 10pm. Or you will not visit anyone after 11pm. Here, it’s very different, I would not even think about going to my friend’s place at the one of the midnight or you know, at midnight and to ask him to give me some food or to sit and discuss something. So this is very different from the the other part of the world, which I enjoy very much because I can easily go and call my friend in the midnight and spend the time on nothing, just spend the time on nothing. So this is the difference. I do enjoy. And of course, we are very high service for hospitality. That’s one of the investment areas I have not touched. But that is very developing in Armenia, the highest standard of services on Oreca, hotels, restaurant, cafe, and I imagine for me, you will definitely enjoy that part of the trade, which is good for price on the quality and that brings people back to Armenia to visit again of being served with the good fruit for good price and good, you know, touristic places to see the history of the region.
Fred Rocafort 24:43
David, you touched upon the the Armenian diaspora in your in your last intervention and and going even earlier you you talked about people being being one of the assets of Armenia if not the most important asset and I think that, at least based on my own interactions than it seems also in Jonathan’s case, certainly the the Armenians, that we have been exposed to here in the United States and elsewhere have done a very, very good job of demonstrating the truth of what you just said. So I’d like to talk a little bit more about the diaspora. It would be interesting to hear how that diaspora is perceived in Armenia itself, right. This is always an interesting topic. Here in the United States, of course, we have some very strong communities, the Irish, the Italians, who are very proud of their cultures, it’s it’s been my experience, at least that going to places like Ireland, going to places like Italy, perhaps this isn’t seen as such a big deal. The fact that there are many people with this background in another country, and they might say, Well, yeah, and then there’s a lot of people in other countries as well. Right. So this is just a different perception. So that that would be the first part of the question, you know, what’s the perception of the Diaspora in Armenia itself? And and second, to what extent is there a role for the diaspora to play in economic development? I mean, obviously, we know that at some level, there’s a role to be played. Obviously, there’s there’s the cultural connection. And we see that throughout the world, obviously, places like China, places like Vietnam, you do see ethnic Chinese, I think enemies that go back and open businesses. I mean, that’s, that’s a given that that’s going to happen, but I wonder if perhaps there is a deeper role that did that as per our can play? Or is playing in the growth of the of the Armenian economy?
David Sargsyan 26:39
Thank your friends for this question. Indeed, it’s one of the main assets we have, as I stated people, and you know, my perception, and my view, or my country’s development, would be that we are, look, we are proud to be local, but going global. So my perception would be that still being local, here we are, we are, we are really global. So it’s very difficult to achieve in my understanding, but that should be something we should adhere to and try to, to, to set up as, you know, milestones to get there. Because, you know, in the landlocked country of around 3 million, it’s very difficult to succeed, succeed globally, but it will establish proper standards, I think many businesses would originate from here and become global. And to that extent, I think that that’s a rule from myself, and I can talk only for myself, not others, and I hope that many would share my position, that that that’s correct is not a big project. For me. It’s opportunity, it’s a window to different cultures, and it’s the door for them to come in and to bring those culture to enrich Armenian society and the economy. And I view that as for like that, as you might see, that now, of course, different figures differ calculations. But overall, Armenia, Armenia is worldwide, around 10 million, and only around 3 million resides in Armenia proper, so that there is much more people of Armenian origin around the globe. And I think that asset should be used, mostly for the benefit of economic growth in the country. I’m not the person to perceive that as or should be, you know, Technical Assistance Project for the country. Now, that should be one of the investors that should be perceived as, you know, major, and, you know, very important experience, knowledge that base and networking to serve the roots of the country, if we talk on the concert level, if we talk on the people level, then you know, it’s it’s even much more important that the culture which the diaspora have to be in rotate in very monolithic country, to forever this model the country, you know, open up to the world, which is success way if we want to become global. So my view of the diaspora is not a project, as I said, not a technical system, but as an equal partner, who we we have to hear the needs, we have to understand the list and we have to accommodate the proper demands for them to enter our market. As for the Armenian constant people here we need to help them to survive too cheap to be still Armenian while working, you know, and living abroad. So this is a very major challenge for us to tackle on both sides. And I do hope that Armenian diaspora and Armenian state institutions have the same agenda as I expressed, which would bring the understanding of each other for the benefit of both the country and diaspora. And you know, it’s very interesting. But even on the realistic side, it’s quite different. For example, my Armenian cooking army is quite different from the Armenian, which is taught, for example, by us Armenians or Western origin or by Lebanese Armenians. My Armenian is closer to Persian Armenian to revise our new to Syrian opinion, but quite different from das for Western, the rich case, you know, even that creates some gap which we will need to fill because, as I stated language, linguistic thinking is one of the major roots for the cultural differences. And we need to accommodate those differences into the positive side of it to enrich both culturally and economically on both sides. If if I answered your question, that’s how I view the role of both diaspora and country having such diaspora.
Fred Rocafort 31:12
That’s great, David, thank you for that. Obviously, I cannot let the opportunity pass to ask you about about Notre Dame, you shared some of your outlook and your experiences. But one question that I have is why Notre Dame in the in the first place. I mean, I’m obviously glad that you made that choice. And we ended up having to disconnection. But at the same time, we could say that it’s not the best known University, I know that the university is working really hard on that, for example, while I was living in China, I did see the university start to put a lot of effort into into recruiting students from Asia, but that’s a little bit a little bit later on in time. And certainly when when I was there probably the case when you were there. The the international contingent was there. It was visible, but but not not huge. So so that does bring up the question. I mean, what attracted you to Notre Dame in the first place, and if you were talking to an Armenian or a student from from another nationality doesn’t even have to be Armenian. And they were thinking of going to study abroad going to study in the United States? What do you see as some of the benefits of studying at a place like Notre Dame, as opposed to going to some of the better known universities out there? And, of course, I’m not suggesting in any way that that our Alma Mater is a chopped liver, as they say, I mean, obviously, we both know that it, it does enjoy incredible name recognition here, in the US, in large part because of the work of alumni. But still, you know, I can, I can say that, at least in places like like China, the university has had to do a lot of work to raise its profile. So again, the question is, why did you, especially back in the 1990s, make the decision to go to Notre Dame, I assume that you don’t regret that choice?
David Sargsyan 32:57
So, right, thank you, I think that we both know them. So basically, you know, it’s, it was kind of competition and I went through that competition and look at that as a school and I was very happy to accommodate that election. You know, I mean, for for the lawyers and for the law school, I think the important answer, why this law school is tradition. So, this is the scholarly tradition. So therefore, you know, the, the short answer to that would be the tradition. The you know, longer answer and the broader answer would be that being in Notre Dame at the masters level, you enjoy both, you know, multicultural environment. And I mean, that not that US itself is multicultural country, because of a lot of ethnicity, nationality, people are studying and working their butt because, indeed, the Masters class was the class of multicultural people. We have people from Zaire, from Egypt, from South Africa, we had people from Russia, very different backgrounds. And you know, 90s is just the, you know, the first years of independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. So, you can understand the cultural shock I might have coming from the Soviet background to the market economy to the school was just such a tradition. So, therefore, my answer is tradition. And the next level of the answer is, you know, cultural enrichment. You know, you might become good or bad lawyer, but when you have such a multicultural exposure, such a networking, you definitely grow up in your own values, your own culture, in your own perception of your own values and values of other people and appreciating the value of other people to accommodate those and to be guided by those your future steps of life. So that is very important that the traditions get there on time, I’m pretty sure that traditions kept there. And that tradition will be serving many generations of the graduates of Notre Dame and not on the gospel. So that would be my answer. And of course, then in backing Notre Dame, I would say the only problematic issue was the word of during the winter. And, you know, my graduation was in May, and I like it my mother, and I forgot to say, and one year that may still winter, not today. So it was a bit snowing given when she was attending the graduation ceremony. But you know, it’s it’s really tradition, which I bear with me, the whole my life. And I would like to share that tradition with many people would like to get to know that.
Fred Rocafort 36:03
I have to say, just to follow up, when I was studying law at Notre Dame, we would take classes together with the Masters contingent, your right, it was a it was a very international contingent to this day, I have to say that within my my group of close friends, some of my fellow students from from from that group are overrepresented. I mean, I made lifelong friends from from Mexico, from Chile, a Canadian Armenia, and as a matter of fact, which was one of my first exposures to the culture. So I have to I agree, I mean, I can I can understand the the appeal. I mean, that’s certainly enhanced my my own experience, having the opportunity to study with with people from from different parts of the world. And I can imagine that being in the in the heart of that group must must be a special experience as well.
David Sargsyan 36:52
Sure, and I need to tell you that there were very few Armenians there. And I was like, the second Armenia, Armenian student there. And it was very, you know, we’re used to that community as Armenians. But what was interesting, the football team and American football team of Notre Dame and you know, 70 thousand stadium there, you know, these huge exposure to the sport, the Notre Dame football has become the champions of the regular League, when if the coach was Armenian, I forgot his surname, but the first college who brought them to winning the title was
Fred Rocafort 37:35
Ara Parseghian, right?
David Sargsyan 37:37
Yes, yes, yes. Right.
Fred Rocafort 37:40
Right, right. My dad was a student at Notre Dame back and back back in that time, so
David Sargsyan 37:45
You, you indeed have a tradition. I am lucky, for now.
Fred Rocafort 37:49
You’re starting it.
David Sargsyan 37:50
Jonathan Bench 37:51
David, let’s turn back to the your work environment. I’d love to hear more about challenges you see that Armenian law firms are facing? What do you see as the business environment changing? How are lawyers doing? Right now? You said you there are a lot of talented lawyers in country? How do you see them adapting to the changing business needs in Armenia? And what does the future of the legal profession look like in Armenia?
David Sargsyan 38:19
Well, I think that the future of legal profession is questioned by the digitalization of our life not only in Armenia, but that I have heard that there are some robotics who are doing even first instance, court claims instead of humans. I don’t know whether it’s true or not, but there were some, you know, readings that I came across talking to the profession in Armenia, it’s very respected profession. There is a very high competitive market in Armenia, because we, you know, like oil, gas and other you know, features of other states, then we don’t have a very much international presence here. So there’s no international law firms in Armenia. So the market is kind of left to the local peers. And I need to stay that many young lawyers coming into the profession. They see the need to broaden the view on the profession, you cannot be successful if you have not broadened out yourself to the profession, outside of the Armenian reality of their menial legal system. You need to understand other legal systems because we are young, we are young, we have just you know, on September 21, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of independence of Armenia. So, our legal tradition and profession is is quite young. Although you know, the the first legal books in our real world you know, drafted republished and are maintained many, many, many centuries. was, therefore it’s but for the modern legal tradition we are we are still young. Therefore, I think that the main issue faced by the youngsters is to think out of box, I would put like that, you know, in the countries with the continental system of the law with Napoleonic, you know, system of law, you need to think out of the box because laws are written. And it’s very easy just to go on site, the relevant clause of the relevant law is much harder to explain how is the best to use that clause in the practice. So therefore, I would think that the challenge faced by many, many in Armenia is thinking out of box is thinking out of the Armenian legal culture, if you will be will, will educate yourself into that you will be successful. As for the profession itself, I think it’s still a you know, although a lot of human competition goes in it, people are more going into the digital world, and professions required by the digitalization of our life, still, people with lawyers. If you are the lawyer to provide non standard solution, then you will succeed even in the small market. And I am proud and I’m honored that I’m surrounded with the partners and with the colleagues who are used to think out of box and who are used to provide unique solutions.
Fred Rocafort 41:32
Well, David, the time has flown and there’s definitely questions that that we didn’t get to that we’d like to get to so hopefully we can we can have you have you on at a later time for for around round two and and continue our conversation. However, before we let you go this time, I’d like to ask you if you have any, any recommendations for us, in our in our listeners, anything you’ve you’ve read recently, anything you’ve you’ve watched, doesn’t have to be anything too serious or related to Armenia, for that matter. Just something that that you’d like to pass along?
David Sargsyan 42:11
Well, for thank you for that question really makes me think wider out of the discussion we had? Well, you know, for a long time, I was a board member at the American Armenian Chamber of Commerce, so it was a quite an experience. And, you know, during one of our dinner parties, I don’t recall when the team, there is 15 have decided to award the board members with the books for it. So I was awarded with the book called Men without Woman, author is Haruki Murakami, who is Japanese writer. So, you know, I took the book, there was a laughter on that. And, you know, I told guys, shall I pass this book to my wife? Or should I read it myself? So they were laughing with that. And they thought, well, you know, you need to read a check. I don’t, I will read it. But I have not put my hands on it for several years, I have just read the rest of people, and I’m becoming closer to my 50. So therefore, I’ve tried to understand what the implications are out there. And when I was reading the novels there, I understood that, really, that life is very hard without women. And for the same time, I appreciate it from the book and from the humor there that you will never understand what the woman wants. Therefore, I would recommend to read it, but maybe we are closer to you know, 15th and then maybe it will open up some more doors for you. I discuss some of the novels with my wife, and we understood each other well. But still men will never understand the woman if they would like to keep something very secret. So this is this is what I would recommend.
Fred Rocafort 44:20
That’s why we go for the easy things on this podcast like global law and business. Jonathan, what do you have for us any any more wisdom that we can glean?
Jonathan Bench 44:33
You know, on the topic of men and women actually, my article is from the Economist. It’s called Societies that treat women badly are poor and less stable, the very descriptive article and descriptive title for this article. Of course, this focuses on what’s been happening in Afghanistan. The reason it came on my radar is one of our former guests, Valerie Hudson and her group that she’s been a research group, the WomanStats Project came in prominent because they’re citing the overall stability of a nation compared to how its women are treated. And so there’s a if you’re a visual person, there’s a very interesting graph that has a line showing the country’s fragility of a country or stability of a country versus how sexist it is. And so very interesting. Article good not I wouldn’t call a long form article, but a good size article. Certainly, if you want to get more into the, into the gender gaps in around the world, and certainly some insights into what’s happening in Afghanistan. Again, I said now that the Taliban are, are back in control. So highly recommended in The Economist: Societies that treat women badly are poor and less stable. Fred, what about you?
Fred Rocafort 45:52
Roberto De Vido, who’s an old friend of our law firm is publishing, I guess a newsletter, I guess that that’s, that’s, that’s the description that I’m going to give to it. He just started recently. And the title of the of the publication is The Jaded Cynic. But I’d like to specifically recommend the latest issue. It’s very well written, but in particular, what I like about it is it discusses the the recent issue with the submarines in Australia and and France and and, of course, the accompanying announcement of this strategic alliance between the US, UK and Australia. And he actually explained a lot of the context. You know, one of the things that I always think is important when considering history, whether it’s history at a at the macro level, or whether it’s at the micro level, and then you’re in your place of work or family, you have to look at the whole story, right? You can’t walk into the movie theater halfway through it and then expect to understand the movie. And that’s not my own analogy. That’s that’s from from Dan Carlin. Great podcaster. He used it recently. But applying that to this particular controversy over the submarines, there is a broader context there. And it certainly helped to educate me about some of the issues that were pressing. Because if you’re if you’re only learning about this, now, it looks one way. But again, there’s a lot more to tease out. And Roberta did a great job of doing that. So the jaded cynic, issue number two, which came out on September 23. There’s no title to it other than Issue number two. With that, David, I’d like to thank you, once again, for joining us really enjoyed this conversation. Glad we we were able to put it all together, and it did not disappoint. I had this curiosity about about Armenia, about its economy, about its prospects. And then you certainly provided quite a bit of insight into that. So So thank you, and we hope we can have you again, as a guest.
David Sargsyan 47:49
Thank you fans. Thank you, Jonathan. And thank you for recommendations, I will definitely refer to those to understand bigger picture or what is going on worldwide. And really, I am honored to be here and I will be definitely delighted to join you in future with some more stories from this part of the world.
Jonathan Bench 48:14
Global Law and Business is a production of Harris Bricken. The team includes Madeline Williams and Michaela Moore. The music is composed by Steven Schmidt. If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review there. We’d like to hear what you think of the show and it helps new listeners find us. Tune in next week for another episode. We’ll see you then.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai