Marcos Ríos is a Partner at Carey in Chile and is the ABA Section of International Law Revenue Officer for 2017-2018.
What does the Revenue Officer do?
The Section’s revenue team—comprised of the Revenue Officer, the Revenue Deputies, and the Revenue staff—is essentially in charge of monitoring the Section’s operational funding and sources of income, while attempting to increase both. We are a part of the Section’s planning, budgeting, and fundraising efforts and are intimately involved in planning and enabling some of the Section’s main activities, such as our annual, regional, and special conferences. Some of the main duties and tasks of the Revenue Officer include participating in planning meetings and calls in connection with Section events (e.g., our fantastic upcoming 2018 conferences in Singapore and Cape Town), following up on ongoing funding goals and efforts (such as sponsorship for our awesome next conferences in Copenhagen and Mexico City, also in 2018), and contacting past and potential sponsors (e.g., for our great Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. in 2019).
As Revenue Officer, I also participate in the Section’s Council, Executive Committee, and Administration Committee, all of which entail a number of strategic, oversight, and decision-making duties that touch on virtually all substantive and technical matters of the Section, including policy, administration, membership, programming, relationship with the “big ABA,” etc.
What are your goals for this year?
My main goals are to: (1) get new long-term sources of revenue for the Section, (2) diversify our pool of sponsorships beyond—and in addition to—the traditional law firm sponsor profile, and (3) re-enchant and bring back some of the Section’s past sponsors and conference attendees. We have recently made progress on the first goal with two sponsorship agreements signed, each committing funds for Section activities and events for a period of three years. In addition to providing more funding for our activities, long-term agreements such as these give us much needed certainty and predictability in our budgeting processes. We are working on other potential long-term agreements with other sponsors and expect to get traction on these soon.
As to diversifying our sources of revenue, we have identified and are in conversations with various non-law-firm prospects that have showed interest in the Section and the market and audience that our Section members offer them. In fact, one of our recently engaged long-term sponsors is not a law firm but one of the world’s leading content and technology providers for the legal industry.
Regarding the third goal, we plan to meet with various former supporters of the Section—institutional and individual—to discuss their current needs and how the Section can better serve them, with an aim to developing specific plans and offers to bring them back and retain them as Section members, conference attendees, and/or sponsors.
How did you get into international law?
I was born in Chile and raised in Spain, where I attended an international school with students from approximately 60 countries. My closest friends growing up (age four to 15) were Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Catholic, and atheist. Being bilingual and having a multicultural upbringing, all things international were kind of second nature to me. So during law school, while I clerked at a corporate law firm in Chile, I was naturally driven—and drawn by my bosses—to assist clients from the United States, Europe, and Asia. I then started to learn and like the intricacies of interpreting law and culture to international clients.
Later, towards the end of law school, I participated in the Jessup Competition, won the National Rounds, and participated in the International Rounds in Washington, D.C. That experience was a great window to the international legal community and an eye-opener regarding how, with hard work and focus, one could match up to top students from some of the best law schools in the world who were likely to become leading international legal practitioners in the future. It was then that I decided that my practice would always be “international,” in the broadest sense of the word—i.e., involving crossborder and/or multi-jurisdictional matters, international clients, international and/or comparative law, practicing law in different countries, etc.
My first job immediately after law school was as in-house counsel at a multinational mining company in Havana, Cuba, where I lived for two years. Cuba was the first of the five jurisdictions where I have practiced law since—the others being Chile, New York, Washington, D.C., and Miami. In all of these jobs, including three large law firms, I have done nothing but international-related work, including multi-jurisdictional acquisitions, restructurings, dispute resolutions, and multiple crossborder investments, projects, and transactions. I’ve loved every minute of it (well, mostly…), and, to this day, I continue to be passionate about international work and fascinated at the opportunity to build and help clients cross bridges between different cultures and legal systems.
What is an interesting thing you have done with the Section?
The Section has brought many great experiences to my life. Travelling with and getting to know Justice Scalia during the 2010 ILEX trip to Australia and New Zealand is definitely up there on the list, as was meeting Daniel Ellsberg at our recent Annual Conference in New York. Most importantly, however, those and many, many other unique experiences lived with the Section have helped me build some of the dearest friendships in my life, and that’s definitely the best thing I’ve achieved during my 15 years with the Section.