Robert Soza‘s legal practice could hardly be described as “predictable.” One day he may be in court, arguing for a client on environmental matters, and the next day in a client’s office advising on international trade controls, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or disputes involving international distribution of goods. He’s based in San Antonio, but any given week might find him working along the Texas/Mexico border, in New Mexico, or even outside the U.S. His diverse practice sprang out of this geographic scope, “to serve the needs particular to the U.S./Mexico border,” Robert says. “But it has also allowed me to expand beyond Mexico and Latin America.”
Although his practice isn’t predictable, one of Robert’s main goals is to make the future – at least when it comes to legal matters – as predictable as possible for his clients.
He starts by learning about his clients’ businesses so that he can anticipate their legal needs. Robert believes in spending significant time on the ground with his clients to better understand their culture, what drives business success for them, and how legal issues intersect their world. “I try to spend time with the General Counsel, attend employee training, and read the company’s SEC filings – all without charge – so that I can become as knowledgeable as I can about my client’s business,” Robert says.
One of the keys to this is understanding how clients define success in the legal challenges they face. “Knowing your client’s client – usually the business person most impacted by the legal problem – is key to understanding how to best address the particular legal problem that the client entrusts you to handle,” he says.
Robert also studies the larger industries of his clients’ businesses so that he can provide his own insights into current legal matters that might apply to his clients – as well as potential issues forming on the horizon. Even though he represents clients in a wide variety of industries – from agricultural chemicals to medical device manufacturing, from banking to oil and gas services – he still makes it a priority to stay on top of the legal landscape in each of those industries. In fact, he enjoys it. “The best thing about my job is that I am always learning something new,” he says.
“Knowing your client’s client is key to understanding how to best address the particular legal problem that the client entrusts you to handle.”
– Robert Soza
Even in the unpredictable arena of litigation, Robert strives to help his clients plan for the future. By embracing new tools and techniques such as decision tree modeling, jury focus studies, early mediation strategies, and, when necessary, media plans, Robert has been able to make the business – and budgeting – of litigation more predictable for his clients.
“By breaking down the process into its component parts, we are better able to define those areas where success is possible and those areas where challenges may be difficult to overcome – before the client spends the time and money to arrive at the fork in the road where a decision has to be made,” Robert says.
Whether navigating the intricacies of litigation or the complexities of doing business in the international arena, Robert finds acting as a trusted advisor to his clients – and helping them prepare for the future – the most fulfilling role he can play.