Meet the 52 Florida Bar Board Certified Members
in International Law
Robert J. Downing
Robert J. Downing is a Shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s corporate practice and has more than 35 years’ experience in domestic and international business transactions. He has represented international conglomerates on corporate structuring matters and foreign direct investments in multiple jurisdictions throughout Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean. He focuses on corporate, mergers and acquisitions and finance matters, with particular expertise in energy, infrastructure and project development. In addition to a J.D.-M.B.A. from Columbia University, he holds an LL.M. in Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources Law from the University of Houston School of Law. Robert serves as an Adjunct Professor of Energy Law at Florida International University School of Law and is President of the Columbia Business School Alumni Association for South Florida.
Why did you become Board Certified in International Law? A significant part of my practice involves international business transactions and Board Certification allowed me to round out my learning in the field. Back in 2013 I was enrolled in the LL.M. program in Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources Law and the subject matter of several courses in that program overlaps with materials covered for Board Certification in Florida. These areas include international arbitration, multi-jurisdictional corporate and tax planning, and cross-border commercial contracts. By combining my studies, I obtained the degree and Board Certification while working full-time and traveling to Europe, Latin America and the Middle East for a major energy company.
What are some benefits you received from being Board Certified? Two of the benefits have been expanding the knowledge base and providing a framework for evaluating international legal matters. While preparing for Board Certification, in addition to my day-to-day transactional work, I was serving on the Board of Directors of a Saudi Arabian petroleum company and acting as in-house co-counsel on a multi-year arbitration dispute in Brazil. Together with the LL.M. studies, the “lessons learned” in reviewing CLE materials for Board Certification had direct, real-time application in each of these capacities. A third benefit has been the opportunity to meet other lawyers in the field through gatherings of the International Law Section. This last benefit may prove to be the best one of all.
Any best tips or advice to ILS Members preparing for the Certification Exam? Start with the ILS International Desk Reference Book. It’s essential for the exam and in particular, the non-essay section, but I’d advise to take the opportunity to delve into CLE materials that are relevant to your areas of interest. In my case, I concentrated on international commercial contracts, tax structuring and alternative dispute resolution procedures. In one form or another, each of these areas appeared on the essay portion of the exam.
To learn more about being Board Certified in International Law, visit https://www.floridabar.org/about/cert/cert-applications-and-requirements/ or email Robert at email@example.com.