Be curious: Matias Bietti

Argentine lawyer and seasoned international arbitration practitioner Matias Bietti joined Clifford Chance in 2018, after completing an LLM at Georgetown University Law Center. He talks about the value of a diverse perspective and why it’s important to stay open.

Photo credit: Thomas Topinka, Washington DC

When I look back on my legal career, I feel very fortunate. I had the opportunity to attend law school in Argentina and get a master’s degree in international law in Geneva, Switzerland. Then I had the chance to work for Argentina’s Treasury Attorney General’s Office, a government department that represents Argentina in its international disputes. After that, an international law firm made me an offer to join its Mexico City office.

Today, I work at a firm that started its global expansion a long time ago: international work is in our DNA. That is obviously important to my practice, but I have found that it also makes us very diverse, and that means a lot to me. Whether I have found myself living in the United States, Latin America or Europe, it has been personally as well as intellectually enriching to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds.

I love that my practice involves consequential issues. International arbitration, particularly foreign investor-state arbitration, is fascinating because it touches many aspects of the legal, economic and political life of a country, such as international law, public finance and the rule of law. We frequently represent our clients in their disputes within regulated and capital-intensive industries that present unique and very interesting challenges. Matters involving certain economic activities can have a very broad impact – a power generation project, for instance, may affect millions of people.

If you want to work on matters that involve different societies and legal traditions, it’s important to be open and eager to learn – to stay intellectually curious. Every day, I find opportunities to learn from others, and I am grateful for all the experiences that have created that openness in me.

I think it is important to have a mentor, whether that is someone in a more senior position or a peer at your own level. Having those relationships and being able to talk with someone you trust helps you to improve your professional skills. It also allows you to see a situation from different perspectives, which improves your work product and, in the end, helps you achieve the best possible outcome for your client.

In terms of personal advice, I would say that perseverance is key. Most things worth pursuing in life and in your career are a matter of pushing yourself to make the most of every opportunity, discover what truly interests you, and then find the right way to put it all together.