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American Lawyers CEElebrate July 4

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Today marks the 238th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence, and Americans will be celebrating with fireworks, barbecues, picnics, and beer. The famous "Baseball, Hot-dogs, and Apple Pie" recitation resonates today most of all

American lawyers in CEE will be celebrating as well. To find out how, we reached out to a number of American lawyers working in the region to ask them to explain what the 4th of July means to them, and how they plan on celebrating the holiday. Here is what they had to say:

Marcell Clark, Partner, Dentons, Budapest

As an American, I remember it is 4 July and make a mental note of it, but it is like a little secret that I keep to myself. Since we have been in Europe, my family and I do not celebrate it or do anything special on this day. 

This year, I hope to be closing a transaction on July 4, so no special remembrance planned, but maybe in the evening there will be a double reason to crack open a cold one. 

Theodore Cominos, Partner, Edwards Wildman Palmer, London

Ted Cominos

The 4th of July, in the region, means a time to gather with my American colleagues and celebrate a uniquely American holiday together.  Other than Thanksgiving Day, this is the one holiday each year where we (American expats) tend to seek each other out and plan a collective get-together. For me, it means good times, good friends, and a sense of camaraderie…as well as a few proper ‘hot dogs’. 

I will be in Istanbul with my wife and daughters enjoying the day, American-style.

Ronald Given, Partner, Wolf Theiss, Zagreb

Ronald Given

Having grown up in small towns in the Midwest, the 4th of July was always a special holiday. I fondly remember long summer days that never seemed to end, swimming in warm, clear lakes, fresh sweet corn and tomatoes, real hot dogs and hamburgers (not McDonald's!), watermelon, parades, fireworks, and being surrounded by family and friends. Everyone I knew pretty much shared the same view of the world and our place in it. We were especially proud to be Americans on the 4th of July. Being abroad exposes you to a much greater diversity of views of the world and America's place in it. Things are not as comfortable and easy as those past days now seem, but it is in the present we live. 

I will celebrate this particular 4th in Croatia at a gathering at the residence of the American Ambassador. I know I will be one of the very few Americans in attendance. At events of this sort one should really be able to make a cultural connection and share with others what is important to us about the 4th. After all, in every country's past or present there was or is a time or times of breaking away and setting a new course. I suppose, though, differences in our current relative positions and other things tend to blur this commonality. Nonetheless, I hope that before the evening ends I will help other guests of the Ambassador have a better idea of the meaning of the 4th to us and why I am still very proud to be an American.

Denise Hamer, Partner, Richards Kibbe & Orbe, London

Denise Hamer

I am a first generation American and the daughter of World War II refugees, so the American Independence Day holiday has always had a complicated but special meaning to my family. On the one hand, it is the American dream celebration of a new life, limitless opportunity, and well, independence, in the New World; on the other hand, it is the devastating loss of home, people, and identity in the Old World. 

As I am in London for this Independence Day, I shall likely celebrate by taunting my British colleagues with my colonial Schadenfreude. 

Bryan Jardine, Bucharest Managing Partner, Wolf Theiss:

I grew up in a small New England town in Connecticut.  My memories of July 4th are therefore "small town" memories — parades, fireworks, picnics and barbecues with hot dogs, hamburgers, sweet corn and watermelon.  Very traditional “Americana”. 

Like every year, I will attend the 4th of July party hosted by the US Embassy/Ambassador in Bucharest. Traditionally this has been at the Ambassador's residence, but this year will be held on the 3rd of July at the US Embassy building. On Friday the 4th, I will actually work during the day, but then celebrate with my family with a barbeque at our house up in the country.

Peter Z. Teluk, Kiev Managing Partner, Squire Patton Boggs

Peter Teluk

Though born, raised and educated in the United States, I have spent 4th of July here in Ukraine for 15 out of the last 20 years.  While the U.S. is celebrating its 238th Anniversary of Independence this year, Ukraine will be celebrating its 23rd.  The 4th of July is a symbol and celebration of what a country and its people can become if free from the rule of foreigners, and given the opportunity to develop its democratic institutions and a free economy.  In Ukraine, I hope every year that both the people and the leaders of the country take the opportunity to look to the U.S. as a model.  It’s not perfect and it has taken many years to develop and the development is not over.  However, the basic principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which were fought for two centuries ago in the U.S., still remain key our values.  Today, the U.S. continues to play a crucial role in Ukraine and the rest of the world.  Its model of democracy can never be completely copied, but its principles can be used as a guide for a better future for Ukraine and its great people.

Typically, I celebrate the holiday at the US Ambassador’s reception at his residence in Kyiv, Ukraine, which draws many of the U.S. expats, Ukrainian government officials and other countries’ diplomats. In addition, the US community holds a larger picnic celebration on the Saturday after the 4th.   The 4th of July itself is a work day though, so typically, no big celebration on the day itself. 

Daniel Matthews, Istanbul Managing Partner, Baker & McKenzie

Dan Matthews

I have been an expat for nearly 20 years. While living in Russia and Azerbaijan, every Fourth of July, I always attended the AmCham celebrations to commemorate the holiday. 

Now that I live in Istanbul, I attend the US Consulate General’s annual observance and look forward to AmCham/ABFT launching its annual Fourth of July event next year.

Hamed Latif, Istanbul General Manager, Clifford Chance

Hamed Latif

What does the 4th of July mean for me? Good time for a vacation to the USA!

In terms of how I will be spending it, it comes down to spending some time with friends, family and barbecuing and boozing! 


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