Peter M. Potente is the founder and CEO of Potente, a boutique global law firm. He leads a team of attorneys and team members that work with families, companies, and investors from over 20 different countries. Many of these clients have sought to expand their financial and operational footprint into North America. In addition to splitting his time between the firm’s offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, London, and Antigua, Peter regularly travels for his client's needs throughout North America. 

Russ Alan Prince: Why don’t we start by you telling us about your firm?

Peter Potente: We serve as general counsel and professional consultants for individuals, companies, and investors in a variety of industries, including hospitality such as restaurants and hotels, media and entertainment, retail clothing, fashion design, commercial real estate, industrial production design and development, cosmetics, and a multitude of other industries. 

A large percentage of our clientele can be defined as global citizens. From living and operating in multiple jurisdictions to thinking internationally, they are a cohort that is creative, hard-working, and will often be at the forefront of constructive change. 

At Potente, we strive for efficient and productive results that address the nuanced needs of each individual, company, and investor we represent. We serve as advocates, consultants, and sounding boards for our clients throughout the world. Whether it is a legal issue or a business issue, our clients rely on us for our innovative thinking and problem-solving. Our passion is helping our clients achieve sustainable success; we look forward to that opportunity every day.

In order to add value, we strongly believe it is extremely important to develop strong and meaningful relationships with each of our clients. Only by developing a deep understanding of our clients are we able to determine the best possible legal and business solutions. This requires us to put in a great deal of in-person quality time at the client’s location which leads to seeing a lot of the world.

Prince: What expertise do you provide your clients?

Potente: We are a full-service law firm specializing in representing investors, businesses, entrepreneurs, and their families on a global level. Potente often serves as legal coordinator and representative for select multinational companies. Most of these businesses are privately held. So, not only do we work with corporate management, but we also work with the owners who are commonly the founders to address a variety of issues and concerns such as the succession of the company.

Getting more tactical, we commonly help global entrepreneurs deal with the soft and hard sides of succession planning. This entails making sure the next generation is prepared to take the reins as well as making sure the company is transferred to the heirs in the most cost-effective manner.

Increasingly we are helping international investors by creating structures for them and leveraging bright-line legal transactions enabling them to invest in different jurisdictions most tax efficiently. For example, for several non-US citizens who want to invest in the US, there are ways to ensure their investments are not subject to taxes in the US or in their home country.

All in all, at Potente, we provide a comprehensive and in-depth approach to the needs of our global clients. It isn’t about a transaction or a project. Instead, it’s about the relationship and building our knowledge to an institutional level for each and every client—investor, company, family, and individual—we represent. 

Prince: When it comes to serving successful global citizens, how is the legal industry changing? 

Potente: First, the number of global citizens is multiplying quickly. This is due to the boom in entrepreneurship and the accompanying increase in private wealth creation. At the same time, the needs and wants of global citizens and global companies are becoming more intricate and complex. For example, many global citizens have to deal with multiple tax policies in different jurisdictions. And, mistakes can be quite costly. The demand for expertise to help global citizens and global clients navigate taxes throughout the world is growing at an exponential rate.

While the demand is escalating the supply of expertise is currently limited. There just aren't enough lawyers with the requisite knowledge and capabilities to handle the increasing number of global citizens and global companies. A law firm has to be nimble, efficient, and resourceful to tackle the ever-changing laws throughout a multitude of jurisdictions. However, the situation is worse than just not having enough technically qualified lawyers.

To deliver value to global citizens and global companies, lawyers have to understand their clients—their hopes and dreams, the actions they are currently taking and what, and their anxieties and concerns. Relatively few lawyers are willing to put in time and effort or are able to truly understand their global clients. Only by spending an adequate amount of time with their clients to really get to know them can any lawyer provide sustainable and long-lasting guidance and support.

I suspect that over time, more and more lawyers will recognize what it really takes to deliver outstanding value to global citizens and global companies. However, presently and for the foreseeable future, law firms like Potente are the exception. For us, business is booming with no letup in sight. And, even with ever more opportunities knocking on our doors, we will continue to make sure we are always technically state-of-the-art and that we put in the requisite time to deeply understand all our clients.

Russ Alan Prince is the executive director of Private Wealth magazine and chief content officer for High-Net-Worth Genius. He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs and select professionals.