Kevin Connor '89: Practicing Law a World Away
For Kevin, attending law school at Ohio State was an easy sell. Kevin says, "I went to OSU because I felt it was the best law school in Ohio. At the time, my wife was a captain in the Air Force, stationed at Wright-Patterson. Though we lived in Dayton, the commute seemed worth it to me."
Intense studying, summer work, and commuting from Dayton every day for three years, along with the demands of a young family, left little time for Kevin to pursue extracurricular activities during his time at OSU. He ultimately developed his interest in international law by maintaining a keen interest in people, world affairs and politics, frequently speaking with his fellow classmates about trying to change the world for the better.
After law school, Kevin worked for Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease. "While I did a bit of everything, I gravitated to and became part of Vorys' commercial practice. I did bankruptcy work, real estate work, UCC filings, contract drafting and review, collection, foreclosures and the like. I also gained courtroom experience."
Kevin has spent the past fifteen years in central Europe working for Squire Sanders & Dempsey, a multi-jurisdictional law firm withmore than 850 lawyers practicing in offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. The first three years were spent in Squire's Prague office. From there Kevin went on to serve as the managing partner in the Bratislava office from 1995 to 2000, and then spent six years as managing partner of the Budapest Office. He currently serves as managing partner of the Warsaw Office and as coordinating partner for Squire's Central European Practice.
Ultimately, making the decision to move from the U.S. to Europe was quite easy for Kevin. He explains, "I was an Anthropology/History double major in college, and when the Berlin Wall came down I was fascinated by the opportunity.To be part of something truly historical — especially for one who grew up during the coldest part of the Cold War — would be an unprecedented opportunity." He goes on to say, "I originally came for a three-year assignment, but the work, people and experiences were so great that the decision to stay was natural."
For Kevin, one of the most attractive features of living in Europe was the benefits that living overseas offered his children. He explains, "I saw that my young children could live in a way that few Americans could, but which was not dissimilar to growing up in 1960s America. A great quality of life. Simpler perhaps--but in a nice way."
He provides valuable advice for those interested in using their legal degrees in an international capacity. "Work hard and get good training. Do not try and apply for an overseas position without getting at least two to four years of experience first." He also advises that international career seekers "study languages and culture – open your mind." Kevin, fluent in Slovak, also speaks a bit of Polish, Czech and Hungarian. He hopes to one day speak German and Romanian as well.
Perhaps the most important nugget of wisdom that he would like to pass on to others, and that he wishes he'd had upon beginning his career in Europe is, "Never underestimate anyone, ever."
Friends wishing to contact Kevin can do so via e-mail at email@example.com.