At one time, Daniel Satinsky was just another attorney bored with preparing documents for a real estate or business transaction. Today, Satinsky is the president of the U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce of New England; he has a private legal and consulting practice through his own company, B.E.A. Associates Inc.; and he has become an expert on Russia's economic transformation.
Satinsky maintains that he didn't choose this unconventional career path, it chose him. "I practiced for 10 years in real estate and small business development, but I found my interests were broader than what I could engage in on a day-to-day basis," said Satinsky.
In the mid-80s, Satinsky had had the opportunity to go to the Soviet Union as part of a delegation of attorneys. "I found the place fascinating and I also found it much more complex than I had been led to believe. I just became engaged with Russia intellectually and culturally," he explained.
As a result, in 1989 he entered the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. "I chose to focus on Russia because this was at the very end of perestroika and the beginning of the break up of the Soviet Union. They were historical changes which brought great interest and opportunity."
After graduating from Fletcher, he led the business development of a number of entrepreneurial projects in Russia, including an early military conversion project importing Russian high tech materials to the U.S., a pioneering U.S.-Russian joint venture bringing telecommunications to Russia's provinces and the foundation of a business center in the Russian city of Yaroslavl'.
He formed B.E.A. Associates in 1992. The company has a domestic Massachusetts law practice in business and real estate but focuses on representing clients from the Russian-speaking community and on representing Russian companies entering the U.S. market. In addition, it is a consulting practice focused on building business ties in Russia. In recent years, Satinsky's consulting work has been concentrated in the areas of software development, telecommunications and other areas of technology.
Although he has learned to speak Russian, Satinsky still finds it difficult at times to communicate because Americans and Russians have such different world reference points. "Even sometimes when we use the same words we don't mean the same things — our experiences have been formed by our environment, our education system, our attitudes towards the law and government officials," said Satinsky.
However, on a personal basis, Satinsky says his individual friendships with those he has met and worked with in Russia are very rewarding. "People value personal relationships highly," said Satinsky, who explains that his Russian acquaintances are very hospitable.
According to Satinsky, the greatest satisfaction is helping people make and accomplish their goals, while bridging cultural difference to accomplish the goals. "I think that's one aspect of what lawyering should be about. It's not always about solving disputes through litigation; it's about solving problems and achieving goals as expeditiously as possible and overcoming barriers to doing it," he explained.