date: 2020-03-28

Of Foreign Counsel, Aaron Hurvitz    

    Resilience.  Strength. Patience. Cooperation. Optimism.  These are just a few of the words that instantly come to mind when I speak to any one of my 451 colleagues in Beijing, currently bound to their homes due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  I have been on the ground working and living in China for more than eleven years, and I think it took a tragic event such as this to really understand the psyche and determination of my coworkers, my friends.

    I have always known that the people I work with are some of the smartest, most capable, and intuitive in my profession.  I have long known that these very people are always a step ahead of the competition with their finger on the pulse of the market.  Dodging effortlessly through professional trials and tribulations, navigating the shoals in constant forward progress.  I have always admired the way my colleagues handle situations, often pulling from some inner voice that comes with 5000 years of Chinese culture and change.  With every dealing it would seem that they would understand every situation from some basic primal level, and me as the outsider would be left wondering why and how said conclusion could be reached.  I would always just chalk it up to a difference in culture and understanding, often concluding to myself that “this was how things worked in China.” 

    It took a global pandemic for me to realize that inside every one of my colleagues is a great deal more than just culture and tradition, and a track record of growth and success.  The strength my colleagues, my friends, have shown far exceed pure instinctual human survival.  It’s remarkable.

    Many of my colleagues, my friends, are stuck at home.  Working diligently to carry the flag, representing our firm to the best of their abilities.  Each continue to work harder than ever, even with the looming uneasiness and fear that the present situation brings.  To me it’s as if no one has missed a beat.  No one has faltered in the least bit as the clouds of uncertainty continue to loom.  I once read a quote that said, “in times of trouble, always be brave, even if you’re not, because no one can tell the difference.”  For most of my life I stood by that quote, often reciting it to those who found themselves in peril.  Always be brave, even if you’re not.  Afterall, no one can tell the difference.  After more than thirty years of standing by that quote, I can now unequivocally say that this does not apply to any of my colleagues, my friends.  None of the 451 fellow members of my firm are acting brave.  They ARE brave.  There is no question in my mind. 

    Waking up to the uncertainty of what a new dawn will bring is something unfathomable.  As the rest of the world is now under the curtain that COVID-19 brings upon us all, I hope that we can muster the strength to pull something from the Chinese playbook. 

    Strength. Resilience. Patience. Determination.  All these characteristics added together will give us a sum of something more positive than we can fathom at this time.  This winter of anxiety and despair will bring a new dawn of light and the spring of confidence and rebirth.  I am confident of this.  And I have 451 colleagues and friends in China to thank.  Xie Xie Ni!