Q&A: Hunter T. Carter
For more than a decade, business litigator Hunter T. Carter, a partner at Arent Fox, has nurtured both personal and business ties to Latin America, and to Colombia in particular.
Carter, 51, is married to Cesar Augusto Zapata, a designer and planner of museums he met in Washington, D.C., almost 14 years ago. Zapata introduced the University of Virginia Law School graduate to his "enchanting" native city—Medellin, Colombia. Carter said that he initially was a little nervous about going to Colombia, but his spouse's family treated the American lawyer "like their 10th child."
"Cesar has taught me about Colombia that its people are incredibly kind, fun, family-oriented, entrepreneurial, and both exhausted from decades of violence and tireless in trying to build a better country and community," Carter said.
After learning about the country's economic and political improvement, Carter said he "decided to be committed to it as as family member, neighbor and investor."
Carter, who is the head of his firm's Colombian working group, said he built a "great network" through a blog he started on Colombia that has had more than 50,000 hits, hundreds of subscribers and visitors. He said that his clients value the blog as a source of helpful information, although "no one hires lawyers like me, only because of the blog." He has handled legal matters in Chile and Argentina as well as in Colombia and is looking forward to many more.
Carter also has been an active supporter of LGBT rights in Colombia, where he advocated a marriage equality bill before the Colombian Senate. He wrote in his blog that false stereotypes and religious dogma dominated the debate. However, several couples have now been legally married, and challenges have been continuing, he said.
Q: How did you become involved in the law? Can you describe your practice?
A: As a kid I was pretty argumentative! But seriously, I think I have always known I would be a lawyer. I have always been concerned about responsibility, rules of fair play, and justice issues, as well as the infinite variety of people's stories. It's no surprise that I ended up as a business litigator.
Q: How did you become involved in Latin American matters?
A: I am married to a Colombian, and we spent a fair amount of time there. Over the last decade, there has been an amazing improvement in Colombia, and it has spurred a lot of business and investment. Since litigators analyze, advocate, and then adapt to new cases, I knew I could figure out a way to participate in the opportunities presented by Colombia's comeback. To learn, I started reading and networking intensively and that led to my starting a blog, The Colombian Law & Business Post (www.colombialawbiz.com), and joined the New York City Bar's Committee on Inter-American Affairs. Most of my practice is still domestic litigation and arbitration, but that's changing.