Wisconsin Lawyer: 10 Questions: Ryan Holtan-Murphy: Man of Many Continents:

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  • Wisconsin Lawyer
    May
    01
    2013

    10 Questions: Ryan Holtan-Murphy: Man of Many Continents

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    How does a nice kid from Wauwatosa satisfy his wanderlust while flourishing in a demanding career in London? We asked Ryan Holtan-Murphy just that. Here’s a guy who has perfected the art of combining business and travel. He just does it on a grander scale than most.

    How did you end up practicing in investment banking?

    After graduating from the U.W. Law School in 2004, I wasn’t really clear in which direction I wanted my career to go. I wanted to do something different, but I wasn’t quite sure what that would be. I’d always wanted to move to New York, and a good friend of mine from law school, Nate Rice, told me about document review opportunities in Manhattan. I jumped at the chance, and after a few months crashing on my brother’s couch, I established myself and got my career going. (Nate also got me an interview at an investment banking firm a year later. I owe him and his wife quite a bit!)

    How did you end up in London?

    I’d been with my firm for just over three years and had dealt with a number of our overseas offices on various matters. I knew that I wanted to work overseas and had volunteered to go wherever a young, hungry lawyer was needed. When they asked me if I wanted to move to London, I practically said yes before I even knew the details of the role. Thankfully, it’s been challenging and fun, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

    Ryan Holtan-Murphy on Mt. Kilimanjaro

    Photo insert: com gbpackerfanatic gmail Ryan Holtan-Murphy displays hometown pride at Uhuru Peak on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

    What type of matters do you handle?

    I’m currently managing a team of 16 document negotiators of varied international legal backgrounds. My team is responsible for drafting and negotiating international investment agreements with institutional counterparts throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. We do a lot of work with jurisdictional review as well as regulatory compliance, and we face varying entities from hedge funds to sovereign governments to supranational organizations. There’s never a dull moment!

    Was the move to London your first experience with international travel?

    I’ve had the travel bug my whole life and have been fortunate to have had many opportunities to see as much of the world as possible, from a stint teaching English in Japan to a scholarship to study in Scandinavia. I find there’s nothing that forces you to learn quite as fast as stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new. My love of travel and new challenges led me to create my travel bucket list.

    What’s on your bucket list?

    Well, there were three things I really wanted to accomplish: visiting all 50 states, visiting all 28 countries in the European Union (there are 27 today but Croatia joins July 1, 2013, so I counted it), and setting foot on all seven continents. Just visiting the airport doesn’t count. For my list, I had to actually get out and see something in each place.

    How is it going so far?

    Thanks to several road trips with friends, I managed to complete the 50-state challenge in 2008. The last leg involved a mind-numbing drive alone across eastern Montana (I would’ve killed to see just one tree) and a race through the streets of Salt Lake City thanks to a delayed flight. Since moving to London, I’ve taken advantage of being so close to the rest of Europe to go through the list, and last October I took a train to Bratislava, Slovakia, to complete all 28 EU countries.

    What about all seven continents? That must be the toughest one, right?

    It definitely has been, yes. I finally checked that off the list this past December when I made it to Antarctica. It was a heck of a trip to get there: a 10-hour flight from London to Miami, a nine-hour flight from Miami to Buenos Aires, a long layover there and then a three-hour flight to Ushuaia, right at the very bottom of South America. And, then we boarded the ship. Three days over rough seas later, we finally made it.

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    What was Antarctica like – all icebergs and penguins?

    It’s by far the harshest and most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. It was an incredible feeling when I stepped off the Zodiac and onto the Antarctic continent – a dream come true. (Although for a while it felt like a nightmare, but that was just when we did the Polar Plunge.) The trip was incredible; in addition to sea kayaking among penguins, whales, and sea lions, I spent a night camping on the ice sheet without a tent. Cold doesn’t begin to describe it.

    What’s this about you and a Packers flag in Antarctica?

    I’m a huge Packers fan. Like so many of my fellow Cheeseheads, I live and die with the team and I watch them wherever I am. One of my favorites was watching the Pack beat the Bears in the NFC Championship Game in January 2011. I was in a sports bar in Madrid in the middle of the night, somehow surrounded by people from Chicago. It was great! I also flew back to Wisconsin to watch the Super Bowl on TV with friends.

    Wherever I go, I bring my Packers jersey to show my Wisconsin pride. In addition to me being a big fan, the Packers are a connection to the people and places in Wisconsin that I carry with me wherever I go. I also have a tattoo of the outline of the state of Wisconsin on my arm. Wisconsin is always home, no matter where I live.

    What’s next on your travel itinerary?

    I’m currently working on a new bucket list. In addition to the goal of visiting every county in Wisconsin (that one may take a while), I’m planning on climbing Machu Picchu in Peru later in the year and also really want to get back into scuba diving. I’m also bringing over a group of English friends this fall to show them game day at Lambeau Field. My ultimate destination may take a while. If I ever do make it to space, I’m retiring the bucket lists altogether.