Bob Delamar, Director of Business Development for Raysat, Inc. in Vienna, Virginia, thinks big. Always has. No inside-the-box for him. Who knows—maybe it’s the traveling. The next two weeks include stops in Nashville, Vancouver, Tokyo and Beijing—an itinerary mapped in the latitudes and longitudes of the entire globe.
Maybe it’s the influence of larger-than-life former Senator Ray Perrault, a maternal cousin and hero to the young Delamar, who said, “You know, son, I think you’d make a fine lawyer someday.”
Or maybe it’s the career trajectory. After earning his B.A. in history and political science at BC’s Trinity Western University, Delamar spent a year in Japan teaching English. When he returned to begin law school at UBC, he started up *spark-online, an Internet culture and technology magazine that was so successful it led to a recruiting call from Silicon Valley.
Delamar left law school after first year and headed to California to become the Manager of Business Development for netVmg Inc., where his work took him back to Japan. On August 30, 2001, Delamar returned to law school in Vancouver, sensing an imminent industry recession. Two weeks later, terrorist attacks reshaped the North American landscape in realms both personal and political. “What I remember most,” he says, “is the quietude that settled over campus in the weeks that followed.”
Throughout second year, Delamar continued to consult for netVmg, alternating bi-monthly flights to Tokyo with studying for exams. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws in 2003, then articled for a year with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, after which the CEO of the company formerly known as netVmg called to offer him a position with his new company—Raysat, Inc. Delamar is responsible for commercial and consumer sales of in-motion satellite antennas in Canada, China and Japan.
It was when he was first working in Japan in 1999 that Delamar chose to study law at UBC, where the Asian Legal Studies program was reputed to be one of the best in North America. “Most Asian societies are deeply influenced by Confucian thought,” he explains, “so if you don’t understand both traditional Confucianism but also how the Chinese Communist Party worked to destroy some of those traditional hierarchies, you’re not really going to understand the context in which you’re doing business.” He adds, “You’re dealing with an entirely different legal and regulatory regime. Because the rule of law is primary here [in North America], you can always appeal to this rational function that sort of sits beyond the business plane. But in China and Japan, that’s not the case.”
Delamar talks at length about the profound influence both his instructors and fellow students had on his thinking. He cites Professor Janis Sarra as having encouraged active student participation in her classes, and regrets the passing of Professor Stephan Salzberg: “He was an intellectual giant. He managed to explicate [the] relationship between law and culture probably better than anyone else.” Guest professors Jeff Belsher of Blake, Cassels & Graydon, and Michael Korenberg from the Jim Pattison Group were living proof of how “the highly complex situations that you deal with in the business world can be illuminated by the function of legal thought.”
“In strict academic terms,” Delamar recalls, “the Asian Legal Studies department was instrumental in some of the work that I do now.” In not-so-academic terms, the Gallery Lounge was equally instrumental. Contracts class ran from 8:30 til 10:00 every Friday morning, the next class wasn’t til 2:00 p.m., and the lounge opened at 11:00.
“The debates and the dialogue that happened in those two or three hours were fundamentally instructive to me. My classmates were … an incredible group of very bright, very lively young people. [They] more than anything else were the greatest benefit and influence on my life.”
Delamar says the 24/7 economy should drive the Law Faculty to be early adopters of new technology, to continue to engage guest faculty from outside of North America and to encourage an approach to the practice of law that extends beyond the traditional.
“Law school is very much the beginning of your career. Think big. Use it as a resource. That global economy is out there, and it will serve you well.”
Written by Diane Haynes and originally published in the UBC Law Alumni Magazine, Fall 2005. A PDF of the full issue can be found here