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“We were really watching the emergence of a new equity market,” he says. Before the IPO, “there was institutional involvement but very few individuals were stock investors. One of the objectives of the offering was to generate significant German retail demand.”

That enthusiasm retreated with the bursting of the technology bubble but equity strategists are watching to see if it may now be poised to revive, in Germany and elsewhere, as markets seem to be starting to recover after a three-year slump, Willman says.

While economic authorities still have to deal with issues such as the rising U.S. budget deficit and increased unemployment, there are some encouraging signs, he says.

“We haven’t necessarily turned the corner, but there’s a level of activity in terms of transactions that has definitely improved in the past several months,” Willman says. “I’m more cautiously optimistic than I have been for a while.”

Life as an expatriate has added a dimension to the life of Willman and his family that he welcomes. After 11 years in London, he sees his children – ages 10, 8 and 6 – growing up with both British and American sensibilities.

“We want them to be comfortable in the culture where they live but also in the United States,” he says. For his oldest child in particular, the events of 9/11 strengthened a sense of identification with the U.S.

The international experience has been an exciting enhancement to his life. “It’s part of what has made me enjoy my professional career,” he says. “I’m very confident that it has added a dimension to my personal and professional life that would not have been there otherwise.”

Penn law took on a distinct international flavor in February when LL.M. students from 30 countries celebrated and shared their cultures. Traditional foods were served, crafts displayed, and music played. The event reflected the growing numbers of international students at the Law School.

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