Splitting hairs? Or just drowning in a cup of soup?

Maybe I am just making a mountain out of a mole hill, but I am really freaking out here!  Or like always, realising a little too late how much I have bitten off and seriously wondering whether I should spit it out or start chewing.

They say that you eat an Elephant: “one bite at a time”.

So, what is it that has me so caught up and my guts all wound up in a tight knot?  My final assignment for my Master’s degree for ADEN (law school in Panama, that has it’s head office in Argentina).

I had an epiphany about what I wanted to do for my final assignment for my master’s degree… take my Thesis from graduation of law school (in 2001, all 302 pages of it), update it to the laws and case studies of 2010, add 2 extra chapters to it (say, over 400 pages), and then ADEN will publish it for me.

It honestly sounded really great; in theory, at least.

But now… reality is starting to set in.  Firstly, I am looking at it, when thinking of a published work, and there’s things that I need to change if it’s to be published.  And secondly, there’s so much that I’ve learnt between 2001 and 2010 – do I really want to continue down that line of thought, or branch off into other areas?  And thirdly, do I want to write about what the law says and should say; or do I really want to dive in to a critique of everything that the law doesn’t even contemplate in Panama and why it doesn’t, but should.

I’ve come crashing down to the reality that I can’t do it all!  Firstly, if it’s going to be a book to be published, is there really room for presenting a total critique of what we don’t have?  Obviously, in comparative law, of course there is!  But if it’s about what we don’t have, then I probably shouldn’t spend 4 chapters on what we do have the theoretical underpinings of the law.

The thesis as it was written in 2001:

  • Introduction
  • Historical & theoretical context
  • The obligation to divulge information in the Securities Market – how this guarantees transparency
  • Responsibility and Sanctions if you fail to comply
  • Conclusions

What I thought (at the time) was missing:

  • Corporate Governance
  • Mutual Funds & Pension Administration rules

What I think is missing now:

  • Corporate Governance
  • Mutual Funds & Pension Administration rules
  • Corporate entities that Panama doesn’t have or use – tax and corporate structures that work in other countries.  Why are small and medium companies not able to raise capital on the stock market in Panama?
  • How Panama doesn’t have market makers and therefore the stock market has no liquidity

Unfortunately – the Corporate Entities section would be a whole book in and of itself – although it really is intrinsically tied to all the rest of the information. The problem is that I would have to come down to explain corporate entities, general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited guaranty companies, as well as normal LLCs and Corporations.  And just in finishing all of this and the comparisons between Panamanian law and comparative law, that’s a book in and of itself.

So… What to do?  Do I chicken out? Do I continue on my quest to slay the dragon?  What do I really want to achieve here?  Am I looking to educating lawyers and other market players to be more creative? Or am I looking to encourage the Panamanian market to grow?  Do I want to criticise for the sake of having legislative changes made?  Who is my audience?  What is my purpose?

sure… my head is now spinning…

And looking at my personal motives is equally exhausting (pride, fulfilling a goal, making mum & dad proud, being a published author, educating others that I think are way behind the 8-ball, and the OVERWHELMING fear that maybe I’m biting off more than I can chew).

Which of all the above is it?


  1. Hey chica! Personally I think you should see this as a series of books … the first one to establish the grounding with a taster of the direction you are going in … and then a second and a third book to develop the argument/ education etc of your honourable peers in Panama and across the world …

    Personal motives are positive things too – I wish I could tap back into mine, but seem to have misplaced them somewhere along the way.

    Try not to boil the ocean … see this as an opportunity to establish yourself and then go from there!!


    • Like the idea (lots) of the series of books. Going to start with the one about securities law…
      and keep the corporate structures for later.
      That could be a real quagmire of economics and finance if I try to study why these structures wouldn’t work in the Panamanian Securities market.
      I’ll write the corporate stuff later, but just keep it to corporate law and suggest how it “might” work in the securities market without going into the criticism of why the current securities market doesn’t work for raising money.

  2. Vikki’s comments are rational -that’s good, but would YOU be satisfied?
    Forget about pleasing Dad & I, we’re already so proud of you,& by the way thanks for all the trip organising. We are so enjoying our time with cousin Mike, who by the way is a professor at the local community college teaching the management of small business! maybe you should email him.
    Back to the topic- i think I understood- you have an elephant to eat that has grown into a mammoth! So can you cut the mammoth down to elephant size. What could you leave for another dissertation, or another book as Vik says!
    I expect only you, or a professor of Laws could answer your question. ?Why don’t you ask one? Hope this helps! Mum
    PS Someone should tell the Panamanian Legislation what they need, maybe that someone is YOU!

    • You have no idea how much that suggestion helped! Just thinking of trying to explain it all to Ceville and Mitchell cleared up my thoughts 100%.
      I suddenly realised how many minefields I would be walking into.

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