Global-wide - Leading Law Firm Networks (Legal Networks) Lawyers & Law Firms - Global - Chambers and Partners
Chambers & Partners has detected the use of an ad blocker.
We make use of tailor-made ads to enhance your experience of our website.
Please 'whitelist' https://www.chambersandpartners.com.
Close
Global Guide

Leading Law Firm Networks (Legal Networks) — Global-wide

Overview

GLOBAL LAW FIRM NETWORKS: An Introduction to Leading Law Firm Networks: The Elite Orlando J Casares

The year of technological clatter.

And there will be wars and rumours of wars... but be not troubled… for the end is not yet.

There is an unseen war of sorts being fought in the legal industry. A bit dramatic some might say. You be the judge.

The General Counsel is leading the charge with her ever-so-assertive in-house legal team and is unleashing an onslaught of demands and requirements from its legal service providers, the likes of which have never been seen before in the industry (e.g. freebies before engagement, alternative billing, eradication of hourly rates, spreading risk of payment on factors besetting the client’s own industry such as oil prices at certain levels, valuation of stock, valuation of profitability as reported in the books, unprecedented low annual retainers offered as legal insurance (regardless of time spent) to cover every need of corporate clients, including litigation, etc).

Big law firms are not just taking it but are pushing back. As discussed in the overview I wrote in last year’s edition of Chambers Global, the avalanche of mergers and combinations among law firms seen during the past couple of years has continued relentlessly. The mega law firms continue to wield their power and influence and keep getting stronger. In many cases, their over a thousand dollar/euro hourly rates do not seem to be under attack, so they like to argue.

Perhaps nowhere is this battle going to be felt more than by the unsettling clatter technology is making across the industry. One barometer to look at is the number of IT companies venturing into the legal market, as seen by the growing number of start-ups and other more renowned IT companies offering their technology services at the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) annual get-together where FLI and a number of law firms as well as other networks attend as sponsors regularly.

Among the services on offer the following are just a few worth considering:

Software includes features such as legal calendaring, legal workflow processing based on court rules, time tracking, billing and invoicing, payroll processing, law firm accounting and law firm trust accounting; others include features such as a contact manager, a customer relationship manager, time tracking and document management capabilities as well as introducing the client to a list of certified consultants who can help provide additional support for their IT-business model.

Other services include billing software for any company but which has an industry-specific legal edition for attorneys, as well as the American Bar Association (ABA) Task Codes, conflict of interest checking, trust accounting and trust reporting. Then there is legal practice management software that works with Microsoft Outlook, designed to organise one’s law firm’s Outlook email, calendar, contacts and tasks by client or project. This service allows attorneys to track and organise documents, phone calls, time and billing and other law firm practice information using Outlook; other software offers legal practice management targeted to law firms that seek a single integrated IT solution to run both Mac and Windows operating systems so that client management, email management, invoicing, trust accounting and customisable workflow automation can be provided to the attorneys working under the same roof. These services can now be offered as a desktop version or cloud-based solution. And the list goes on. By the time you, the reader of this overview, finish reading, there will be a number of other hopeful entrants to the industry hoping yet again to disrupt the market.

While this remains relatively early days, and thus the risk for failure for misusing the technology may render a firm vulnerable to claims over legal malpractice if items are missed and not caught by the evolving IT suite of services on offer, an element in the clatter becoming louder and louder is the recent focus by outside funding (some by non-lawyers) such as venture capital investment in legal technologies. This interesting development will bring an increased pressure from clients for firms to utilise those tools to optimise the delivery of the service and yes, reduce costs. It stands to reason that firms unable (or unwilling) to keep current with the advances in technology will experience loss of market share from clients who see a value to be gained from the use of technology. Firms will have to weigh the costs of these new services against the risk of clients going to a firm or network of law firms, as may be the case, that already has such capabilities.

Savvy outside investors are starting to eye a potentially colossal opportunity with substantial returns. The market is now seeing a small (but very well-funded) number of companies offering to bank-roll up front high-end litigation costs for lawsuits with a strong likelihood of successful outcomes but for the lack of funds.

So while there will continue to be external forces investing and looking to invest in our industry, from within the office of the GC, the in-house legal team will continue to push for technological enhancement to manage workflows for their internal matters. Matter management and workflow will follow the path of legal spend management and analytics. The previously unchallenged legal providers who had been acting for this or that client for decades will find themselves in uncharted territory. As in-house counsel gains greater access to a new and expanded set of rich data to track trends, law firms will have to demonstrate value through easily translated measurements. The insatiable appetite of the GC for intelligent data from which to precisely measure better results which in turn will require additional, faster, more precise data from which to measure yet even better results, is here to stay.

Internal process efficiency to manage resources will be applied with the same degree of emphasis as it is for legal spend, in order to keep in-house teams on target. This degree of precision will be expected from their outside legal providers. For many law firms whose compasses have not found this technology-breakthrough’s true north, they will be lost and left behind. No one is immune, but fear not and be of good cheer for the end is not yet. We shall see together how our industry unfolds amidst these challenges.

Article contributed by Orlando J Casares

READ MORE

READ LESS

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 94

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 32

About this network: ADVOC connects member firms in around 70 countries across North and South America, Europe and Asia, and adds to its reach through an informal association with Lex Africa. Membership is awarded after a thorough vetting process, subject to peer review and re-evaluated yearly. The network is further organised into practice groups, covering and collaborating on all major areas. In addition to yearly member conferences, the network regularly organises a series of training and client-facing events. Cohesion and further learning opportunities are promoted by placement exchange programmes, shared resources including a library, and the ADVOC junior programme. Simon Rous of Ashfords LLP in London is a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 146

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 57

About this network: This well-established network has a strong US presence, with 80 members located in 95 US cities, as well as an additional 70 members spread across Europe, Canada, Asia, Australia, Africa and Latin America. The network places a great deal of importance on fostering the relationships between its member firms, by organising meetings, seminars, educational programmes, joint publications and collaborative practice groups. Members of ALFA International are experienced in a full array of areas, from business litigation to transportation. Stephanie Blankenship is a key contact on the business development side, while Peter Rogers is the CEO.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 59

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 16

About this network: Previously known as the International Alliance of Law Firms, this geographically exclusive network operates in over 40 countries worldwide. Members have experience in all major practice areas, from banking to tax, and are organised into a number of specialised service groups, including labour and employment and IP/IT. Member firms frequently collaborate to assist clients in a variety of industries, including the leisure and hospitality, technology and healthcare sectors. Referrals are tracked and clients are regularly surveyed to ensure a consistent level of service is maintained throughout the network. Members meet regularly and the network's yearly meeting includes an international client seminar. Wendy Horn is a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

Business Counsel, Inc.

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 29

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 25

About this network: Business Counsel, Inc. brings together a number of firms in the USA, as well as Australia, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The group operates as a non-exclusive referral network. Members meet twice a year at events to which clients are sometimes invited. These events also provide a platform for the discussion of concerns and ideas. Marion Priest is the executive director of the network and a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 106

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 49

About this network: Globalaw is an alliance of medium-sized member firms in 85 jurisdictions around the world. With the exception of the larger countries, most jurisdictions are covered by one full-service firm. With one global and three regional meetings held every year, members are able to strengthen ties and relationships at regular gatherings, as well as through the network's 'business initiatives', or practice groups. Globalaw also features a leadership programme for young lawyers and frequently organises lawyer exchanges between member firms. Michael Hatchwell is a key contact at the network.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

The Harmonie Group. Canadian Litigation Counsel (CLC)

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 92

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 31

About this network: This network continues to grow and offers coverage in every US state, as well as across Canada, through the Canadian Litigation Counsel. The Harmonie Group further includes firms in Asia, Latin America and Europe. Member firms are carefully vetted to ensure they comply with the network's high standards for litigation defence services. The Harmonie Group organises three yearly conferences and members are required to attend at least one in order to encourage co-operation and the sharing of referrals. Timothy Violet is the executive director of the network and a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

International Business Law Consortium

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 91

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 25

About this network: This network of small to medium-sized firms with territorial exclusivity is particularly active in Europe and North America, with added strengths in Latin America, Asia, South Africa and Nigeria. Members provide full-service support to clients, and are particularly well regarded for their banking and finance, M&A, international trade, tax and dispute resolution expertise, as well as their experience with SMEs. The network holds two meetings per year, and members are required to attend at least once every two years. Chris Campbell is a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

International Lawyers Network

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 74

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 28

About this network: The International Lawyers Network compiles the full-service offerings of member firms in 67 jurisdictions around the world. The strictly vetted membership, made up of mid-sized firms with a strong international outlook, meets regularly to share knowledge and exchange ideas. Members of the network regularly handle transactions and dispute resolution in a number of areas, including corporate and commercial matters, tax, employment and IP law. Lindsay Griffiths is a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 515

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 132

About this network: This is a multidisciplinary network of full-service firms, accountants and finance providers covering over 155 jurisdictions. Sources agree that "the strength of the network undoubtedly relies on the diversity of its members." IR Global places significant importance on practice area and niche expertise, and members are grouped into ten specialist practice working groups across the globe to better service clients. Each member is assisted by a client manager and the network organises regular webinars and offers other interactive tools and resources, including a strong social media presence and an app. Thomas Wheeler is the network's managing director and a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

The Law Firm Network

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 49

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 14

About this network: This network includes mid-sized member firms in approximately 40 countries around the world. The network can also draw on the expertise of a wider net of affiliate firms. Prospective firms are often introduced by existing members and are thoroughly vetted, ensuring consistency of service. Members are deeply entrenched in the legal landscape of their region and offer full-service capabilities to an array of clients. Collaboration on multi-country mandates and referrals between firms are encouraged by the network's four annual meetings. Executive director Tony Kirwan is a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

Lawyers Associated Worldwide (LAW)

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 95

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 30

About this network: Lawyers Associated Worldwide brings together a large group of well-established, full-service firms in close to 60 countries across the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Member firms demonstrate expertise in a number of core practice areas, including banking and finance, M&A, tax, real estate and dispute resolution. Members meet regularly at their respective regional meetings as well as at the network's AGM. Chairman Kathleen Deutsch is a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 66

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 40

About this network: Legalink is a network of well-established firms in Europe, Asia and, increasingly, North and South America and Africa. Members provide cross-border advice on commercial law and dispute resolution to an array of clients, frequently collaborating and referring work to one another. Referrals are tracked and co-operation is encouraged at the network's two annual meetings. Members can rely on a number of online resources, including a newly launched app. Maria de Sá Nogueira is a key contact for the network.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

Legal Network International (LNI)

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 60

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 20

About this network: LNI includes full-service, medium-sized member firms in over 50 countries worldwide. Members are well positioned to handle international mandates for clients, and have formed tight-knit relationships within the network in order to better meet clients' needs. LNI places a great deal of importance on personal contact between members and organises two yearly meetings to encourage co-operation and the exchange of knowledge and to promote referral opportunities. Robert Rakison and Horace Gautier are key contacts on the steering committee.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

LEGUS International Network of Law Firms

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 69

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 17

About this network: The members of this network are based in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa and serve the needs of clients in every sector. They meet regularly to network, share information and participate in educational programmes and therefore build strong personal relationships with like-minded peers. Sandra Boyer is the co-founder and president of LEGUS and a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

LEXWORK International

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 42

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 19

About this network: This well-established network provides representation in 35 countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia. LEXWORK International is built on a spirit of congeniality and co-operation between members, and participation at meetings and conference calls is high. Every member abides by the network's international practice standards and collaborates on the publication of a regular newsletter. Derek McCulloch in the UK and Brian Anderson in the USA are key contacts.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

Mackrell International

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 91

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 28

About this network: Mackrell International is a well-established network, founded in 1987, which now includes 90 members spread across 60 countries worldwide. Regular events are held for both member firms and their respective clients. MI also operates a Young Lawyers group, which runs various meeting and training opportunities, as well as a secondment programme. Managing director Clive Mieville is a key contact for the network.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

MSI Global Alliance

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 116

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 25

About this network: This multidisciplinary network of legal and accounting firms offers excellent geographical coverage, with a presence in over 100 countries around the world. Members are selected following a thorough due diligence process to ensure the network's standards are upheld. Member firms all offer full-service capabilities and have territorial exclusivity on a country or regional basis. The network meets regularly to exchange knowledge and best practice and for training events. CEO Tim Wilson is a key contact.

^ Return to Top

Leading Law Firm Networks - Global-wide

Pacific Rim Advisory Council

From the Chambers Global guide

Number of member firms: 30

Number of firms ranked in Chambers guides: 27

About this network: This network was founded in 1984 in order to better service the needs of international clients in the Pacific Rim region. Member firms are located in Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia and North America and meet at semi-annual conferences. Further resources, such as online discussion boards, a shared library and collaborative publications, contribute to the group's cohesiveness. John Shirbin is a key contact for the network.

^ Return to Top

We do not rank lawyers for this territory and specialism but we rank networks.