In an ever competitive legal market, lawyers should differentiate themselves by highlighting their international skills.
Like it or not, globalization is here to stay.
After the 2008 crisis, some predicted a retreat back into localism, and a renewed focus on domestic markets.
The opposite has happened. Battered Western governments and businesses are belatedly looking far from their shores in an effort to tap new markets.
One of the most interesting developments of recent years is how international work is now a feature of almost all business lawyers’ practices.
In the past, a cross-border practice was seen as the preserve of a small group of large, elite firms.
But lawyers in all segments of the market are now working on international matters.
It’s incredible how many lawyers are dong interesting, international work – whether it’s their domestic clients seeking new overseas markets, or an inbound investor looking for local law advice.
A lawyer I met yesterday, Vitoria Nabas of Nabas Legal, is a good example of the modern international lawyer.
Triple qualified in Brazil, the UK, and Portugal, Ms.Nabas runs a UK-based firm which serves European clients looking to invest in Brazil. (pictured: Sao Paulo)
Similarly, I recently read about a firm in Colorado where a group of lawyers had developed strong Korean and Chinese practices.
Despite the caricature of the swaggering, confident lawyer, it’s surprising how many lawyers undersell themselves.
As well as specific areas of practice and industry sector speciality, international experience is an obvious but under-used differentiator.
I bet most lawyers could answer yes to at least one of these things below:
- Are you dual qualified?
- Admitted to the bar in another country (ies)?
- Are you part of a foreign desk at your firm?
- Do you head a particular foreign practice?
- Have you lived abroad?
- Practiced in another country?
- Are you dual-heritage?
- Do you concentrate on work from a particular country/region?
- Are you an expatriate?
- Do you have language skills?
Even if your practice is a more traditional national one, highlighting your international skills, or drawing attention to a recent run of matters involving a particular country, could make the difference when a client is weighting up which lawyer to call.
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