Although law firms today face a seemingly vast array of strategic, operational, and management challenges arising from the globalization of the legal services industry, there are at least five emerging trends that characterize law firms that are successfully building profitable cross-border and multinational practices, even when based in only one office or country.
This paper, presented by Walker Clark principal Norman Clark at the 2022 Annual Conference of the American Bar Association International Law Section, on 29 April 2022, describes these five trends, based on observations and research by the author and other Walker Clark consultants in law firms over the past twenty years.
There are other emerging trends and challenges, but each of these four ongoing developments presents significant opportunities, not only for the “BigLaw” global giants, but for smaller firms as well. In fact, it is probably easier for some smaller law firms to make and manage the changes that these trends compel than it is for some larger firms. To emphasize this point, the primary focus and application of this commentary is on small and midsize firms, particularly ones currently based at a single location or in a single jurisdiction, but the same principles apply to large firms, as well.