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April 29, 2010

Smaller, Nimbler and Excellent Goes Global.

Maybe you need to get out more? We estimate that worldwide there are now at least 400 international law groups and alliances which count law or accounting firms as members. Some cover or focus on regions (e.g. Latin American, Western Europe, Greater Asia); some specialize (IP and IP enforcement); many take on the whole world (remember the goofy term "full service"), with members in as many as 100 different cities worldwide.

Some, of course, are older, better organized and staffed, or more tightly-knit, than than others. Hull McGuire has participated actively in and used two such groups since 1998, including the IBLC, an alliance based in Salzburg, Austria. IBLC has 100 firms (most of them longstanding) and 1500 professionals.

International groups are nothing new. But they grow in number and usefulness as two things occur: (1) technology continues to level the playing field in the competition for the best clients, and (2) higher-end lawyers form boutiques, boutique "clusters", and firms between 5 and 250 (read: smaller) lawyers to service those clients, often at rates comparable to "large-firm" rates.

No matter what billing regime or model is used--hourly, flat or hybrid--the idea is value. The best thing? As firms "unbundle" their best practice areas to the global markets, sophisticated clients are offered the ultimate menu.

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Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzb├╝hel Desk) at April 29, 2010 03:50 AM

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