Why sophisticated content wins the attention of the General Counsel

A recent article by Jennifer Smith (@SmithJenBK) in the Wall Street Journal Law Blog outlines advice for law firms from Gregory B. Jordan,  former global managing partner of Reed Smith LLP and now general counsel of PNC Financial Services Group Inc – on how best to go about attracting the attention of the General Counsel.  Here are some excerpts from Mr Jordan’s advice:

John Grimley at the Office of the General Counsel, The Wold Bank, Bangkok, November, 20, 2014

John Grimley at the Office of the General Counsel, The World Bank, Bangkok, November, 20, 2014

  • “Quick, timely updates on regulatory shifts…are useful…Reams of glossy marketing material, not so much.”
  • “Accounting firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers are “eating law firms’ lunch” when it comes to briefing clients on upcoming challenges—including regulatory and legal shifts. “They have armies of brilliant people who are focused on the business in the way that law firms, even the best ones, just aren’t,’”
  • ‘Specific expertise is crucial. Don’t bury clients in a blizzard of press releases about one-off hires in various offices—instead, explain why your lawyers are best-suited to handle a particular matter or issue.”
  • “Bone up on your client’s industry, and make sure your partners do too, so you can advise them on what hurdles are lurking around the corner. If you can tell a chief executive how spending $500,000 now will save them from making a $2 million mistake later, ‘that’s value,’”
  • “Watch out for the Wall Street law firms, which in recent years have ‘really raised their game.’ Instead of just kicking back and counting their millions, elite firms are increasingly offering valuable expert insight—’for no charge’—and also putting in shoe leather work.”
  • “Anticipate needs [clients] may not know they have yet.”

Why sophisticated content will win the attention of the General Counsel

Mr. Jordan’s advice should be read carefully by every lawyer in the world who would seek to serve as outside legal counsel to not only large corporations, but international NGO’s, governmental entities, private equity groups and others.  Based on Mr Jordan’s advice, it’s clear that those law firms who seek to know their potential clients needs and anticipate those needs — then go about creating highly sophisticated, actionable intelligence of high value (eg sophisticated content) to address those needs – will be best placed to win new business from the GC.

A case in point:  The World Bank and the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets

Today I had the opportunity to brief, by invitation, the World Bank Asia-Pacific General Counsel’s office – on the myriad trends shaping the Asia-Pacific legal services market.  Those trends include anything from the changing role of the general counsel in hyper-competitive local legal markets — to patterns in regional foreign direct investment.  These insights are based on  a recent book I authored on the region’s legal markets entitled A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets.  Once invited, I worked closely with the GC’s office to custom-tailor my presentation to their needs – and answered many questions on those topics during that presentation.  My ability to identify what issues may be of importance to the GC then custom-tailor a presentation around those issues was based on my years of experience conducting or participating in these sorts of meetings on behalf of my law firm clients.

While this book required 6 months of work and 90,000 words to complete – it doesn’t require a book of this length, or a book at all – for law firms today to produce sophisticated content the general counsel’s office deems useful enough to warrant an invitation to present the findings.  However, law firms should understand that sophisticated content means well researched to semi-scholarly or scholarly standards, of adequate length and focused on topics of high relevance to their audience.

Can blogposts be sufficient?  Yes in some cases they can be.  However, specialized briefs on narrowly focused topics of exclusive interest to and use by a specific individual or select group of general counsels – may go even further in helping your firm build strong ties with clients.

Use sophisticated content to your advantage in a crowded legal market

In seeking to secure the attention of the general counsel among a sea of competitors – it would be wise to heed the advice of Mr Jordan and develop a strategy of providing industry-leading, well-researched and produced information to clients and prospective clients on a regular basis.  It appears clear that the creation of sophisticated content with high relevance to the general counsel –  may stand not only a good chance of winning their attention, but an invitation to present those findings in person as well.

46dcc894fe940c873fb966b046eda439_400x400John Grimley helps law firms create sophisticated content strategies focused on meeting the needs of clients and prospective clients. To enquire about his services, contact him at +1.213.814.2855 or at jg@jgrimley.com or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

Foreign law firms facing unique challenges in Asia

As has been widely reported, the Asia-Pacific region has become the new focus of attention for international law firms.  At the same time, international competition in the region is accelerating.  In the recently published book: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets — I outline what challenges (as well as what local opportunities) foreign law firms are currently seeing in the region.  Here’s an overview of both:

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Unique challenges facing foreign law firms in Asia

The challenge of achieving profitability are unique and more significant in Asia than they are at home for US and UK firms, as Nick Seddon, Partner at Beaton Capital explained to me in an exclusive interview for the book.  Robet Sawhney, in his book:  Developing a Profitable Practice In Asia, also details the forces driving foreign law firm growth in the region.  An important consideration for foreign firms is the incumbent position of domestic Asian law firms. Local firms in many, if not most, of Asia’s key jurisdictions, will maintain a dominant position as against foreign firms for the foreseeable future via friendly local regulatory environments, competitive climates and taxation of foreign law firms, irrespective of recent liberalization measures having opened the markets.

Another challenge foreign legal firms face entering Asia is the liability of being foreign. Local human capital has the advantage of knowing the market and understanding it in minute detail.  In particular, an understanding of the local prospective client pool.  Without this local knowledge or awareness of the nuances so important to building these relationships, foreign law firms might very well fail.

Nonetheless, foreign firms are making an impact on domestic Asian law firms.  Competitive pressure from US and European firms, as Seddon explained, has seen Asia’s local firms seeking answers to how they might now compete and internationalize.

Unique locales of Asia-Pacific opportunity

The book also provides a look at some of the most important markets within the Asia-Pacific legal market, which a quick snapshot of how international law firms are faring in each:

China – In China in particular, Seddon outlines, many international firms have downsized or moved out altogether due to competitive challenges.

Singapore – Seddon cites Singapore as emerging as a key hub for a variety of industries including private wealth, insurance and arbitration. Seddon sees conditions in Singapore as so competitive that some international law firms may need to leave as a result.

Thailand – Despite recent political turmoil, Seddon sees Thailand’s domestic legal market as a healthy one, albeit with an absence at present of international law firms entering the market in a big way.

Myanmar – Seddon sees Mynamar as a good opportunity, however the market will not develop in an ordered and sequential fashion, hence somewhat unpredictable and therefore inherently challenging to firms who choose to enter the market.

Indonesia – Seddon sees Indonesia at the #1 opportunity for foreign law firms in the region.  Indonesia’s prime attractions for foreign law firms, as he outlined, include:

  • Indonesia is immense and growing.  (74 million ‘middle class and affluent’ consumers live in Indonesia.  This number is projected to rise to 141 million by 2030).C
  • Indonesia’s economy over the last decade has been one of consistently good performance.
  • Despite having yet to substantively liberalize its legal market, it remains attractive and is drawing foreign law firms that are able to forge effective alliances locally.
  • The country has an innate political stability.

Korea – Seddon also sees Korea as potentially attractive to international law firms.  Its growing foreign-trade focused economy and liberalized legal market offer an excellent recipe for foreign firms that get it right in the market.

In future posts, I’ll detail more about what foreign law firms see in both opportunity and challenge in the region.  For more information about A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets – see the Managing Partner website.

46dcc894fe940c873fb966b046eda439_400x400John Grimley, author of A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets, assists legal, financial services and public affairs professionals create and implement custom international business development plans. To enquire about his services, contact him at +1.213.814.2855 or at jg@jgrimley.com or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

Why US exports provide increasing opportunity for lawyers everywhere

US exports are increasing

As the Daily Beast reported in 2013, the notion that America doesn’t make anything that the world wants is a misconception.  They point to a report last year by the US Commerce Department which indicates US exports had reached a record high of $191.1 billion.  The report also outlined how the US is exporting a diversity of products and services including grain, oil, machines and services including education and tourism.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Most potential consumers are outside the United States

As Fox Business reported earlier this year — most potential consumers are outside the United States.  Indeed the U.S. population “accounts for less than 5 percent of the world’s roughly 7.2 billion people”.  And while US consumers on average have more disposable income, the gap in disposable income between American consumers and consumers in developing markets is projected to continue to narrow.

Developing nations playing an increasing role in world trade

The markets for US exports are both expanding and diversifying.  For example, as the Latin American Herald Tribune recently reported:  According to a new report from the World Trade Organization (WTO) — for the first time — “the participation of developing countries in world trade accounts for nearly half of global trade”,

The report highlights that between 2000 and 2012 the involvement of developing countries in world trade increased from 33 percent to 48 percent of global totals.

Obama Administration actively promoting the expansion of US exports

Importantly, the Obama Administration is actively promoting the expansion of US exports.  As Bill Krist II has outlined in America’s Trade Policy (@Trade_Policy), this effort is in “fact…just one of many such efforts by the U.S. Government over the past 40 years.

As Krist outlined: “On March 11, 2010 the [Obama] Administration issued Executive Order 13534, “National Export Initiative” (NEI), which called for the following actions, among others:

  • Expanding the number of trade missions;
  • Strengthening commercial advocacy on behalf of U.S. companies;
  • Increasing the availability of export credit to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • Rebalancing the global economy; and
  • Reducing barriers to our exports and robustly enforcing our trade agreements.”

Importantly for lawyers (which I’ll explain below) is that Krist cautions that:  “Traditional trade promotion techniques implemented since 2010 are very limited in potential. If the U.S. really wants to substantially increase our exports – e.g. to double our exports – we would need to make some serious structural changes.”

Implications for law firms

The forces I’ve described above bode well for lawyers who would seek to act in an entrepreneurial fashion to meet the needs of US companies exporting globally.  US exports are up, developing nations are buying more – and the likelihood is that this trend will continue.  US lawyers can seek to act for those companies - and foreign lawyers in both developed and developing economies – can do so also. Each in unique ways.  That the US government is supporting the efforts of US companies (and has done for decades) reflects both a continued commitment to increasing US exports and the likelihood exports will continue to increase.

Importantly for lawyers, however, is that as I’ve outlined above, US efforts to promote exports point to a need in the market for private sector support to help US exporters find and capitalize upon new markets and niches in existing marketsLaw firms can act as this private sector support if they seek to become a resource to companies in America already exporting or seeking to export.   But this type of initiative requires law firms to understand comprehensively how to go about becoming this resource – and then acting upon the development of this initiative by maintaining an active and disciplined effort to see it to fruition (i.e. the development of  new US export client base).

46dcc894fe940c873fb966b046eda439_400x400John Grimley assists legal, financial services and public affairs professionals create and implement custom international business development plans. To enquire about his services, contact him at +1.213.814.2855 or at jg@jgrimley.com or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

The Asia-Pacific Legal Markets 2014: Opportunities and Challenges

Last Friday evening I made a presentation to the Clyde & Co Asia-Pacific Conference in Hong Kong on the subject: The Asia-Pacific Legal Markets 2014: Opportunities and Challenges.  The presentation was based on excerpts from my new book entitled: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets.  Here’s the outline of that presentation:

10410403_538969076205605_1817142706317518592_nAsia-Pacific Legal Markets projected to double in next few years

On April 18, 2013, Alan Hodgart, London-based management consultant to the legal profession, predicted that the Asian legal market would double in size between 2012 and 2017. Mr Hodgart made this prediction in Seoul at the annual conference of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA).  George Beaton, Partner at Melbourne-based Beaton Capital and management consultant to professional services firms takes a somewhat different view. Beaton outlines why a doubling of the market would not occur by 2017, but rather by approximately 2022.  Whether the Asia-Pacific legal market doubles by 2017, 2022 or later – it will in the estimation of many observers of the global legal profession be one of the most if not the most important legal markets in the world in the not-too-distant future.

What is the Asia-Pacific region?

The Asia-Pacific region is an expression frequently used, yet, what does it mean precisely? The Asia-Pacific region covers an extensive geographic area comprising some 2.8 billion hectares of land or roughly 22% of the global land area. It stretches from the perimeters of China-Mongolia in the north to the southern tip of Australia and New Zealand to the south.

Australia plays an important role in the Asia-Pacific legal market

Asia-Pacific regional integration has been brought about by many years of national and regional collaborative initiatives and strengthened by increasing cross-border trade, financial integration, improvement in mechanisms of human interaction, shifts in technology and transfer of skills.  Australia has been an integral part of this integration. Since 2004, Australian commerce has carried out more trade with Asia than with the rest of the world combined and that trade is on the rise more than four times faster as before. Three of Australia’s five prime trading partners – China, Japan and the Republic of Korea – are in Asia. Together with the ASEAN group, these nations account for approximately half of Australia’s overall international trade activities.

Emerging trends impacting legal services in the region

A number of major factors are influencing the legal services sector globally and in the Asia-Pacific market in 2014. They include: Increased competition; Commoditization hastened by new technology; Novel forms of rivalry from new service providers; A change in the role of in-house general counsel; Globalization; Changing foreign direct investment trends; Economic growth; A shift from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market; More decisions being made by clients; The appeal of Asian markets to western law firms; Legal market liberalization; The rise of the Internet economy;  Price Competition; Intra-Asian law firm growth; Law firm mergers and
Alternative Business Structures.

Key for law firms in the region going forward will include how to address all of the above issues, including: What is the future of NewLaw in Asia? How is technology impacting the practice of law? How is Generational Marketing Becoming More Important for Law Firms?

What are the most important legal markets in the region and why they are important?Plus a look at some of the developing and less recognized nations and their potential in the future.

India; China; South Korea; Japan; Australia, Myanmar and Indonesia

Asia-Pacific Region Legal Market Growth: The impact on US and European firms

According to the Lawyer Asia-Pacific 150 published in June, 2014, the Asia-Pacific region has become the new home of international law firms. In January 2013, Asian Lawyer sized up the international competition in the region and discovered that global giants based in the U.S. were taking the lead in the market. As for the European firms, U.K. based firms dominate the market despite their dwindling headcount.

What are the major opportunities available to US and European firms?

Nick Seddon, Partner with Beaton Capital and former head of Asia for DLA Piper and Eversheds, sees four main opportunities available to US and European firms in Asia: Market liberalization; Economic Growth; Outbound foreign direct investment and Inbound foreign direct investment

What are the major sectoral growth areas?

Reports reflect that the Asia-Pacific is one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world. GDP in the Asia-Pacific region is projected to rise at 6.4% per year between 2011 and 2020, compared to 2.5% in the US and just 1.3% in the Eurozone. Growth will be driven by 5 key industry sectors: Ecommerce, Tourism, Infrastructure, Energy, Machinery and Transport Equipment.

The global impact of the Asia-Pacific legal markets

George Beaton and Eric Chin of Beaton Capital in Australia see regional macro-environment forces and the legal services industry life cycle accelerating the pace of change for indigenous law firms:

  • Five major reasons why the world is now in the Asian Century;
  • How economic changes are impacting local law firms in key markets within the region;
  • The state of the legal services industry life cycle across the Asia-Pacific region;
  • Will Asia foreign direct investment soon lead the world?

Finally:  The Asia-Pacific region has demonstrated high-growth in both inbound and outbound foreign direct investment flows. The region has also demonstrated remarkable flexibility in a challenging global economic atmosphere. The Asia-Pacific region is, therefore, poised to lead the world in the future in both inbound and outbound foreign direct investment.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets. was recently reviewed in Beaton Capital blog by Xinyu Zhang, who wrote:  “Written in an articulate style, the book presents comprehensive and detailed information that will allow law firms to create strategic future plans, making it a must read for legal practitioners who are considering entering into the Asia-Pacific markets or seeking to expand their practices within the region.” [Emphasis added].

46dcc894fe940c873fb966b046eda439_400x400John Grimley assists legal, financial services and public affairs professionals create and implement custom international business development plans. To enquire about his services, contact him at +1.213.814.2855 or at jg@jgrimley.com or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

China invests heavily in Central Europe: How CEE professional services firms can benefit

China is investing more heavily in Central and Eastern Europe and this provides and instant opportunity for professional services firms in the region to generate new clients around this investment.  As Spiegel reported in May of 2012: ”[A]t the April [2012] China-Central Europe-Poland Economic Forum in Warsaw, [then] Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao announced the creation of a $10 billion credit line to support Chinese investments in Central European infrastructure, new technology, and renewable energy.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Indeed, as the New York Times reported in April of that year, Wen stated that China wants to double trade with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to $100 billion a year by 2015.  Beyond investment, Wen has pledged $500 million in funds to be made available to Chinese companies seeking to make first-stage investment in the region.

The region straddles the European Union and includes Poland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria, among others.  Indeed, as the New York Times reports: “Trade between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe has grown by 32 percent annually over the past decade, to $41.1 billion in 2010″, citing the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

“The credit line is only one of a number of major China-related developments in Central and Eastern Europe in recent months”, reported Spiegel. “Shortly after Wen’s trip, Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Li Kequiang also traveled to the region, announcing a string of deals, including a $1 billion credit line to Hungary for the construction of a Chinese-built rail line to the Budapest airport. Chinese shipping giant Cosco has also said it is considering investing $1 billion to develop the port of Rijeka, Croatia.  And earlier [in 2012], Great Wall Motors, a Chinese automobile manufacturer, began production at a new plant in Bahovitsa, Bulgaria.”

Where Central European Service Providers can win new business among Chinese companies

“Central Europe means access to Europe,” according to Eberhard Sandschneider of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin, as reported in Speigel.  [However, and importantly]:  ”Chinese investors will [need] to adapt to the local market. [Including] adapting to local laws.”  And this is where the opportunity lies for Central European Investment Banks, Accounting Firms, Management Consulting Groups, Law Firms and others.

Chinese investment is a tremendous economic boost to Central Europe, however what is needed is the local knowledge and assistance of those with an expertise in local laws, business practices, taxation – and the commercial insights to guide Chinese corporate management teams toward shrewd acquisitions, successful local management strategies, legal compliance, EU government contracts (access to which by foreign companies is an issue within the EU) and a host of other solutions, strategies — and opportunities — that any new market entrant would need and seek when doing business in Central Europe.

With this in mind, Central European professional service providers should now be actively creating tailored business development plans focused on China and those investors and corporate management teams from China who will be seeking opportunity in your respective countries.  A well thought out plan would include:

  • Identifying your strengths and what you can best offer Chinese companies seeking to expand in Central Europe;
  • Making yourself a gateway to your respective markets;
  • Researching and identifying Chinese companies seeking to do business in Central Europe;
  • Reaching out to those companies and investors in an organized and efficient fashion;
  • Establishing a social media presence to attract those Chinese companies who might not have known about you otherwise;
  • Establishing effective, business development-focused referral and best-friend relationships with Chinese investment banks, law firms and other professional service providers within China;
  • Developing and nurturing ties with national, regional and local trade organizations within China;
  • Consider opening a cost-efficient business development office in China;
  • Ensuring you know how to convince your potential clients of your unique abilities to help them secure new business in your country or region;
  • Importantly, small and medium-sized professional service firms can and should compete for business among new Chinese entrants to the Central European market;

China’s plans for substantial economic engagement in Central Europe is a tremendous, long-term opportunity for professional service firms committed to establishing and maintaining a truly effective business development effort aimed at identifying and assisting new market entrants to the region from China.  However, any plan to do so must be well thought out, as well as implemented and managed properly – to succeed.

46dcc894fe940c873fb966b046eda439_400x400John Grimley assists legal, financial services and public affairs professionals create and implement custom international business development plans. To enquire about his services, contact him at +1.213.814.2855 or at jg@jgrimley.com or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

Lawyers: 10 steps to becoming a strategic business advisor to foreign clients

Much has been written recently about the importance for lawyers of becoming a strategic business advisor to clients – above and beyond their roles as legal advisors.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Earlier this month, Lindsay Griffiths (@LindsayGriffith) wrote in Zen & the Art of Legal Networking Blog that: “Clients are looking for a business partner (emphasis on the “business”).  During the LMA’s GC panel, we even heard one client comment that she sees her outside counsel as a business arm of her company. So act as though you are an extension of that client’s business – what would you need to know about them? How would you go about finding out how they operate, what risks and challenges they face, etc? Don’t be their lawyer; be their partner. “

Also earlier this month, Barret Avigdor wrote in Major, Lindsay & Africa’s (@MLAGlobal) in Brief: A Legal Career Blog that:  “The best in-house lawyers take value to another level by becoming trusted business advisors.”

Both these articles are superb and ought to be read in full by any lawyers seeking to become a comprehensive strategic advisor to clients beyond the confines of the strict practice of law.  With these articles in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 10 steps business-focused lawyers in private practice can take to become comprehensive business advisors to foreign clients.  Here they are:

  1. Identify basic information about the company - Before making any effort to seek to become a business advisor to a client, it is imperative to start with the basics.  If one is seeking to be of assistance to clients from overseas who may be interested in your market – first identify the size of the company, revenue and profit figures, ownership structure, sector vertical(s), among other fundamental/basic information.
  2. Identify current exposure to international markets – It’s important to understand whether any company you are seeking to represent already has exposure to foreign markets (including yours).  And if so, have they been successful?  If so, how?  Also, determine what  challenges or problems they needed to solve in those markets.  And how did they solve them?  Importantly, too, identify opportunities the company sought to capitalize upon in those foreign markets and the motivation for pursuing those opportunities.
  3. Identify opportunities in your market – What opportunities in your market might be uniquely interesting to the potential client you’ve identified?  These opportunities may or may not require your services to consummate – however your domestic referral sources might be able to help. This creates an event where when you refer that potential client, you can reasonably expect your referral sources will be keeping you in mind for their next referral requiring your services.  So when looking at all potential opportunities for a prospective client – consider those opportunities which might appeal directly to the commercial interests of your potential clients.  For example, the availability of government contracts, acquisition opportunities, distribution channels or other unique opportunities specific to their sector or other corporate characteristics and driving motivations.
  4. Does your jurisdiction provide unique tax or regulatory benefits to foreign companies?  Foreign companies are often very attracted by favorable tax and regulatory treatment.  It’s important to learn about these and the companies which they may apply to – before seeking to represent foreign clients in your market.  Awareness of these opportunities can be a profound advantage when meeting with potential client about retaining your firm to help them enter your market.
  5. What dangers exist in your market unique to your prospective foreign client?  Dangers are often at the forefront of the minds of corporate executives seeking to determine whether to enter a foreign market.  Determine what these dangers are in your market and seek to provide solutions for your prospective client before you meet with them.  For example, if your jurisdiction presents significant tort-liability risk – seek to provide clients with a pre-market entry liability audit.  Also determine whether your market is hyper-competitive in your potential client’s niche and where you might help provide unique competitive advantage to your client.  Is their uniquely aggressive governmental oversight over your client’s industry?  If so, seek to provide a menu of potential solutions to clients before you meet with them.  These options might include the services of business allies in investment banking, public affairs advisory services, management consulting, tax and accounting services, and more.
  6. Political alliances – Determine what if any political alliances might be advantageous to your prospective client.  For example, in the US, locating an aerospace corporate headquarters in the district of a member of a Congressional committee related to the aerospace sector can help a company navigate the domestic market more effectively with the counsel of a well-informed congressional advocate.
  7. Put together a panel of local experts – Consider presenting a list of potential advisors to your client.  Business, political and other strategic advisors you work with and whom you will call on to provide strategic advisory assistance to the client should you be retained.
  8. Provide active business intelligence – Before meeting with any prospective client – identify commercial opportunities which are likely to be of interest to your client.  Corporate clients, no matter how well-informed, can never be aware of all opportunities in all overseas markets.  Become a source, therefore, of unique opportunities in your market.
  9. Study the management team – Make sure you study the biographies of the management team of your prospective client.  Determine which direction they’ve take the company before – to better inform you of what trajectory they may be interested in taking the company in your market.
  10. Determine carefully which channels of communication you may wish to utilize to engage each potential client.  Should you work through local or regional connections who may know them?  Should you contact them directly via phone, letter or email?  Or should you instead blog about issues of importance to them and their competitors?  Each situation requires a unique strategy.

Important to remember is, international trade is increasing every year and by seeking to represent foreign clients, you will diversify your law firms revenue stream beyond strictly domestic clients.  But before embarking upon any effort to become a strategic business advisor to foreign clients, be sure to be fully prepared.

46dcc894fe940c873fb966b046eda439_400x400John Grimley assists legal, financial services and public affairs professionals create and implement custom international business development plans. To enquire about his services, contact him at +1.213.814.2855 or at jg@jgrimley.com or on Skype at: JohnGrimley

How a law blog can act as an international calling card

In an increasingly connected world – I’ve noticed that lawyers who maintain law blogs – are becoming more and more identified as nearly synonymous with their respective international jurisdictions. By blogging about legal issues in their markets – they have become well-known far beyond their borders – and are often regarded as a “go-to” person for their market.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Not only does a blog help you become known in your own market – it has also become an international calling card when traveling abroad. Many lawyers with international practices travel extensively to industry conferences, on client matters – and for strictly business development purposes. I would estimate that the vast majority of lawyers do not blog. Therefore – they must often rely on generating interest in meetings with new prospective clients and referral sources – in new cities overseas – at the last-minute. Those who blog on the other hand – are finding that they have become known by peers thousands of miles away – because they’ve become synonymous with the jurisdictions they’re blogging about.

Some international lawyers who blog

Some law blogs in specific jurisdictions that come to mind are Mexican Law Blog authored by Alberto Esenaro.  Rob Bratby blogs from Singapore in Watching the Connectives. China Law Blog’s author Dan Harris is frequently mentioned as essential reading by lawyers I’ve met throughout Asia. Sean Hayes authors The Korean Law Blog from Seoul. Zohar Fisher is a lawyer/marketer in Israel.  Gavin Ward a lawyer/digital entrepreneur in Scotland. Oman Law Blog is authored by the attorneys at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP.  And Indonesian Insights is authored by lawyers at Soewito Suhardiman Eddymurthy Kardono (SSEK).

Blogs make international business development easier

As the ABA has outlined – law blogs do generate new business for lawyers. But what I’ve also noticed in practice is – they generate relationships long before a lawyer arrives at a foreign airport.  And those relationships are “rekindled” in person – after having been forged online.

It used to be that social media was not an option for international lawyers. Before Twitter and LinkedIn and the wider use of blogs – it was much harder to find referral sources or potential clients in overseas markets. It took hard work, lots of research and very creative emails and phone calls – to open doors that a law blog can now open with relative ease. If you’re an international law practitioner seeking to build relationships overseas – I cannot more strongly encourage you to consider blogging.

Bridge the gap

The gulf between those lawyers who blog and those who don’t – in my estimation – is vast. Imagine flying into a new foreign city with no contacts? Imagine instead – you’ve never been there – but you’ve developed long-term relationships on-line and can look forward to meeting your “old friends” in person for the first time? Too, any lawyer, anywhere – with access to the internet and the ability to write – can establish and maintain a blog and compete for market share with even the largest global law firm (yes, they can). Which blogging lawyer is in your mind synonymous with a specific international jurisdiction?

46dcc894fe940c873fb966b046eda439_400x400John Grimley assists legal, financial services and public affairs professionals create and implement custom international business development plans. To enquire about his services, contact him at +1.213.814.2855 or at jg@jgrimley.com or on Skype at: JohnGrimley