Member Article

20-20 Vision: Globalaw Celebrates 20th Anniversary by Forecasting Key Trends for the Next 20 years

GIobalaw Marks Milestone by Anticipating Future Trends in the Legal Industry

Globalaw, an international network of 112 independent law firms operating in over 88 countries worldwide is celebrating its 20th anniversary and today announces the key industry trends it anticipates will dominate the legal industry over the next twenty years. The predictions have been released to coincide with the organisation’s twentieth anniversary year, and were sourced from law firm partners from around the world. Partners were asked to summarise the legal trends they foresee impacting on the legal industry in their region over the next 20 years.

A number of diverse trends are identified by the qualitative survey – from the rise in number of increasingly complex global transactions, to the determination of in-house counsel to better manage the cost and performance of external counsel. Three macro trends are noted by firms in a number of different jurisdictions.

First, from an economic perspective, many Globalaw member lawyers noted that ongoing regulatory change will impact Ultra High Net Worth Individuals’ (UHNWI) investments and corporate activity channelled through traditional tax havens structures. European banking and financial services sectors are undergoing extensive change having an ongoing impact on traditional funding models; it is anticipated that UHNWIs will be given additional incentives to facilitate business creation opportunities; there will be an increase in private equity business and Chinese global investment will continue to be a dominant factor. The funds market will remain strong and will continue to attract UHNWIs, delivering a steady flow of business to firms in Western Europe. Clearly these trends present real business opportunities for law firms.[1]

Secondly, several firms predicted that in its own right Latin America will become a major global legal market, with an increasing number of Latin American companies growing to become multinationals, creating significant opportunities for international legal networks. The consolidation of the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Peru) in particular is a real opportunity for growth throughout the region. Over the next 20 years a Portuguese-speaking legal market will emerge with a common legal basis, comprising around 300 million people.[2]

Finally, a number of respondents projected that the global legal market will be marked by increased competition. Jurisdictions that can offer efficient and cost-effective services along with predictable rulings will succeed. There is likely to be an increase in firms hiring non-lawyer professionals to be part of a team that can deliver clients with business and legal solutions, using this as a point of differentiation. Meanwhile, fields of law traditionally covered by small firms or individual lawyers in many jurisdictions, such as family law, inheritance and criminal law will become the province of medium and larger firms, and non-corporate areas of practice will become increasingly relevant to service high net worth individuals and managers.[3]

Bill Taylor, President of Globalaw, and partner at San Francisco-based firm Hanson Bridgett commented: “As Globalaw marks its twentieth year, it is clear that the increasing internationalisation of business makes legal networks more relevant now than ever before. It is striking how our members firms – whether in Paris, Panama or Perth – foresee the next twenty years. We believe that we are well-placed to capitalise on the predicted trends, as we place a premium on building and maintaining close personal relationships between the lawyers in our network, mirroring the marked and renewed focus on the professional relationship service culture which will help our members relate to clients and to prosper from the trends that they have identified.“

Michael Hatchwell, Immediate Past President and a lawyer at one of the five founder member firms still part of the network, comments: “It has been fascinating to be part of the key transformational trends that have so impacted the legal profession over the past 20 years and moreover to have witnessed how those trends have affected the legal profession globally.“

Globalaw received 20-word predictions from member firms in 32 different jurisdictions in March and April 2014.

[1] Contributors: Michel Molitor, Molitor; Jean Paul Vulliety and Christiane de Senarclens, LALIVE

[2] Contributors: Marco Bolognini, Maio Legal; Manuel Ugarte, Delmar Ugarte Abogados; Ricardo Costa Macedo, Caiado Guerreiro; Natalie Yoshida, Almeida Advogados; Roberto Guerrero, Guerrero Olivos

[3] Contributors: Martin Wolff, Huth Dietrich Hahn; Don Lee, Clark Hill; Dariusz Szczesniak, DeBenedetti Majewski Szczesniak

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Globalaw .

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