Mind the (multinational) gap

Mind the (multinational) gap

By Laura Vosper

I’ve recently returned from working in our LexisNexis Paris office, researching the challenges French lawyers face in a global operating environment. Like their British counterparts, I found time and cost pressures are driving in-house teams to demand a better multinational service. Networks and mergers are one way firms are answering this need, but all agreed more could be done to deliver optimal multinational service. So what gaps did I notice? And what could law firms do better?

Gap #1:  Lawyers work and train in jurisdictions, business is done without borders

In a world where a French company buys from a Chinese supplier through an Australian middle-man on a contract in US law, today’s in-house counsel not only need knowledge of laws and regulations overseas (challenging for those operating in common law but trained in civil law) but also have to deal with language, cultural and political barriers to getting business done. Most of the multinational corporate teams I met are building this know-how through secondments and overseas exchanges. With restrictions on where lawyers in firms can practise,

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