Why expanding globally could make sense for law firms post-pandemic
If the pandemic has proven one fact, it’s that remote work works. Though many employees transitioned to work-from-home with little notice or precedent, productivity levels in many industries remain consistent. This was a surprise to many in North America, where remote work trends lag compared to other parts of the world. What does this mean for organizations such as law firms, when considering their future?
Here’s why now could be the optimal time for your firm to consider global expansion:
Of course, growth may not be the top concern for firms who, like nearly all industries, may be experiencing struggles due to the pandemic and subsequent shutdowns. Yet the legal world need only look back to the Financial Crisis of 2008 to see the value and need of global operations. After the previous downturn some law firms expanded as a necessity: as businesses slowed domestically, other regions continued to boom. Such could be the case as closures remain in many parts of Canada and the US while other areas are fully reopened.
Technology & Cost
Even a decade ago, expanding firm operations to another country or even city meant setting up a physical location with great initial financial investment. Today? Not so much. The latest tech means that managing any international operation is significantly simpler – and cheaper – than ever before. Even hiring additional employees can be done without leaving the house.
Much has been written about the push for more diversity in the legal field. The first difficulty of hiring in any field, let alone law, is that human resources is limited to the talent available in the immediate location and can often over rely on recommendations from current lawyers. This is severely limiting. Now with even some litigation going online, it is less necessary to hire talent in the immediate area. The idea of expanding doesn’t necessarily mean moving business away from a core location, it can also mean sourcing new resources to fulfill an in-demand area.
Changing global industries
For many years, China was the undisputed king of manufacturing, cybersecurity was a niche and baby boomer retirement was merely on the horizon. The world is changing, and certain areas of law are set to expand exponentially. At the same time, global trade and relations will likely continue to reach new heights after the effects of the pandemic fade.
Clearly the pandemic was a huge shakeup for firms of all sizes and though any type of growth or expansion may be the last thing on the mind of legal leaders, now could indeed be the best time to consider the future of the firm. Not only is the cost and capability attractive but as business slows domestically, seeking clients abroad may help boost profits. Afterall, a changing global landscape means that multiple industries could expect big shifts and require legal assistance. Talent too can be sourced from other locations to bring in niche expertise and experience not easily found locally. Regardless, firms should always consider their long-term vision and goals when making any decisions about their direction.
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