Firm reveals global integration strategy

Australasian Lawyer spoke to one firm about how they keep a global firm integrated.

It’s now been three years since Middletons formally integrated with US-based global legal-giant K&L Gates.

“The exciting thing for us that we’re truly and genuinely now part of the global marketplace and it enables our clients to benefit greatly from the resources of the firm,” said Nick Nichola.

But how do you make sure a 46-office firm spanning Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America, Australia and the US, properly ‘gels’?

That’s what a global integration and strategic growth partner is for.

Dallas-based Craig Budner sees his role as leadership cultivation, visiting offices world-wide presenting on best practices of business development. 

“I help them strategize about how they can expand their client relationships,” Budner told Australasian Lawyer, while visiting Australia thismonth.

“Helping drive some integration strategies so maybe they’ve got some talents that they would like to make sure clients and attorneys in other markets know about, and I help with that.”

As clients become more global and seek a more global approach, Budner said K&L Gates is in a good position to easily draw on talent from different jurisdictions by simply keeping the firm up to date.

“What’s really important for us is to make sure our partners and in fact all of our lawyers are well armed with what we do well,” he said.

“One of the challenges that we really try to tackle head on is making sure our lawyers know what we do well in other offices and in other practise areas and one of the investments we make in doing.”

A big part of global integration is the K&L Gates model, Budner said.  With a single profit pool, partners aren’t incentivised to hang on to clients, and instead freely pass work over to an expert in another jurisdiction.

“So what a fully integrated firm means is that a lawyer in London with a client relationship can meet with the client, ask them questions about their global objectives and actually instead of worrying about selling them something that they do, really give them an integrated solution that meets what they need as a client.”

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