New Report Explores Impact of Globalization on Legal Field



    TORONTO, Sept. 26 /CNW/ - Globalization is not only changing how and
where corporations operate, it also is affecting the composition of the legal
workforce, expanding the practice of law across borders, and transforming the
management and operation of law offices. These and other trends are the
subjects of a just-released white paper from Robert Half Legal, a staffing
service specializing in lawyers, law clerks, paralegals and other highly
skilled legal professionals. The paper is titled Managing a Global Workforce
and is part of the company's annual Future Law Office project. It also
highlights how law firms and corporate legal departments are addressing
recruiting, training and retention challenges, and their response to increased
demand for legal service providers worldwide.
    For its Future Law Office project, Robert Half Legal commissions surveys
of lawyers, interviews leading experts and conducts research to assess how law
offices might operate in the future. The results are available at
www.futurelawoffice.com.
    "Because of the current scale and remarkable pace of globalization, law
offices are operating in a world that has been transformed into a single vast
marketplace of ideas, capital, talent, opportunities and challenges," said
Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "This requires both
nimbleness and a breadth of professional and cultural experience."

    Global Talent Shortage

    Within the next five years, many of the baby boomer generation will be
eligible to retire and the pool of skilled legal candidates will continue to
contract. The resulting global talent shortage is an issue that all law
offices are contending with, Volkert noted. "To staff adequately, law offices
must expand beyond their traditional recruitment efforts to attract and retain
candidates," he said. "This may include online recruiting initiatives,
building closer relationships with law schools and alumni networks, and
greater investment in professional development."

    Law Offices 'Going Global'

    Volkert said law firms with clients doing business across borders must
cultivate an international perspective regarding every aspect of their
practice -- from recruiting staff and handling multijurisdictional issues to
strategically expanding their operations. "Law offices have responded to the
globalization of their clients' businesses in numerous ways," he said. "Some
law firms are opening locations abroad or teaming with foreign firms on
specific cases or matters as necessary. This type of cross-border
collaboration can give even sole practitioners a global reach."
    Transnational legal activity has created operational challenges for law
offices. Chief among these is the difficulty of managing geographically
dispersed, multilingual teams whose members work in different time zones and
jurisdictions. Sixty-two per cent of lawyers surveyed by Robert Half Legal
said e-mail is the most effective method of maintaining communication with
colleagues in remote locations, followed by telephone or conference calls (16
per cent), and in-person meetings (7 per cent). To connect these teams and
facilitate knowledge management, law offices are utilizing technology -- such
as systems of converged voice, video and data applications -- to enhance
communication and share information.

    New Strategies for Managing Outside Counsel Internationally

    Overseeing the activities of outside law firms on a global scale is now
one of the most complex aspects of corporate counsel's duties. When asked if
work with outside counsel has increased or decreased, 45 per cent of in-house
lawyers surveyed by Robert Half Legal said they have increased work with law
firms in the last 12 months.
    "The most successful law firms are taking a comprehensive approach to
working with outside counsel," said Volkert. "Many legal departments, for
example, are leveraging their company's worldwide volume of legal work to
negotiate fees, which allows them to choose legal providers that can best
service their needs on an international level, while keeping legal spending
under control."

    To order a complimentary copy of the complete white paper, or for more
information on the Future Law Office project, please visit
www.futurelawoffice.com.

    About Robert Half Legal

    Robert Half Legal provides law firms and corporate legal departments with
project and full-time professionals, including lawyers, law clerks, paralegals
and legal support personnel. Robert Half Legal offers online job search
services at www.roberthalflegal.com.





For further information:

For further information: Robert Half Legal, Jason Chapman, (416)
365-3153, ext. 62070, jason.chapman@rhi.com


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