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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How to go international as a solo/small firm?

It seems like there's a new story each week about many of the mega-law firms and their different attempts to break into various international markets, notably China. Here's today's bit about McDermott Will & Emery.

I'm actually set to begin a Chinese language class this week and it just got me to thinking...should little old me with my family/real estate practice be thinking internationally at all? What should drive my decision-making here...size of firm? Practice areas?

To be frank the only extent to which I've considered this market is through a number of the Realtor associations that have strong foreign connections...there's a Hispanic group and probably some other connections to potential foreign buyers. That's the limit to which I've looked at this...possibly some advertising on their Website or something like that. My wife and I are taking this Chinese language class because we've been paired up with a young Chinese couple from Northwestern for some outreach through our church. But it starts ya thinking...you start to have these "social" relationships that potentially become business relationships, and then...are you ready?

I had lunch recently with a small firm colleague (here's his firm...http://www.wagneruslaw.com/) who strangly (or not) had two offices, one in Des Plaines, IL and one in Austria. Long story short one of the firm members had some diplomatic background and had married an Austrian woman. I think their practice has an international business and immigration emphasis. But you need to be ready with the interconnectedness of our world...are you ready?


At 2:07 PM, Blogger ChinaLawBlog said...

You most certainly should be thinking international. My firm has seven lawyers and about 95% of our practice is international. We have an office in Shanghai and are looking to open one in another country. There is a huge need out there for lawyers to handle the day to day international work that is always coming up and that work most certainly involves family law. We have worked with family lawyers on a number of international divorces, including one that we got thrown out of the US into Poland, where the laws would be much more favorable for our client. We oftentimes help US divorce lawyers here secure documentation from overseas that they need for the courts here.

We often get international estate planning calls and we have no expertise in that area and almost nobody does.

It goes on and on. Check out our website here: www.harrismoure.com and our blog here: www.chinalawblog.com and you will see what I mean. The possibilities for small and solos are just huge.


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