Introduction & Thank You
TAGLaw® is honoured to once again be named an “Elite” international legal network/alliance for the eighth year and to contribute our thoughts to this annual introduction for the second time.
All of us at TAGLaw and TAG Alliances, together with our more than 290 members in over 110 countries, send warm congratulations to our fellow peers who have also been recognized as “Elite” and “Leading” legal networks/alliances by Chambers.
Year 2020: Recalibrating
The year 2020 presented the legal industry, its clients, and the world at large with significant and unprecedented challenges. The emergence of COVID-19 monumentally forced businesses to work remotely, halted global mobility, created major roadblocks in supply chains, and generated a flurry of new governmental laws and regulations at an international level. These forces, combined with a global geopolitical environment favouring protectionist attitudes and vast divides in cultural and popular beliefs, have resulted in disruptive impacts on businesses and the world economy.
At the start of the pandemic, firms from around the world found themselves having to shift overnight to virtual work environments. Traditionally, the legal profession is not known to be a leader of change, and the profession is often very slow and cautious in its approach to the use of modern technology. However, it has been extraordinary to see how quickly and effectively law firms were able to adapt to these circumstances. For many years, TAGLaw and TAG Alliances have emphasized “hot topics” such as technological developments, cybersecurity and risk management, and the increasing demands for flexible working environments. As a result, many of our member firms had already developed strategic plans which allowed them to quickly respond to this shift.
At TAGLaw, the strength of our alliance has always been in our ability to leverage the collective talents and skills of our global members in order to provide exceptional service and value to our members’ clients. Our members and their clients are all dealing with unique challenges brought on by this pandemic, and now more than ever, we recognize that businesses will need to seek the support of their trusted professional advisors and global relationships to help them navigate these complicated times. In an era of global immobility, it is extremely important for law firms to be part of a trusted, credible, supportive, and collaborative global community in order to gain access to key connections, local experts, and recognized specialists in foreign jurisdictions. At TAG Alliances, we strive to maintain a united community of like-minded professionals who are keen to support each other in providing seamless and effective regional and cross-border solutions for their clients.
Year 2021 and Beyond
Although it is difficult to predict the future, we can be certain that more changes will continue to occur through 2021 and beyond, requiring flexibility and innovation from firms in order to remain viable and competitive. Unlike past economic crises, the impact of COVID-19 on businesses has not been uniform. Some industries are thriving, such as grocery stores, cybersecurity companies, online gaming, and delivery services, while others, including retail, hospitality, aviation, and tourism, are struggling. Interestingly, many lawyers have experienced an increase in work engagements due to the recalibration of businesses. Although we do anticipate more insolvency and restructuring work, we also foresee a significant rise in engagements associated with workplace issues, medical technological innovations, mergers & acquisitions involving venture capital companies, and renewable energy initiatives.
As a result of social distancing and remote working arrangements, there are significant threats associated with ineffective communication between both clients and internal teams. We expect this to continue to be a key challenge for the legal industry in the near future. TAGLaw and TAG Alliances have been proactive in creating platforms to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, resources, and communications amongst our members through our online Knowledge Centers, aggregating and distributing content from our members, and hosting regular virtual meetings to help firms stay up-to-date on legal and regulatory developments around the globe. Due to the proliferation of work from home arrangements, law firms will continue to struggle with how to mentor and train their junior team members and how to maintain a strong and unified firm culture. A firm’s ability to succeed in this environment will hinge on its ability to effectively maintain regular communications with peers, colleagues, and clients.
The Future of Networks and International Law Firms
Legal alliances, networks, and international law firms will continue to play a significant role in supporting a global recovery. Even with the development of vaccines and lifting of restrictions, we do not anticipate that global mobility will return to pre-COVID-19 levels in the immediate future. Businesses and clients will rely more heavily on virtual platforms, in combination with assistance from trusted local advisors. We also expect to see the expansion of multidisciplinary networks as clients demand more from their professional advisors. Clients are no longer only interested in single transactional support; they expect their professional advisors to intimately understand the daily and strategic challenges of their businesses and proactively provide guidance and solutions to rapidly changing regulations and rules. As a division of TAG Alliances, TAGLaw has long been in a unique position to effectively compete in this new multidisciplinary landscape as part of an alliance of not only legal professionals, but also accounting professionals and strategic partners.
Although we anticipate the above changes, the last year has taught us that it is not enough to attempt to predict the nature or direction of future changes. In order to survive and thrive, firms must cultivate the culture, environment, and resources necessary to adapt quickly and effectively to whatever changes might occur. This can be accomplished by being nimble and flexible, through cultivating global relationships, supporting diversity, facilitating perspective-sharing, and embracing technology and disruptors. Law firms who leverage elite international networks and alliances, such as TAGLaw, and the clients that they serve, will be best positioned to succeed in this rapidly changing world.