New Report Explores Impact Of Globalization On Legal Field

Thursday, November 1, 2007 - 00:00

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.

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 commissioned surveys of attorneys, interviewed leading experts and conducted research to assess how law offices might operate in the future. The results are available at

Within the next five years, many of the 76 million members 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, noted Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "To staff adequately, law offices must expand beyond their traditional recruitment efforts to attract and retain candidates," he said.

Mr. 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.

For law firms, globalization also has led to an increase in the number of international transactions and in the amount of legal work done for foreign clients with interests in the United States. "To best serve their clients' needs, and because matters rarely fall into one jurisdiction, these firms must have a deep knowledge of regulations and laws in both the United States and the clients' home countries," Mr. Volkert said.

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.

To order a complimentary copy of the complete Robert Half Legal white paper, or for more information on the Future Law Office project, visit