Law Firms in America Looking to Globalize
Intense domestic competition is pushing law firms to globalize, merge, and hire foreign
When the competition gets tough, businesses need to think out of the box. Survival is vital
even for law firms. Though America is known as an attorney-friendly country, there are just
too many firms and attorneys here. While outsourcing non-core responsibilities such as legal
transcription can help improve efficiency of firms, they still need clients to get earnings and
Globalization Is the Answer
Law firms in America are getting globalized. The increasing competition in the domestic
legal field and astronomic rise in the number of lawyers is squeezing the available
competitive space, causing firms to branch out to newer avenues. One of the ways firms are
looking to jump into the globalization bandwagon is through mergers. Mergers increase the
resource pool at disposal, and provide greater opportunities for venturing into untapped
areas. But mergers also increase the pressure on attorneys to spread out their areas of
expertise. Unlike the legal scene in the UK, attorneys in the US aren’t divided into various
fields of labor. They are expected to provide the complete range of services to be truly
And there is more that attorneys could be expected to possess. They need to have that vital
intuition about the impact of local laws and cultural factors on their client in overseas
operations. Legal firms must be able to provide all kinds and aspects of legal services which
a client would need, whatever the market may be. Such firms are likely to succeed the
Bringing in Foreign Lawyers
The mergers with foreign firms seem to be extremely popular, while firms have sought to
hiring foreign lawyers, setting up new offices, and building up strategic alliances. Legal firms
on the hunt for international lawyers need to keep a few things in mind. Once they’ve
tracked down the individual who really has proven himself or herself to be capable and
promising enough for the firm to invest its resources to bring him here, they would then
need to go through the complex immigration process.
Non-immigrant visas seem to be the most appropriate option for foreign lawyers joining
• The primary work visa for professionals is the H-1B visa. An H-1B visa can be
claimed till six months before the beginning of every new fiscal year on the 1st
October. There are 65,000 H-1B visas allotted each year. There are also 20,000
extra visas available for professionals who get higher degrees in America.
• There is another option for firms that transfer lawyers from their overseas offices –
the easier L-1 visa. Applicants of the L-1 visa must have worked for the transferring
employee for at least a year and must come from a foreign office which is related to
the American office. The lawyer must also be joining in a role that is managerial,
executive or requiring specialized knowledge.
• TN visas are for foreign lawyers hired on the basis of a treaty between the attorney’s
home country and the US. There are many kinds of TN visas, the most common
being the E-1 and E-2 which are eligible for nationals of over 50 countries.
Tackling the immigration hurdles could pave the way for experienced and skilled attorneys
to benefit law firms in the US and truly exploit globalization for their advantage.