Best Friend Agreement between Law Firms

A registered business enjoys financial and legal protection that a sole proprietorship or partnership does not have. This means that in a partnership, you and your friend will be responsible for the company`s debts on a personal level. There are different ways in which companies operate internationally. At one end is the international network model, in which strong law firms join forces in a jurisdiction to form a network. At the other end is the global law firm, with a law firm looking for global coverage by having offices in key jurisdictions. However, there are a variety of options between these. The network of best friends is somewhere in the middle; a tight-knit network that wants to work as a global law firm. Submit documents through your local business licensing office when entering into a partnership. Submitting the documents officially sets up the partnership and gives it a more factual feel, rather than giving the impression that two friends are hanging out together. Ashurst has entered into a best friend agreement with Mumbai-based law firm Indian Law Partners (ILP). As part of the non-exclusive connection, the two companies will combine the work at a preferential price. ILP, which was founded earlier this year by DSK`s former legal partners Gopika Pant and Piyoosh Gupta, is also home to a lawyer and 10 employees.

About eight years ago, a number of small, high-quality law firms in emerging regions such as Central and South America began knocking on doors, in places like London, New York, Miami and Madrid, to consider law firms that they hope will pass on the work of multinational clients. These were not the traditional roadshows that law firms had been trying for many years. Instead, good execution involves well-planned, systematic strategic expeditions. In recent years, companies from Asia, Africa and the Middle East have been added. Since the late 1990s, law firms in mature legal markets in Europe and North America have been looking for new „best friends“ away from home. Their clients are increasingly competing in global markets and expect broader capabilities from their professional service providers. To retain their best clients, law firms must be able to project their client service capabilities beyond the horizon into new and distant markets. An informal network of „best friend“ relationships does not generate the instant gratification (or potential long-term risks) of a merger or the automatic global „presence“ of network membership.

Nevertheless, a significant number of small and medium-sized law firms are discovering that a number of close working relationships with other law firms can be an important part of their business strategy. „Best friends“ can provide additional expertise, work capacity and knowledge of business, policy and regulatory environments remotely. As part of the non-exclusive connection, the two companies will combine the work at a preferential price. Dentons is another example of this mixed approach. Dentons has grown significantly during this decade, partnering with companies around the world to achieve a broad global reach. In addition, the NextLaw Global Referral Network was launched. Unlike a Best Friends network, it is a vast platform for member companies to cross-reference using a modern software platform. The Global Referral Network does not have territorial monopolies or collects dues, but instead focuses on high-quality local businesses rooted in the culture and customs of their region. When you risk your personal belongings as part of a partnership with a friend, great trust is required on both sides. It can be important to set aside your personal feelings about friendship so it doesn`t affect how the company`s finances are managed. One option is to hire a neutral third party who can monitor the financial arrangements so that no problems with the company creep in and affect your friendship.

Norton Rose Fulbright is organized as an association. The international federation includes Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright Australia, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa. The association model helped the company grow and merge with existing companies in each of these countries and even more so to grow rapidly at the beginning of this decade. The opposite model is the global law firm. Clifford Chance is an example of such a company with the ability to „support customers in all major markets around the world.“ The company has 17 European offices in 13 countries, impressive coverage of the Asia-Pacific region with eight offices in five countries, as well as offices in North America, South America and the Middle East. Global law firms typically grow through a mix of organic growth and mergers, sending senior lawyers to open new offices and hiring local lawyers or merging with an existing law firm in a particular jurisdiction. Mergers and acquisitions consulting is one of the business law firms offered to their clients. Companies in all sectors are trying to merge or acquire other organizations for a variety of reasons, often to increase their market share or increase their competitiveness with their consumers. Law firms have responded to globalization in different ways: some have expanded internationally, either through organic growth or mergers. Others have increased their global reach by building strong relationships with companies in other jurisdictions.

Make sure your friendship doesn`t stop you from making good decisions for your business. For example, if one of you is good at coming up with ideas but tends to put things off, specify how you manage it when you run the business on a day-to-day basis and list how tasks and responsibilities are assigned. Working with „best friends“ in remote jurisdictions also works well for large companies, especially as a low-cost investment that, if properly planned and managed, can also reduce the risks that arise when law firms follow their clients into new jurisdictions. Some networks are limited to one company per country or jurisdiction, while others allow multiple companies. Another consideration is whether a member firm should prioritize collaboration with another member firm or whether the network serves only as a non-binding option. TerraLex describes itself as a „voluntary association of independent law firms“ in which „each member of TerraLex reserves the right to work with any law firm or client.“ International legal networks emerged in the 1980s, but the role they play in the global legal market has evolved. Interlaw is an example of such a network. Founded in 1982, it describes itself as „a long-established global elite network of outstanding independent law firms.“ Interlaw has more than 7,000 lawyers in more than 140 cities around the world. This allows a client working in one jurisdiction to hire their local law firm, and that firm will then work with another law firm. A simple business contract between friends protects the relationship by separating business and friendship.3 min read Some businesses grow by combining a variety of different models into one.

Linklaters, for example, has taken a hybrid approach to international growth. In 1998, she founded Linklaters & Alliance, a partnership with a number of leading European companies. Over the next five years, they merged with four of these companies, as well as a handful of others, to consolidate their presence in Brussels, Luxembourg, Sweden and Germany. They have continued to use this „alliance“ model in recent times, including a partnership with Australian company Allens to open joint ventures in Asia. Ashurst has entered into a best friend agreement with Mumbai-based law firm Indian Law Partners (ILP). „This is a growing challenge for Indian and international clients seeking cross-border advice that they still need to seek outside the country to access the required experience, resources and expertise. This agreement will enable our two companies to provide the best possible service within the current regulatory limits,“ said Stuart Popham, Senior Partner at Clifford Chance. Determine the roles you and your friend will play after the business is launched. Also note how you`re going to deal with it if later one or both of you decide you want to get out of the company, and how you`re going to deal with it if you have a big disagreement about how to do something. An association could have had centralized governance and an integrated culture between offices, just as it could have been more decentralized. Decentralization allows for more flexibility as each company adapts to its respective market and customers, but it could also lead to greater fragmentation among individual members. On the spectrum between the loose international recommendation network and the fully integrated global law firm are two other models: association and best networks of friends.

A simple business contract between friends protects the relationship by separating the company and friendship. The oral or written contract lists the obligations of each party in relation to the company and towards each other. A breach of contract violates the law and can lead to prosecution. While it is possible to draft a basic contract yourself, it is advisable to consult a lawyer to get a professional overview of the process. While they can be very successful in the long run, not all „best friend“ strategies bring dramatic benefits overnight. We advise our clients to keep five things in mind: agreements and contracts are not the same thing. .