Sarasota Immigrants Mean Business
Some immigrants work for an overseas business and want to form a subsidiary in Sarasota. Others decide to start a new business in Sarasota and later expand operations back to their country of origin. Traditionally, when Sarasota immigrants have needed legal assistance on matters with an overseas component, the have had very limited options. Typically, they would engage a large multi-national law firm. Unfortunately, these law firms usually charge substantial fees and are rarely oriented to meet the needs of a smaller business.
The good news is that our community has access to a law firm which is connected to the new model of global legal services.
Williams Parker regularly helps Sarasota’s most innovative companies achieve their global objectives. Whether expanding a back-office support center in Mumbai, establishing a joint venture manufacturing operation in Mexico, or securing a trademark in France, their clients rely on them to help them address their business challenges wherever their business interests take them.
Traditional Model for Global Law Firms
As the world’s large companies became global during the second half of the 20th century, law firms that hoped to continue to serve those companies expanded their operations by establishing and staffing offices around the globe. Today, these “global firms” are comprised of as many as 3,800 lawyers spread across 70 offices. Historically, the primary advantage of a global law firm was to offer global clients a single “shop” from which to purchase legal services wherever the clients’ transactions or projects might arise. Of course, the costs to maintain and staff law offices across the globe are very high. These costs translate into high fees—which can be tolerated by very large companies, but which are nearly always too expensive for smaller companies. Thus, for many years, only the world’s largest companies could afford access to legal counsel for international business. However, over the last few years, an alternative model has emerged which offers many of the advantages of a global firm, but which addresses two key disadvantages.
International Networks—The New Model to Provide Global Legal Service
As the speed and cost of communications have declined, international networks of individual law firms have emerged as the new model to provide global legal services. Several years ago, Williams Parker joined one of the leading international networks of business-focused law firms—the International Alliance of Law Firms (the “Alliance”). The Alliance is comprised of 63 law firms in 40 countries around the world, including member firms in the world’s money centers (i.e., London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York) and important commercial locations (e.g., Tel Aviv, Frankfurt, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Shanghai). In addition, members of the Alliance know lawyers and law firms in virtually every location in which their clients want to conduct business. The Alliance’s network of lawyers offers the geographic reach of the largest global law firms but without the administrative costs needed to support a global law firm structure.
Using this global network model, Williams Parker helps clients secure legal advice at fees well below the fees charged by global firms. In addition, when compared to global firms, Alliance members deliver, on average, more practical advice for clients than global firms provide. Occasionally, a client might want someone to provide a preliminary point of view on a legal matter. At other times, a client may need extensive research or a more formal legal opinion. In either situation, Alliance members are well suited to provide practical solutions.
Examples of Clients’ Global Projects
Case Study #1—Mumbai. One of Williams Parker’s clients has two related operations—one based in Sarasota and one in Mumbai, India. As business in Mumbai began to accelerate, the client needed India-specific legal assistance with regulatory, finance, tax, and corporate issues. At the same time, the client needed assistance to structure an investment by a U.S. investor in the Mumbai operations. Williams Parker helped the client engage an Indian law firm (which is a member of the Alliance) with an office in Mumbai, and they continue to coordinate closely with Indian counsel to navigate the full range of U.S., Indian, and international issues the client faces.
Case Study #2—Mexico. A Williams Parker client with a local manufacturing operation engaged them to help create a joint venture with a Mexican partner to manufacture goods in Mexico. The purpose of the joint venture was to expand the client’s market to Mexican and other Latin American consumers. To address Mexican corporate and regulatory questions, Williams Parker connected their client with the Alliance member with an office in Monterrey, Mexico. The client has now completed the joint venture negotiations and is developing its facility with its Mexico-based partner.
For more information regarding the Alliance, please contact Mike Wilson at (941) 536-2043 or firstname.lastname@example.org