Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
In recent years, global law firms have made their mark, circling the earth with offices. A firm that was once a distinctly British entity may now have more than half its attorneys practicing outside the U.K. Globalization has complicated the traditional recruiting of U.S. associates through law school interviewing and the hiring of summer associates. Globalization is changing both what firms look for in associates, and how and where those associates who are hired ultimately practice. In addition, associates often look for experiences in a global firm that a more domestic-based firm cannot offer. A firm that takes a global view will rotate summer associates through its foreign offices as well as through different departments in its U.S. office. Overseas rotation must be more than an enticement intended to attract summer associates. A global firm must follow through when new associates have graduated and join the firm. It should give its new associates exactly the same training whether they are in New York or Hong Kong. There is no reason why a global firm’s U.S. associates necessarily have to start their careers or spend time in the U.S. office. Ideally, what a global practice requires is not just a global perspective but also attorneys who are the best graduates ready to work on highly complex cross- border transactions, who are fluent in more than one language and familiar with more than one culture. Obviously, a truly global firm will be eager to hire U.S. J.D. graduates who measure up to that standard. In recruiting, though, global firms should not limit themselves to seeking U.S. associates who already speak several languages and who have traveled widely. They should look for people who have a great deal of growth potential, who have an urge to do something different — individuals who want to be challenged at the highest level. Such people, even if they do not have a background rich in international connections, have proven very effective. One rarely finds “tourists” among foreign students in American LL.M. programs. They are coming to U.S. law schools at considerable expense and have made a real commitment to learn. Accordingly, LL.M. programs have become significant as a source of recruits for global firms’ foreign offices. LL.M. candidates are usually highly motivated practitioners in their own countries who want to get a U.S. law background. It is not just the combination of foreign and American training that makes LL.M.s attractive — it is also their motivation. Evaluating foreign LL.M. candidates, however, is as tricky as evaluating American J.D. candidates. Recruiters must assess the quality of a candidate’s particular LL.M. program, as well as the candidate’s transcript from the foreign law school. The candidate’s multicultural sensitivity is very important, especially as reflected in the ability to understand documents drafted in English. The candidate must be alert to nuances that a native speaker would grasp. For many LL.M. candidates, one year of U.S. law school cannot turn them into fully rounded U.S. practitioners. UNIQUE CHALLENGES Overseas rotation of associates can reinforce a firm’s global practices. Such a procedure demands that the various offices synchronize their training schedules and coordinate their practices. If a firm offers a standardized training program for U.S. associates in all of its offices (perhaps with some variations), the same basic subject matter should be covered the same week at each location. Otherwise, associates who move from office to office will encounter duplications or omissions. Cultural differences can be a challenge to a blending of American law school graduates and foreign LL.M. graduates in the same office, although few differences are so profound as to be problematic. It is typical for European law graduates to be younger than their American counterparts, for example, but because most Europeans entering an LL.M. program have practiced for a few years and have gained a degree of maturity in doing so, the age difference, when there is one, evens out. Global recruiting is a complex issue because it involves hiring or training people who will not necessarily remain in one office, and it forces the firm to address diversity issues. Geographic and cultural divides necessitate special efforts at communication and unification within the firm. Worldwide retreats are one method of bonding and sharing cultural differences as well as addressing related law issues from around the world and promoting interaction. The compensation question, on the other hand, can be very thorny. No matter how global the firm and its practice, when it comes to compensation and benefits each office has no choice but to respond to market practices in their given jurisdiction. U.S. associates, wherever based, are treated as U.S. associates and compensated as such, even if they are based in Singapore or Tokyo. Global firms must also be prepared to deal with issues — sometimes not only monetary but also personal — when relating to salaries and “expat” packages. The key to accommodating cross-cultural differences in a global practice is recruiting people who are challenged by international practice and who are sensitive to cultural differences and feel enriched by them. Firms that are truly global have an advantage over the many U.S. law firms that are trying to deal with diversity. Global firms include practitioners of every nationality, every ethnicity, every religion — diversity is indeed the very fiber of the firm. That is why so many applicants say to global firms: “This is what I really want.” Marianne Rosenberg is a partner in, and the head of, the New York office of Linklaters. She is also the co-head of the Global Asset Finance Group and head of U.S. legal recruitment at Linklaters.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.