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                                                                                                             June 22, 2016

The Law Firm Network Alert

Welcome to the  Law Firm Network Alert The Alert contains articles and videos relevant to those interested in the future of the legal profession. In particular, it focuses on alternative structures for providing legal services: networks, law firms, vereins, and the Big 4.
The Alert is a collection of insights that offers a contemporaneous perspective on issues in the global practice of law.

+   Professional Networks - Taking business development to the next level.
          5 Key Business Development Strategies for International Law Firm Networks,
   by John Grimley

++ IBA Annual Meeting, Sept. 19, 2016 

          Law Firm Networks: Strength in Numbers -  Wishful Thinking or the Future of the 
          Legal Profession?

If you are attending the IBA annual meeting, there will be two sessions on networks. The first session will cover the management and marketing aspects of networks. The second session will be an active discussion among representatives of the various structures used to provide legal services: law firms, networks, vereins, and legal process outsourcing.  Amar D. Sarwal , vice president and chief legal strategist of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), will moderate the panel.  The session will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.                           

Global Legal Profession - What is a Network? What is a Verein?
Dentons raised the question of "what is a network?" when they announced a free online organization aimed at disrupting the traditional model. Joe Andrew, Dentons' chair, opened the opportunity to analyze the law firm verein to see how it is different from networks. (Click for a comprehensive list of articles and videos on vereins.)

       Round 3:        Debunking the Myth of the Pay-to-Play Verein
                              by Stephen McGarry,  president of AILFN 
              Round 2:         Debunking the Myths of Pay-to-Play Networks,
                               by Joe  Andrew, chair of Dentons
       Round 1:       Nextlaw: A Pale Imitation of a Network ,
                              by Michael Siebold, chair of Interlaw

Comment: In a press release announcing its free online referral network, Dentons created an entirely new concept of "pay-to-play" networks out of thin air. No one is quite sure what this means since Dentons itself, as a verein, has almost all of the characteristics of a law firm network including annual payments of fees. Michael Siebold raised the point that a free online network is no more than a fancy directory. It cannot compare to decades of professional relationships that foster trust.  Joe Andrew struck back by implying they would put networks out of business.

In  Round 3, I responded. For some reason, Dentons does not like the term "network." It anointed itself with an esoteric name: "polycentric firm." Being networks has not stopped the Big 4 accounting/consulting firms from generating more than $100 billion annually. All are pay-to-play, including Dentons. None of the Big 4 has a free online network for making referrals.

If you are aware of articles or videos that fellow readers would find interesting, please forward them to us for consideration.

Thank you.

Best regards,

Steve McGarry

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The Law Firm Network Alert is a bimonthly newsletter containing information on recent articles, videos, and other materials that are of interest to those who have been or currently are involved in developing law firm networks. The articles reflect the state of the global legal market.
AILFN (the Association of International Law Firm Networks) is a new association that represents the common interests of global and regional law firm networks. AILFN has four purposes: (1) enhance the position and recognition of all networks in the legal market; (2) establish common principles to maintain standards of quality; (3) provide a forum for networks to exchange non-proprietary information; and (4) negotiate agreements with vendors that can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of networks.