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Staffing options to consider before you establish your first lawyer overseas

It is a significant decision for law department General Counsel to locate for the first time a lawyer in an overseas office (See my post of Nov. 16, 2008: five key questions to ask.). Before taking that decision, there are some other staffing possibilities to explore.

You might pick from among your stateside lawyers an on-call lawyer. That lawyer will be responsible for handling questions from overseas during a set period of time. Second, you might appoint a lawyer to be the single point of contact for your overseas clients (See my post of March 31, 2007: single points of contact – SPOC’s – and three references.).

Third, you might designate circuit riders. Every quarter dispatch a lawyer to the foreign location where they spend a week, to get to know the clients, and the clients develop some comfort and familiarity with the law department. A possible supplement to that idea would be for the client to send someone to spend time in your law department, not as a practicing lawyer but to learn about common processes like contracts and agreements. As a final idea, you might be able to get by with a part-time lawyer or perhaps with a secondment from a local law firm will patch the dike for a while (See my post of July 17, 2008: secondment with 12 references; and Jan. 23, 2008.)

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