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Tips on how to retain counsel in a foreign country

On the topic of foreign-counsel retention, this blog has considered the difficulties in some capitals (See my post of Feb. 12, 2006 on the absence of a buyer’s market.) and several considerations (See my post of Oct. 19, 2007 on, for example, bypassing senior partners.). While it may be only infrequently that US legal managers decide that they need to retain foreign counsel (See my post of Aug. 5, 2007.), even so, it is useful to pull together tips on how best to chose foreign counsel.

1. A positive referral from someone you trust is the absolute best way to find a firm (See my post of Aug. 5, 2007 on the high regard given international referrals.).

2. Many associations of law firms can provide an entrée (See my posts of June 20, 2007 #2; June 20, 2007 and three references cited; and Nov. 18, 2007 #3.).

3. Directories and firm websites exist that might make you aware of a specialty firm within a foreign country (See my posts of Oct.16, 2006 with some survey data on these two methods; and Feb. 7, 2007.).

4. Your own domestic law firms also have offices abroad or affiliated firms that they would recommend (See my post of Jan. 3, 2007 about American firms with offices in France.).

5. Your business clients in the country may also have contacts at law firms that can give you a starting point.

6. Once you find the name of a candidate firm, it is obviously of paramount importance to determine that the firm has the capabilities and attributes you seek (See my post of Oct. 19, 2007 on desiderata of foreign firms.).

7. Be sure to push for rates and charges that apply to local companies, not the inflated costs that are sometimes charged US companies (See my post of Jan. 4, 2006.).

8. If your dealings will be substantial, visit the firm and establish a personal relationship. When you do that, bring along your local business executive to assist with the evaluation and build rapport (See my post of Jan. 4, 2006.).

9. Make sure the firm isn’t working with competitors in the areas of law for which you might retain them (See my post of Jan. 4, 2006.).