Price determination of relational capital

Strategic Law Firm Expansion in Asia  December 29, 2016 – 07:50 pm

There seems to be a never ending slew of articles in various publications of late highlighting the internationalization/expansion of one law firm or another. Given the patchy record many firms have had in internalization success, I thought the timing right to share an excerpt of a chapter on law firm expansion and internationalization from my recent book: Developing a Profitable Practice in Asia (Ark, 2010). Comments as always welcome.

Winners and Losers in Internationalizing Professional Services Firms:

Overall, much evidence shows that the degree of success a firm will have is related to its degree of the following key strategic orientations:

  • Market orientation
  • Learning orientation
  • Entrepreneurial orientation
  • Knowledge orientation

Generally, there are numerous factors that affect the degree of success firms will have when entering foreign markets and of course, measures of success vary among different firms. Some firms will look at short term revenue generation and base strategic decisions around these factors whilst other firms may have a longer term view and consider the building of firm capabilities and social capital as key elements to their longer term success in a market. The range of factors that separate winners and losers in internationalization efforts are numerous whilst the choice of location for international law firm offices is a mixture of market demand and regulation. There are also movements over time that impact outcomes. In more liberal legal markets (as Asian markets gradually move in that direction), foreign law firms are increasingly staffed by local lawyers and this provides the firm the ability to practice local law in some cases. This is evident in the comparison of Hong Kong and China whereby foreign law offices in Hong Kong are heavily staffed by local lawyers where the regulated legal market of China seems to predicate the use of foreign lawyers (who may in fact be Chinese but studied overseas) who cannot advise on domestic law. Additionally, the longer a firm has been in a location the more it tends to staff the office locally and integrate itself into the local legal and business community.

Source: Marketing Asia

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