As cross-border and global business issues become more common, many law firms now face, for the first time, the challenges and opportunities of acting for foreign clients. Even law firms that already do cross-border legal work encounter new and different expectations from new clients from the other side of the world, where local customs and practice may be profoundly different from the firm's previous experience with clients from neighboring countries or one of the major business centers.

Serving the foreign client requires more than good cross-cultural skills. It is a learning process. Law firms should invest considerable time and effort at the beginning of the relationship to discuss and define the client's expectations, as well as any practical, economic, or political implications in the firm's home jurisdiction. When acting for a foreign client, law firms should assume nothing. In today's quickly changing global marketplace, assumptions based on yesterday's experience might not be reliable guides for client satisfaction tomorrow.

Click here to download a Walker Clark Background Briefing, Serving the Foreign Client.

Norman Clark