Herman Raspé is the current Chairman of World Services Group, a premier global multidisciplinary professional services network of independent legal, accounting and investment banking firms. A partner at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, his Raspé is a renowned authority in the field of cross-border debt and equity trading, particularly in relation to depository receipts. He is a frequent lecturer on depositary receipts and the regulatory implications for foreign companies accessing US capital markets. He represents U.S. financial institutions and non-U.S. corporations in numerous cross-border and capital markets transactions supporting cross-border mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, and capital restructurings.
In this JD Supra exclusive, Raspé discusses its forecasts for 2023, its views on global legal practices, and considerations when choosing a global legal services network.
What are your predictions for global legal practice in 2023?
The pandemic has revealed the deep dependence of the legal practice on technology, especially in a global context. For a global legal practice to be successful, lawyers must have access to powerful technology her infrastructure and platforms that enable seamless communication. All attorneys are accustomed to conducting court hearings, arbitrations and negotiations remotely using various technology platforms. However, every attorney can also point to one or more instances where available technology was flawed. For example, security may have been compromised during a process supported by a particular technology. We are currently facing new and different technological challenges with the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI).
…which points to greater consideration of legal technology and AI regulation.
Legal technology faces no global regulation, raising concerns. A recent survey by GC Magazine found that global in-house lawyers are witnessing a pressing problem with the increasing adoption of AI and other machine learning legal technologies. He said a staggering 72% of GCs interviewed said their use of AI and legal technology is either poorly regulated or unsure whether it is sufficiently regulated. In my view, this is a signal that many of the key thought leaders in the industry need to give more thought to legal technology and AI regulation.
Why do you think GC thinks AI needs to be more regulated in the legal industry?
The study suggests that many attorneys may be willing to adopt new AI technologies without adequate guardrails, despite client concerns that AI is not well overseen and regulated. indicates that there is The same survey found that 81% of responding GCs said the key missing factor was global regulatory awareness and understanding of AI. Unfortunately, when the past is the prologue, regulation tends to arise in response to critical issues, which means it’s too late or the scope of regulation is cumbersome.
We just have to see what happened on social media. Governments around the world have largely failed to regulate social media. This choice didn’t pan out over time. As technology becomes more widely adopted, technology companies themselves may be reluctant to change, even if it is in their greater interest to do so. There are many global crises that show that not regulating social media is harmful. In 2021, as the social media network’s algorithms amplified hate speech and the platform’s failure to remove inflammatory posts, Rohingyas took Facebook to court, claiming Facebook’s negligence facilitated the genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims. The United States has witnessed the horrific impact Instagram has on young people, but has done little to ameliorate the harm.
It’s very difficult to put the tech genie back in the bottle. If that’s all, teeth If some of the issues around legal technology and AI regulation lie in the lack of understanding of global regulators, we may be looking at regulations that have little effect or are overly burdensome. . As such, we believe security and regulation will be a major challenge in the legal tech space in 2023 and beyond.
What are the biggest challenges in maintaining global legal practice?
Global practitioners are constantly looking for ways to reduce the friction of cross-jurisdictional practice. Our global network of lawyers allows us to lower barriers to entry almost anywhere in the world. Another challenge is building trustworthy global relationships. I have found that the relationships I have built through working on international client engagements have allowed me to build a trusted network for referrals and advice. Since we have cooperated with them, there is no need to reconsider their judgment.
How did you decide to join the global legal services network?
I manage an active cross-border capital market and M&A focused business and was looking for opportunities to receive global support and referrals outside of my day-to-day operations. We also needed a new way to enter the international market. WSG seemed like the best fit for me and I joined as a member of the Banking & Finance Group. Since that time, my international referral network practice has grown significantly.
…the support of our global network opens the door to new opportunities and provides value-added services to our clients
One of the benefits I see across my network is better global client service. The ability to refer a client to a trusted attorney in a particular jurisdiction without going through a lot of formalities can make the difference between closing a deal and losing a client.Cultural nuances and insights, each There is no substitute for a deep understanding of the jurisdiction’s customs and nuances of practice. That is why US-only lawyers often contract with local lawyers and admit themselves to pro-hack wrongdoing. It really makes no difference. If you are managing a global practice for a leading independent law firm, we believe that the support of our global network will open the door to new opportunities and provide value-added services to our clients.
What factors should attorneys consider when evaluating a global network?
Just as GC evaluates law firms, it is important to know what is most important to the company in achieving its overall goals.
exclusivity: A network with well-established members can become a tested and trusted global business partner. When Do not have duplicate members in a given jurisdiction. This is an important advantage. When multiple law firms vie for every opportunity in their respective jurisdictions, there is a risk that counterparts will focus on winning business instead of doing the job. This is a meaningful distinction as it reflects the quality and exclusivity of any network. If you are referred to an attorney, you want to know that the law firm has been vetted, has gone through the same detailed selection process as your firm, and is dedicated to producing good results.
Industry recognition: Chambers and Partners is one of the leading international accreditation platforms for law firms and other legal service providers. Global Legal Guide rankings are trusted and recognized because each is based on in-depth research by dedicated and experienced researchers. All other conditions are the same. This guide is a great starting point for evaluating potential global network partners.
Expand your reach: I always tell my colleagues to look up network members in jurisdictions they don’t have contact with. Maintain and nurture your existing global contacts and use your network to expand your reach. This also applies to law firms, accounting firms, investment banks and other business services. Knowing who to talk to and where you need it can help reduce friction and unbilled time when launching new global initiatives. No client wants to pay you to learn more about M&A in Africa. Make sure your network has strong players in all regions important to your current and future legal practice.
cultural alignment: Believe it or not, cultural alignment between law firms and networks is extremely important. Many attorneys get caught up in prestige before considering shared values when choosing a network. Consider whether your firm has a “conservative” mentality, a traditional top-down management approach, or an inclusive culture dedicated to DE&I principles.
Ultimately, the international law firm network differentiates law firm members. Membership helps open doors to vetted partners around the world, but also allows smaller businesses to maintain a global practice without investing in offices around the world.