Every month one of our partners writes a column for mena.nl (Dutch M&A community) with a focus on the trends and developments in the legal industry. In this column Robert van Beemen argues that law firms should implement an ESG strategy rather sooner than later. Here’s the link to the Dutch version.Read More
Six times a year one of our partners writes a column focused on the legal industry in Dutch magazine M&A. In this column Martijn Lesterhuis zooms in on the need for law firms to take a more integrated approach on risk management, the steps they need to take and what the consequences could be if they don’t do it. Here’s the […]Read More
Venturis Consulting Group, the pre-eminent European management and strategy consulting firm for the legal sector, is expanding its service offering to enhance assistance to corporate legal departments. Victoria Swedjemark, founder of Glowmind, a Swedish-based management consulting practice helping legal departments evolve, will team up with Venturis Consulting Group effective as of May 2021. Victoria has been […]Read More
Gerard Tanja provided a brief analysis of the main trends in the Dutch legal market in 2020 (also in the context of Covid) for a special edition of the Dutch Financial Times: * International business law firms will further increase their market share in the Netherlands;* ‘New’ legal service providers like the Big 4 and […]Read More
Amsterdam, 22 April 2021. After opening in Paris and Brussels in 2020, Venturis Consulting Group has expanded further by hiring Frans Post as a Partner. Frans has been a CFO, COO and CEO at international firms of different sizes, including Clifford Chance in Amsterdam and New York, Olswang, offshore firm Mourant and investigations boutique GPW. […]Read More
Increasingly, international law firms are making it a strategic priority to expand their professional reach and enter new markets. Strategies for Growth in Law Firms explores some of the crucial elements relating to international growth strategies in the legal sector including law firm mergers, market entries, the onboarding of teams and the development of international referral strategies. […]Read More
Six times a year one of our partners writes a column focused on the legal industry in Dutch magazine M&A. In this column Rik Servais describes how the legal market in the Netherlands will be impacted by the entry on the market of the Big Four consultancies. Here’s the link to the Dutch version.Read More
Six times a year one of our partners writes a column focused on the legal industry in Dutch magazine M&A. In this column Robert van Beemen elaborates on the importance of ESG to integrate ESG in the strategy, in order for them to keep their licence to operate. Here’s the link to the Dutch version.Read More
Six times a year one of our partners writes a column focused on the legal industry in Dutch magazine M&A. In this column Martijn Lesterhuis explains why the opening-up of the legal market due to deregulation of law firm ownership could offer attractive opportunities for both traditional law firms and external investors. Here’s the link to the […]Read More
The Brexit deal that was reached just before Christmas 2020 comes as a major relief to EU and UK businesses who feared chaos and uncertainty after a possible no-deal. Change will come however and consequences for businesses on both sides are inevitable. The legal industry is no exception. The consequences for law firms and lawyers remain, however, to a large extent unclear.
A brief section in the Trade Agreement is dedicated to legal services and presents the basis for UK lawyers providing services in the EU and vice versa. Key element is that EU Law (i.e. the law system produced by the EU Institutions and overruling the national law of each Member State in case of conflict) is a forbidden area for UK lawyers providing services in one of the EU Member States. They are allowed, subject to local registration requirements, to provide services in relation to UK law and to public international law, excluding EU law. On the other hand, lawyers qualified in one of the EU Member States are allowed to provide services in the UK, but only in relation to their home jurisdiction and in relation to public international law (again, EU law excluded).
This restricts the room to manoeuvre when offering legal services overseas. Now UK lawyers are excluded from practicing EU law, they are de facto denied access to the European market. One of the solutions is to comply with the respective regulatory frameworks of EU Member States and to qualify as a lawyer in one of the EU jurisdictions. A qualified UK lawyer who also qualifies in Belgium can count Belgium as his or her home jurisdiction (the jurisdiction in which the professional title is acquired) and would be able to offer full legal services in Belgium, including EU law. (NB: Several firms have already registered some of their lawyers in Ireland and with the Brussels Bar in Belgium).
The amount of UK lawyers qualifying in EU Member States will probably be limited. A more likely consequence is an increase in local counsel instructions coming from UK-based firms. This constitutes opportunities for EU firms and increases the relevance of a well-designed referral system for EU-based firms to be rolled out in the direction of their British counterparts.
It should be noted in this respect that nothing prevents UK firms not yet present in the EU Member States’ jurisdictions to establish a branch in the EU through which services can be provided. However, the services provided can only be in relation to UK law and public international law (excl. EU law). Establishment of a branch and the delivery of legal services remain subject to local requirements, such as Bar registration and other applicable regulations.
Another consequence is likely to be felt in the legal disputes sector. There is uncertainty to what extent judgments of the British courts will be recognised in the EU. This will have an effect on the number of cases in the UK as it is potentially no longer the preferred jurisdiction to solve legal disputes.
Although the deal is on the table, and many economic sectors are relieved that a worse-case scenario has been avoided, it may feel like a hard Brexit to the legal sector – especially in the UK. On the other hand, law firms have been anticipating for a long time and are prepared for what is to come. Ways will be found to create a stronger basis for non-EU lawyers operating in the EU. Uncertainty remains, but the future might be brighter than many had believed. After all, isn’t uncertainty the one of the most fertile grounds for the legal industry?