The worst places in the world to practise

It is easy to become an international law firm, isn't it? Just stick a few pins on a world map and then pack off a few keen associates and a pioneering partner to set up camp there. Certainly, the road to globalisation drives on inexorably. But it seems that all is not so sweet for Baker & McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer et al.
Some places have got so bad that it begs the question: is it all really worth it? Such is the strength of feeling in India, for example, that protesters held violent demonstrations while press commentators compared the threat posed by foreign lawyers to a reincarnation of the East India Company. Elsewhere, the Slovak bar has threatened UK firms with legal action if they don't desist from practising there, and in South Korea anyone is allowed to practise, but only if they can pass the bar examination that is set in the Korean language and which has a pass rate of only 3 per cent among the Koreans themselves.
And it is not just in such far flung places either. Earlier this month the European Court of Justice commenced legal proceedings against France, Spain and Ireland for their failure to recognise lawyers qualified in other countries.
It is easy to see why globalisation is not automatically the road to untold riches and unlimited profitability that some predict. If it's profits you want, far better a single-site claims factory in North London.
But if you really, really, really must have that office in the Slovak Republic – and the potential of such untapped markets is obvious – there are a few things you need to remember if you are to avoid going loco in Acapulco. Don't forget to pack your negotiating handbook, a hard hat and several years worth of supplies for a start. You have to be able to tailor your product to the local market – your brands are strong but not invincible. And don't forget your partners – they must be kept on board for what is inevitably a long and expensive project. You might even think about getting the Law Society on side, which is currently having some success in breaking down the boundaries.
But if you're jetting off to some exotic holiday destination this week, please remember not to mention your profession.