BLP launches structure for international network

Berwin Leighton Paisner

(BLP) has, for the first time, implemented a formal structure for managing its international network of preferred firms.

The firm, which maintains a formal alliance with Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel in the US, now has more than 100 independent firms in 50 countries with which it has “non-exclusive preferred friends relationships”.

The firm recently appointed John Taylor, former general counsel of Invesco, as the firm’s director of international strategy.

Taylor will coordinate and oversee the development of relationships, which will be managed on the ground level by nominated partners.

BLP managing partner Neville Eisenberg said: “To operate [the international network] it needs a large number of people around the firm to work at it.

“There are lots of partners involved in working on relationships at an operational level with the partners at our preferred firms. It needs this coordination and management to get the best from it all.”

Taylor’s hire followed that of former Slaughter and May corporate partner Antoine-Audoin Maggiar, who is also heavily involved in the international strategy, but with a focus to develop international clients.

Eisenberg said: “We don’t see this as a jigsaw that’s half or three-quarters complete. It’s an evolving programme and I’m sure there’ll be other pieces added.

“There are some risks with this – the firms aren’t formally committed to us in any way, they’re free to decide their own future as they see fit, and there’s the risk they could align or merge with others, but we see that as heavily outweighed by the benefits to us. “To create this sort of network with our own resources would take decades.”

He said the firm had conducted a “fairly major consultation exercise” with partners to draw on their experiences with firms to build the list.

“I’m satisfied we cover Europe and the Middle East well, but we need to look further, at parts of Asia, Latin America and Africa,” he added.