SJ Berwin to nurture international links

SJ Berwin to nurture international links” />SJ Berwin has introduced a formal global secondment programme in a bid to strengthen its links with international law firms.

The plan follows the completion of SJ Berwin’s strategy review, which in part concluded that the firm needed to increase its focus on developing its international network and strengthening relationships.

The programme, which was announced internally last month, is expected to see the silver circle firm team up with between six and 10 law firms from the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and the offshore markets to take and swap associate secondees.

Professional service partner Simon Witney, who is spearheading the programme with international practice partner Stephen Kon, said they were currently taking soundings from the firm’s lawyers on which jurisdictions, firms and areas of law the programme should cover.

“We want to develop greater knowledge of the law in different jurisdictions and also develop our relationships with other firms,” he said. “The secondees could come from law firms in any country that we don’t already have an office in, but it’s likely that many will come from firms that we already have relationships with.”

Witney and Kon are due to report back to management on the firm’s feedback in September, with the first group of secondees due to join the firm in April 2007 for up to a 12-month period.

SJ Berwin has an existing secondment programme within its own network and has previously placed secondees with other firms on an ad hoc basis – for example, historically it has placed secondees with Debevoise & Plimpton.

However, the new scheme will be the firm’s first formal arrangement.