Networks: the key to successful international relationships?

In these days of growing cross-border activity, independent firms are having to think creatively to compete with their international rivals for work.

The tried-and-tested route involves referral relationships. But even with these networks there are many ways of operating, from a loose, non-exclusive referral partnership, through the ‘best friends’ model, to more structured relationships.

Last week it emerged that Nabarro and its European allies had decided to brand their alliance . The umbrella name ‘Broadlaw’ will now be used for marketing and pitching in a bid to make it easier for clients to understand and use the network.

Branding is crucial for firms that really want to stamp their mark, although often years of working together can be just as effective – see Slaughter and May and its ‘best friends’ as a prime example.

Independent firms are also showing other ways of attracting cross-border work by teaming up with peers in other countries, such as the Dutch-led ‘Nike Alliance’ launched last year.

The many and varied ways of managing a referral relationship will be the topic of our inaugural European Networks Summit , to be held in London in March. For more information on the agenda and speakers click here , and for a limited time, get 20 per cent off your ticket with the code EUlegalnetworks20.

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