Are networks of independent law firms meaningful partnerships or merely expensive badges of honour?

Providing legal services isn’t as simple as it used to be. As bigger firms consolidate and mer0ge to cram out the competition and win a spot among the global legal empires, the smaller ones battle to hold sway over a clientele that is ever more demanding of their time and services.

Fees are diminishing as software replaces many of the corporate duties of hard-working lawyers, and many firms may be unable to match price quotations from global firms with extended reach and new agencies that sell their services for fixed fees.

Yet talented independent and boutique firms are holding their own via a variety of networks that operate in a structured – or sometimes unstructured and quite informal – way to find strength in numbers and geographical bandwidth. Often the ranks are exclusive and not open to “buying” one’s way in. The most desired club memberships are, after all, usually the most elite.

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