There’s an abundance of law firm networks that independent firms can utilise to assist their practice. But is being a part of ‘the club’ a winning hand, or an expensive badge of honour? Vanessa Ip reports

Providing legal services isn’t as simple as it used to be. As bigger firms consolidate and merge 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 matching quotations for business with the extended reach of global firms and new agencies that sell their services for fixed fees may price many out of the market.

Yet talented independents 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.

Structured as membership organisations consisting of independent law firms, these networks tout themselves as providing a useful resource for both professional and social networking, education, information sharing and cross-selling.

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