Over the last decade, we’ve seen a titanic shift in the legal industry, and one thing I know for sure is that we’ve all got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Change, innovation, disruption – it’s all here to stay, and how it shakes out will be different for each law firm and law firm client.

What we do know is that the client is king – they always were, but now they know it too. And that means clients expect their firms to get creative about ways and means to provide value. This can be accomplished in a myriad of ways, depending on your strategy, goals, and clients, but a piece of that puzzle is the law firm network.

I have an insider view of law firm networks, with almost 13 years at the International Lawyers Network, and I have seen that, if leveraged correctly, network membership can help to make your law firm successful in this new world order. Here are five ways that a law firm network can drive your firm’s success:

1. Confidence 

The network offers you instant access to vetted counsel around the world, whom you know will treat your clients the same way you would treat them. The network offers quality control mechanisms and due diligence, and has a razor-sharp focus on the next point, building relationships, which allows you to confidently work with firms in any of the jurisdictions represented.

2. Relationships 

Human capital and personal connections have never been more important than they are today. You already know the value of relationships to your success, and networks understand that these are the lifeblood of their organization. All activities are designed to allow you to build trust and understanding, for the benefit of your clients, with your fellow members around the world.

3. Geographic Breadth

Network membership allows you to supercharge your marketing efforts – where you’re currently highlighting your efforts in your local and regional markets, your network can broaden your outreach internationally, or in carefully chosen, targeted markets, and in the places where you do (or want to do) the most business.

4. Support 

Network personnel develop strong relationships with member-firm lawyers and dedicate themselves entirely to becoming experts on their members. They’re there as a resource to help you and your colleagues coordinate direct and multi-jurisdictional referrals, to market your firm within the network, and to market the network within your firm and to your clients. They’re also your “member matchmakers” for practice and industry expertise, and jurisdictional relationship-building.

5. Referrals

Fellow members are looking for trusted international solutions for their clients – being a part of their network gives you the opportunity to be the first firm they call, not because you’re a name in a directory, but because you’re a person they know and trust, or because you’re a person that their network knows and trusts.

As we move into a “Networks 2.0” world, teams of expert lawyers from different firms in different jurisdictions will work together to pitch for work, bringing together the best lawyers for the job, for the benefit of the client.

[Originally published for JD Supra’s Perspectives Series]