Lexpert Magazine

October 2017

Lexpert magazine features articles and columns on developments in legal practice management, deals and lawsuits of interest in Canada, the law and business issues of interest to legal professionals and businesses that purchase legal services.

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36 LEXPERT MAGAZINE | OCTOBER 2017 COVER STORY Big Global law firms may offer a "one-stop shop," but when it comes to international coverage, law firm network referrals are offering the independents competition BY JULIUS MELNITZER THE ENTHUSIASTIC excitement on the one hand, and naysaying on the other, that arose when Dentons launched its Nextlaw Global Referral Network in October 2016 speaks volumes about the evolution and relevance of the many-headed beast known as a legal network. According to its website: "Nextlaw Global Referral Network does not charge membership fees and does not grant territorial monopolies. Clients get more choices so they can work with their law firm to find the precise right lawyer for their particular matter. We designed our network using the newest technologies and network architecture." e technology piece is key; one way or another it will be a key driver in the development of networks going forward. e initiative made Dentons the first global firm to establish its own referral network, and at the time it was quickly dismissed by competitors. "Nextlaw Global Referral is no different than putting 450 strangers in a room," said Steve McGarry, President of the Association of International Law Firm Networks (AILFN). "It does not represent the more than $1 billion spent by real networks creating real relationships over two decades." But Nextlaw is free. Members don't have to pay to join these "450 strangers," which represent more than 25,000 lawyers in 180 countries. at makes Nextlaw the largest legal referral network in the world by number of member firms and lawyers, outstripping Lex Mundi's 21,000 lawyers in 160 firms, and TerraLex, which counts 19,000 lawyers under its umbrella. Nextlaw also dwarfs other traditional networks including e World Services Group and the Many The PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

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