Legislating, Decision-Making, Practice and Education
Edited by Mary Hiscock and William van Caenegem
Chapter 4: Law: A Global Practice – Perspectives on the Internationalisation of Legal Services Markets
John Corcoran* CONTEXT – THE CHANGING WORLD As we are all aware, over the past 20 years, rapid developments in globalisation and technology have dramatically changed the way in which we practise law. Personal computing, the internet and advances in telecommunications have changed the lives of both lawyers and their clients. At the same time, the adoption of the ‘free trade’ model has driven liberalisation of markets and importantly for lawyers, legal services markets. In the midst of so much change, the direction that legal practice will take in the future is not exactly clear. What is clear, however, is that there has been a trend from closed to open markets – and if practices in Australia wish to grow, they need to look internationally, because this new paradigm for business is not going to go away. So what is this new paradigm? Today, elections are won on ‘Twitter’, ‘You Tube’ and ‘My Space’ before a vote has been cast.1 Today, wars are broadcast live on prime time television. Today, ‘ecommerce’ means that billions of dollars can be transferred almost instantaneously around the world. Today, supply chains, business networks, clients and every facet of resource management can be accessed at the click of a button. Today, poor lending practices by banks in the United States of America (US) can result in a global financial crisis which has thrown most of the developed world into recession. The landscape for legal services has changed in an equally dramatic fashion. According to the Australian Bureau...
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