How Dual-Qualified Lawyers Contribute to Overseas Practice: A Case Study

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Lawyers who set about to achieve dual-qualification do so for a number of different reasons, but one of the most popular is being able to offer an added dimension to their domestic practice in their home jurisdiction.

Jesus Valez is a partner in the Madrid office of Kennedys, a leading commercial law firm specialising in insurance and shipping. He encourages lawyers working in his firm to undertake the Qualified Lawyers Training Scheme (QLTS) and become dual-qualified Spanish-English lawyers.

In a video interview, Mr Valez explains the important role played by dual-qualified lawyers in overseas law firms and offices, and identifies a number of direct advantages that dual-qualified lawyers can offer both their clients and employers in their domestic jurisdictions.

Advisors on cross-border trade

One of the factors contributing towards this important role is the overall significance of UK trade with foreign countries. UK businesses trading outside of the UK often need to establish a local presence, and law firms with dual-qualified lawyers in their ranks can help them achieve their commercial goals. One of the ways this objective is achieved is through helping the clients understand the cultural differences between the UK and the local market. As the number of UK business opening overseas offices is constantly rising, the level of demand for English law advice outside of the UK is strong and continues to grow steadily.

Handling high-value, prized clients

Mr Valez points out that dual-qualified lawyers also play a major role in handling the firm’s complex, cross-border work, which helps his firm to retain high-value work and clients, a commercial priority for any firm. In addition, having dual-qualification means being able to analyse a problem from a broader perspective, and therefore bring the client closer to a practical solution. The scarcity of dual-qualified lawyers who can add value in this way means that they are highly-sought after.

High demand for dual-qualified lawyers

Mr. Valez’s views accord with the results of a survey of the recruitment of dual-qualified lawyers in major law firms in the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. The survey, conducted by leading research consultants IRN Research, found a consistent and growing demand for dual-qualified lawyers across both UK and overseas law firms, in particular for the strategic advantages and added value they contribute. Indeed, some firms, particularly in Hong Kong, place dual-qualification as a minimum requirement, such is the importance of the qualities and advantages dual-qualified lawyers bring to firms in the region.

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