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Between Diffusion and Distinctiveness in Globalization: U.S. Law Firms Go Glocal

54 Pages Posted: 17 May 2009  

Carole Silver

Northwestern University School of Law

Nicole De Bruin Phelan

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Mikaela Rabinowitz

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

There is widespread agreement that law firms have embraced globalization, but what this means and why it matters are subjects still cloaked with uncertainty. Do law firms follow the models and processes of globalization characteristic of other businesses? Or are law firms forced to take a different approach because of the nature of law and its basis in a particular national system? In this article, we consider these questions as they apply to U.S. law firms, and offer a new lens to interpret the role of globalization in the activities of law firms and their lawyers. We use data relating to the overseas offices of 64 leading U.S.-based law firms - among the largest and most globally-oriented U.S. firms - to learn how the firms transform themselves into global organizations. Our investigation reveals that U.S. law firms take a glocal or hybrid approach to globalization.

Keywords: globalization, law firms, legal education

JEL Classification: K00, K40, K49, J61

Suggested Citation

Silver, Carole and Phelan, Nicole De Bruin and Rabinowitz, Mikaela, Between Diffusion and Distinctiveness in Globalization: U.S. Law Firms Go Glocal. Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics, Vol. 22, 2009; Georgetown Law and Economics Research Paper No. 1406123. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1406123

Carole Silver (Contact Author)

Northwestern University School of Law ( email )

375 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/faculty/profiles/CaroleSilver/

Nicole De Bruin Phelan

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Mikaela Rabinowitz

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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