Corporate Counsel: International Businesses Best Positioned to Weather Economic Turbulence: How to Help Your Clients “Go Global”

April 26, 2012

A recent report from American Express confirmed once again what savvy business owners have known all along during the recent economic turbulence: companies that aggressively look to foreign markets for growth opportunities are among those most likely to experience steady revenue gains.

For corporate counsel this means it’s more important than ever to be able to counsel your clients about the basics of launching and growing a global business.  While “international law” covers a wide range of topics you can make a good first impression by emphasizing that you understand what your clients need to go through to change their organizations and strategies to incorporate foreign activities.

The first thing you need to do is sit down and listen to your clients as they decide the best way to design and manage their new global organizations.  A number of options are available including organizational strategies that focus on products, markets and functional activities such as manufacturing.

Another great opportunity to make a real contribution is assisting your client with creating an “international business plan”.  What’s different here?  Well, for one thing, it’s not just about selling into foreign markets but also figuring how resources in other countries can be used in US operations.

Finally, your clients will need to set up a global compliance program and that means conducting an international operations audit and making recommendations about new tools and systems that you can design for your clients.

Note: Information on each of the ideas above is included in Going Global: A Guide to Building an International Business.  Or, if you’re already a WESTLAW subscriber, just go to GOGLOBAL and peruse the Table of Contents to identify all of the forms, checklists and commentaries on legal and business issues that you’ll need to become a valuable member of your client’s international business activities. 

Want to get started right away?  Here are the course materials distributed in a recent program on “Launching an International Business” produced and presented by West Legal Ed Center.