How to leverage an international background and show a global mindset in applications

April 7, 2022


2 min read

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Multi-jurisdictional. Cross-border. International. These characteristics define many of the world’s top commercial law firms, so it is vital that you demonstrate a global mindset in your applications.

Why is a global mindset important?

Law firms serve the biggest multinational clients around. Whether it is banks, financial institutions, hedge funds, large retailers or everything in between, these clients operate globally and demand legal advisers that can serve them wherever they require legal assistance. The global economy means that navigating the complex legal differences between jurisdictions sets the top law firms apart and helps them routinely win substantial mandates.

Large deals are often cross-border in nature, spanning multiple jurisdictions. Because of this, law firms need to have strong operations across the world either through a Swiss-Verein (setting up regional offices) or a “Best Friends” (working with established law firms) model. This enables firms to serve companies in various jurisdictions and advise on the numerous regulatory and financial filings that underpin cross-border M&A deals.

Furthermore, understanding how geopolitics affects businesses, their suppliers, lenders, and customers means that lawyers can tailor their advice to best serve the needs of their international clients. Take the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. Many businesses throughout the Western world have cut ties with the Russian economy. Retailers like H&M and Zara, technology companies like Samsung, and even entertainment companies like Netflix have suspended or terminated work in Russia. Such actions will affect all areas of these businesses. Thus, legal advisers that operate internationally are necessary to help navigate and alleviate inevitable disruptions.

How do I show a global mindset in my applications?

There are various ways to build and demonstrate a global mindset in an application. You could:

  • Take an active interest in influential commercial and geopolitical topics! These stories are likely to have far-reaching impacts across the globe. Taking the time to understand how matters in one jurisdiction affect a company, and by default, their legal advisers will enable you to show your knowledge of how a firm operates globally.
  • Learn another language! The British Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote: “If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world.” Learning a different language is not only a vital life skill, it also broadens your perception of the world and opens new avenues of thinking. Having bilingual or even multilingual lawyers is a tremendous asset for law firms that deal with clients across the globe.
  • Talk about a cross-border deal! Particularly, highlight why its international nature appeals to you and why working in a large, international law firm is something you would like.

Being aware of how businesses and their legal advisers operate within the global economy is one of the best ways to show a global mindset. Thinking of the commercial drivers of businesses, why and how they operate globally, and what the ramifications are will help you consider what legal and financial advice a company may require. This is the bread and butter of commercial law firms, and those that do it best win the challenging, cross-border deals that make the front pages.

Report written by Jude Folorunso

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