St. Mary's Law Journal


Ethan S. Burger


The internationalization of legal practice presents numerous issues for lawyers, such as obtaining qualifications to practice law in foreign jurisdictions and developing the necessary knowledge. Different and possibly conflicting notions of standards of care and professional responsibility will arise. Globalization is widely regarded as the principal driving force in international economic and political relations. From the standpoint of business activity there are myriad ways to assess the impact of globalization. These include tracking rates of exchange, observing altered methods, or examining how attitudes and information has changed. Globalization has increased the demand for specialized accounting and legal services connected with cross-border activities. American law schools are becoming increasingly sensitive to the legal consequences of globalization and recognize they must be better prepared to function in the interconnected world. Law firms have also taken on the characteristics of their corporate clients. Competent and responsible lawyers cannot practice law on an international level without a thorough understanding of local laws and regulations. This usually requires knowledge of the local language. As the number of American attorneys working abroad increases, the likelihood of legal malpractice also increases. As the business world becomes more globalized, the field of law has changed to meet the demands of clients. The current methods lawyers utilize to address the needs of their clients across state and national boundaries have resulted and will inevitably continue to result in legal malpractice. Although research indicates many of these instances have yet to result in a flood of international legal malpractice lawsuits, lawyers should not sit idly. Attorneys committing the types of international legal malpractice discussed will eventually be held accountable for their actions if they do not take steps to correct their behavior. Not only will the dog eventually bark, it will also bite.


St. Mary's University School of Law