There has and will always be a discussion on the pros and cons of global firm structures, but one thing stays consistent throughout, and that is that there will always be a place for a strong reputable, above par independent firm. Therefore, participation in a non-exclusive, well vetted, quality controlled network like WSG continues to be a smart choice.
A quick comparison of key points:
Quality and Consistency
While one-brand global structures tend to try to use quality and consistency as a positive, the reality is that when you do not really know the professional to whom you are referring work, whether they are under the same brand or not, you do not know what kind of service your client will receive.
As a member of WSG, making an effort to meet and get to know your counterpart is expected and necessary, not just an option. When a referral is made, awareness of service and quality is expected without fear of losing the client through business development or compensation nuances that can be discouraging instead of encouraging. Additionally, WSG’s high standards of entry and monitoring of member firms through one corporate source ensures the highest level of quality and consistency.
Long standing brands have stood the test of time and success, no question. This is also true for independent firms, which confirms that leading independent firms and professionals are not necessarily the ones willing to join global firm structures. The most successful independent firms are usually comfortable staying that way and associating astutely with their global counterparts. This association is only successful globally through a highly ranked, recognized and non-exclusive network like WSG that has successfully maintained a stable and reputable membership.
Many times the definition of stability with one-brand global firms is referring only to the brand while within the WSG network, stability most often refers to each long standing firm and its long standing professionals individually.
WSG harnesses innovation with the strength of a network and the power of technology to ensure infinitely more opportunities for quality work from quality partners. Each of the over 19,000 professionals (and growing) in the member firms have individual accounts and complete access to the network. This number alone offers increased opportunities. However, also unique to WSG is our visionary notion that as the world shrank so to would limitations from industry to industry, thereby integrating the legal network concept with accounting and investment banking services. While one-brand firms offer centralized operations in many senses, the limitations created by these operations affects the effectiveness of opportunity making network association for independent firms more opportunistic with less financial commitment.
The independent firm is always going to be important to the industry, but there is no getting away from the fact that independent firms can no longer expect to meet a global client’s needs alone. Similarly, a one brand firm cannot possibly build a footprint equal to that of a premier network across jurisdictions.
What is good for one may not be good for all, however, participation in WSG over the independent firm offers gains in size, strength, access and stability and secures its place among reputable go-to firms. It’s about leveraging the network to better understand changing landscapes, capitalize on business opportunities and deliver solutions and value to clients.