French Connection – Firm’s LAW Membership Delivers International Leverage


When a client's expensive new piece of equipment failed to perform as promised by its French manufacturer, the client tried for nearly a year to resolve the problem through its local Chicago-based sales and service arm. When that failed (the manufacturer could not repair the equipment), the client’s only recourse was in federal court. However, the French company countersued — in France — initiating delaying tactics to “set up” a long and burdensome legal battle to induce the client and plaintiff to drop the case entirely or resolve the case in a way that would not have been satisfactory. When faced with the French law suit, the Firm reached out to one of its international legal relationships through its affiliation with Lawyers Associated Worldwide (LAW). While the Firm was taking steps here to fend off the French suit, it also engaged a fellow member firm in Paris to make sure the litigation stayed on track.

LAW is comprised of more than 100 member firms located in markets throughout the U.S. and around the world. Each member is a full-service firm, highly regarded in its home market. In 2015, Burke Warren was selected to become the LAW member representing the greater Chicago area. In order to become a LAW member, prospective members, as a first step, must complete a detailed application and, if determined to possess the necessary expertise, are then personally interviewed to further assure compatibility and competency.  LAW’s vetting process ensures that clients of any member firm receive prompt, expert advice when needed in more than 100 markets around the world.

“Globalization is not limited to international conglomerates and a handful of multinational law firms that serve them,” says the Firm’s Chris Manning. “Every year, more of our clients are expanding into foreign markets both for sourcing supplies and selling products. In the six months since we became a member of LAW, we have been able to tap into the LAW network to provide our clients with experienced legal counsel not only in Europe, but also in Asia and South America.”

LAW is organized to facilitate firm-to-firm relationship building throughout its network by conducting two highly structured meetings annually — one global and one regional. The Firm’s Jeff Warren and John Stephens attended LAW’s 2015 global meeting in Shanghai. Chris Manning and Gerry Ring joined Jeff Warren at the LAW 2016 regional meeting in Bogota, Colombia.  

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