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Global Fluency for Global PA’s

Global Fluency for Global PA’s

There is a move amongst many of my global law firm clients to upskill their legal PA talent pool.  The driver behind this is to free up time for partners and senior associates so they can focus on matter and client issues.  Seems like a no brainer and I’m sure that this will add enormously both to law firm efficiency and the client experience.

Obviously, if a PA works in a global law firm they will become increasingly engaged in cross-border issues – both within the firm and with key stakeholders outside the business.  Global fluency will therefore become a ‘need to have’ not a ‘nice to have’ for the legal PA of the future and I was pleased to run a cultural awareness training programme for Pinsent Masons LLP in their London office for a group of (mainly) legal PA’s.  The PA’s present supported partners from a variety of practice areas but all reported an increase in their cross-border activities – and all were excited by this development.

We focused on a number of key topics which I thought were important for the group and which were re-enforced when we did a ‘what issues have you faced?’ group discussion.  Key issues for the group seemed to be:

  • Differing expectations from partners and other lawyers in different jurisdictions
  • Differentiating between what were cultural issues and what were purely business or personality issues
  • The need to adapt communication styles across cultures
  • The use of English as the common language across the network
  • When to email and when to call
  • The problems associated with time zones and different working hours
  • How to avoid taking offense to easily

All in all I think the session was a great success and more global firms should think of investing in their PA population in this way.