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The process of globalization has affected the way of doing business and to a large extent influenced legal profession across the entire world. The process of globalization has increased the way of doing trade between several countries which had different legal systems and has forced individual countries to develop programs that make sure their systems are compatible to enable a viable business environment. The increasing international economic activities have affected the power of States and their markets and caused huge changes to the legal profession so as to regulate these activities (Bradlow, n. d.). With the dynamic globalization demands the legal education system has to be changed so as to meet the ever changing demands (Klabbers & Sellers, 2008). In this research we shall study the effect of globalization on the legal profession since there is need to understand the exact influence that globalization has caused in the profession.
The problem with the legal profession is that it has been continuously undergoing fundamental transformation which is changing the work lives and professional opportunities of lawyers globally. The changes in the global market environment open opportunities for the legal profession to operate internationally and as such local practices become irrelevant and there is need for international exposure and training (The Center for Law, Society, and Culture, 2006). Moreover, there is need to harmonize the legal systems of several countries that operate globally so as to arrive at an acceptable legal structure for all participating countries. These needs have created a problem that has seen continuous transformations in the legal environment that directly affect the lives of lawyers in the profession. Therefore these continued transformations in legal profession are important to study because they have direct impact on the business, social and political environments of the entire world and as such should be understood by all.
The purpose of the study of the effects of globalization on the legal profession is to understand those effects as well as their long term expectation in changing the international justice system. Therefore the study intends to create an awareness of the changes in the legal profession as a result of globalization which will help lawyers as well as the subjects to adhere to the changing structures. This is intended to provide knowledge for all so as not to be ignorant in the courts of law whenever they are subjects and as such ensure that all persons are up to speed with the latest changes in the legal profession especially practicing lawyers all over the world.
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This study is important because it will provide the legal profession with the changes that have already taken place in the profession as well as those expected. With this research information, lawyers will be able to prepare their case arguments as well as defense whenever their clients are subjects to international legal system. This study is important to all clients including corporations, national economies and individuals because the knowledge of changing legal trends will help lawyers to represent them effectively. Therefore it is possible that several legal clients will benefit from this study. If this study is carried out successfully it will make several changes in the legal profession to be available and those who are not aware will be able to utilize and gain knowledge of the same.
To begin with, globalization refers to the increased transnational economic processes driven by market forces of international demand and supply. On the other hand, there is increased extension of international law to the entire business world. The law usually regulates and guides human activities to ensure justice to entire humanity. The increased world business forced the legal order to be adjusted to meet the changing demands. These new developments included the drafting of international contracts and business relations among several other legislations. The legal barriers of international trade were eliminated with the adoption of international law. Therefore globalization has brought about the development of institutions designed to ensure compliance and monitor international trade as guided by the developed set legal principles (Hague Academy of International Law, 2001). Therefore it is true that globalization has impacted the international legal order due to the need to regulate several business processes.
The businesses environment has had several sweeping changes caused by the globalization. This has brought a renewed competition among firms in the international arena as compared to the local competition. With the emergence of increased international competition, the corporate environment is faced with a lot of emerging legal issues which should be addressed for continued international operations. There is need for legal education for the companies involved in the international business so that they do not find themselves in the wrong side of the dynamic international legal structures (Winter & May, 2007). The globalization culture which is emerging in technology has caused a lot of innovation that has made business across the world to be made easy and accessible to all parties.
The attitude of lawyers has been positive with the globalization which has even forced them to seek further education available. The use of computers and internet for research in legal profession has been increased by the process of globalization whereby technology is being improved and transferred worldwide. Although the legal profession may not be impacted directly by globalization, it affects national economies, education systems, technology and politics, all of which are created through legal systems as guided by legal professionals (Winter & May, 2007). Therefore it is important that the attitude of the lawyers be positive towards the process of globalization so as to remain in business.
The process of globalization has put a lot of pressure to business countries to accept changing institutional processes which go beyond borders. This means that the pressure of globalization is causing a lot of changes which demand that legal structures be adjusted to go in line with the new structures. The changing structures in turn confront lawyers with new issues and burdens with the alteration of their resources as well as their normal strategic options. As a result lawyers are facing several challenges and opportunities because the new structures are fundamentally different from the old structures. The investigation on how lawyers have responded to the globalization process has been used to compare with other research on legal professions to arrive at a sound conclusion on effects of globalization of legal profession (Sarat & Scheingold, 2001).
It cannot be denied that globalization changes the entire society and countries are left with no choice but to adjust their constitutions, justice systems as well as their ways of practicing law. The global products and services are dynamic calling for a legal system that recognizes the dynamism and protects the property rights. The emerging markets require standardized legal services because a lot of partnerships, mergers as well as ventures require that the parties involved use common legal structures to carry out their businesses agreements. The individual country's legal structures may have to be adjusted to pave way for the internationally accepted legal practices (Drolshammer & Pfeifer, 2001). The legal compliance with the international law will ensure that the product or service of a particular country can penetrate into other countries and create new markets.
The globalization is directly affecting the knowledge and training of lawyers with the American legal system being among the most influential (Langer, 2004). The legal education in the United States is being propagated across the world courtesy of globalization and acceptance by foreign lawyers to learn foreign legal system and practicing their legal systems using the same. This is shown by the extent to which international business law has utilized American legal concepts though training and education. Moreover, the western legal traditions have been passed through globalization and accepted through education (Therborn & Khondker, 2006). Therefore there is a strong relationship between the knowledge of the lawyers and the changes in the global legal structures.
The globalization is sweeping through the entire globe and as such no country would desire to be left out of the growing benefits. Therefore it can only be possible that its effects in the legal profession are being experienced in the entire globe. However, there has been opposition to the fact that globalization can affect the legal system. This is because the legal profession has refused to accept that factors that go beyond the national community may influence the national legal system. Moreover, there are different legal structures out of segmented global law into criminal law, commercial law, contract law and so on which makes it difficult to monitor the changes (Eaton, 2006). Therefore considering all the literature that has been written on the subject, they indicate that the globalization has actually been transforming the legal profession over time. In fact the globalization forces led to emergence of partnership in legal projects between Europe and United States thus influencing the legal profession (Vermeulen, 2003).
The impact of globalization in the legal system affects the government models as well as the sources of legislation. However, little research has been conducted and written on these effects because of the characteristics of existing legal structures are rigid to changes. There are two explanations as to the slow manifestation of the effects of globalization on the legal profession. The first reason is due to resistance of the legal professionals to accept and acknowledge that the globalization processes exceed the state or national community and may influence national legal processes. The second reason is that of specialization in studies of legal profession into global segmented structures such as criminal law, contract law and commercial law. This mode of segmentation does not take the entire legal profession as a unit and as such it becomes difficult to form an opinion on the general perspective of globalization effects on legal profession. Despite little documented evidence of these effects, it's a fact that globalization as well as the enlargement of international private and public relationships have resulted in delocalization as well as denationalization of legal systems. These developments in legal systems can be forced upon rigid nations and foreign individuals, corporations and groups so as to be allowed to operate within particular regions. Therefore several nations will apply new legal systems so as to remain competitive in the global business industry (Eaton, 2006).
The future effects of globalization on the legal profession are not certain according to Bikson (2003). The relevance of the legal profession depends on the future market demand and supply of legal professionals. This is in turn affected by several factors including the economy and the political decisions made by independent countries. The experts have admitted that it is extremely difficult to predict accurately the supply and demand for legal services. Some of these factors that hinder accurate prediction of the effects of globalization on legal profession include; poor performing economies which reduce corporate demand for legal services, government policies such as regulation and deregulation of international trade, commerce and industries and changes in legal professional standards. Moreover, globalization has produced several institutions that teach legal education resulting in oversupply of legal professionals. This ultimately leads to lack of employment in the industry and the professionals would be seeking only earn a living by doing low quality work for low pay. This has a negative impact on the legal services which will not serve national development policies. There has been research conducted which have concluded that research on future market trends cannot be accurately predicted and suggests that the current issues facing legal profession be solved. Furthermore, research suggests that globalization may produce excess supply of legal professionals who are not equally distributed across the legal segments. For example, excess commercial law experts leaving family law with shortage and so on (Bikson, 2003). Therefore we can generalize that it is not possible to predict exact future effects of globalization on the legal profession.
The globalization trends and the concerns of the labor market for legal professionals have brought about the need for reforms in legal education methods. The diverse needs of the new global era have given rise to some measures that have been adopted to maintain the relevancy of legal profession. The first impact is that of strengthening the training of professional legal skills. This is done by teaching practical legal lessons that applies to the current real life situations. The past had the traditional lecture methods which focused on teaching past knowledge and memorizing which could not be applied by graduates in current legal practice. Thus globalization has brought about the criticism of the old method and encouraged adoption of current teaching methods. In addition, there are changes seen on the universities teaching legal professionals to meet demands of globalization era. These changes include; recruitment of foreign lecturers, developing joint research programs with international colleagues, offering students opportunities to study overseas and training the faculty in foreign universities. Furthermore, schools are emphasizing on training students the legal practical knowledge with the focus on ensuring that they pass the United Nations Judicial Examination and enhancing students' legal research skills. Some schools have also started offering two bachelor degrees on law as well as foreign language to boost their students' legal knowledge in line to the globalization effects (Deguchi & Storme, 2008).
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Some schools have blended a leading-edge innovation to its classical legal education in order to meet the globalization demands in the profession. The globalization has brought about impacts on the economic, political and social lives which have increased the need of a fair and effective legal system. This is because these changes have altered the lawyers' responsibilities and the skills required in training. Therefore the schools have taken upon themselves to be innovative to achieve their goal of ensuring that law graduates are prepared to handle changing economic, social and political environments. Therefore innovation has played a critical role in meeting the globalization demands on legal profession. These innovations include the introduction of new courses of legal studies, concentrations, additional degree programs, centers of excellence and integrated law skills programs. These innovations have been instrumental in creation of opportunities and unique learning in legal schools for graduates to face the globalization impacts head-on (Editors, 2005).
The globalization process has affected the territories of lawyers' operations with several legal firms going international. There has been expansion of large corporate legal firms to achieve global presence and acquire global clientele. This means that the globalization liberalized the lawyers working territories allowing them to work freely across the world and compete without any barriers. This process has brought about competition which forces legal firms to develop innovative strategies on their relationship with clients as well as their international professional colleagues (Heinz, 2005). More importantly to this globalization is that international competition has raised legal practice standards available to their clients. Therefore the globalization has improved the quality of international legal order.
The process of globalization is important in developing not only the international law and individual state law but also the entire legal profession and legal education. The globalization has enabled several countries to exchange legal ideas through shared education systems and laws. The globalization has allowed individual countries to adopt new laws basing on other countries formats. For instance, China developed its laws with the process of globalization when it arose to join world trade organization (WTO). Moreover, the international law has been developed from individual state laws being standardized and applied internationally through globalization. With the legal systems standardization, the legal profession in the entire world has been developed through globalization. Thus the process of globalization is important in the development of entire legal profession (Deguchi & Storme, 2008).
The process of globalization has produced a division of lawyers between those who have broad legal knowledge as well as those who understand only one law (Pérez-Perdomo, 2006). The importance of a lawyer in having a wide legal knowledge is that they can secure legal contracts from several countries through globalization. However, those with little legal knowledge are limited by their own weakness to explore international legal opportunities. This fact has further brought about a huge gap between incomes of lawyers with those having international exposure being paid higher than local lawyers. According to Anderson (2005), the legal profession is no longer regarded as a national term but rather international because the best practices they apply is serving the entire world business.
Furthermore, the process of globalization has given rise to the outsourcing of legal services hence affecting the legal profession. Globalization has made it possible for corporations to seek those countries with cheap legal service in order to outsource and save on their legal costs. This is a great step which has improved several economies which have lower legal costs thus benefiting from outsourcing from developed countries. Also, the legal research programs are being outsourced (Hermann, 2011).