The 21st Century International Lawyer
In an echo of the sixties, the economic and financial crisis has given fresh impetus to companies and professionals seeking new pastures further afield.
Recent years have seen professionals (whether qualified or otherwise) flock overseas, whether at their own initiative or at the instance of their employers. This state of affairs, ever more widespread, has made the demand for international legal advice the order of the day at law firms.
What are the labor regimes in force abroad? Do workers have the same rights as back home in Spain? Does this depend on the country of residence? Does social security run along similar lines? Will workers maintain the rights accrued on their return to Spain? Will regard be had to time worked abroad in terms of unemployment and retirement benefits? If I want to hire a worker abroad, do I have to form a company in that country? Is it in my best interests to hire local staff or should I second employees from Spain? These are just some of the queries inundating the inboxes of lawyers in the 21st century.
The internationalization of companies and the flow of workers have become a key 21st century phenomenon.
Against this backdrop, a firm grasp of the legislation passed by Parliament or the way such laws are interpreted by the Supreme Court and other courts of law is no longer enough in order to cater to the needs of a globalized world.
Any lawyer looking to develop a professional career in this brave new world will have no choice but to dust off their volumes of International Law and brush up on the landmark Treaty of Rome and the WTO Treaties, to analyze the social security-related EU Regulations and bilateral treaties and to get to grips with the latest ECJ judgments.
Until such time as this process the globalization brings about (as it in all likelihood will) the unification of legal systems in a bid to guarantee legal certainty for those looking to work beyond their home countries, the international presence of legal firms emerges as a key competitive advantage when it comes to ensuring proper legal support.
Garrigues Labor and Employment Department