Exploring Cross-Border Teamwork in Business Law

In today's networked world, the ability to work in teams across borders is a key issue for business lawyers. As businesses, legal issues cross national borders and require business lawyers from different countries to work together. In this blog, I delve into the opportunities and challenges I have seen in cross-border teamwork at Fondia.

With technological tools such as video conferencing and project management tools, the threshold for cross-border collaboration is lower than ever. It is often easy and cost-effective to use lawyers from different countries.

Cross-border teamwork brings forth many possibilities. First, cross-border work allows for a diversity of expertise and perspectives to be brought together. When professionals from different countries work together, they bring together their unique knowledge and insights. This diversity of approaches often leads to a comprehensive and holistic legal understanding that can address complex and multinational legal issues.

Second, cross-border cooperation offers the opportunity to expand our network of clients and opportunities. By crossing geographical boundaries, we can reach new markets and create wider professional connections. With a wider reach, we can provide services to our internationally oriented clients, facilitate their business, and mitigate the legal risks associated with cross-border activities. Consider, for example, a Finnish client whose legal needs are already met in Finland, but who needs legal help when expanding their business across the Baltic Sea. With for example my knowledge of the client's business in Finland and the expertise of Swedish and Baltic colleagues, it is easy for me to connect the client with colleagues to solve the client's problems.

Third, cross-border teamwork increases cultural intelligence. Professionals working together across borders get to know different legal systems and customs, which is interesting for lawyers. Cross-border cooperation is also a convenient way to learn and maintain language skills. For example, I can maintain my Swedish skills through discussions with Swedish colleagues and by familiarizing myself with Swedish legal sources. At the same time, the teamwork supplies a great insight into common legal principles, such as EU sustainability regulation and international standards, which can be interpreted differently in different countries. This exposure contributes to a better understanding, appreciation of cultural nuances and awareness of each other's own prejudices and assumptions. It also fosters a global mindset, which is crucial in the interconnected world.

Finally, it is simply fun to work with colleagues from different countries. Nothing reinforces the experience of working together as much as working together (in addition to partying together, of course).

Cross-border work can also challenge

As noted, cross-border teamwork offers many opportunities but is not without its challenges.

An obvious challenge is the complexity of legal systems. Each country has its own laws, practices, and precedents, which can lead to confusion and conflict. Lawyers involved in cross-border cooperation need to understand these differences. Cross-border work requires considerable time and effort in research and coordination to ensure consistency and accuracy of advice.

The second challenge relates to communication. Effective communication is essential for successful cross-border teamwork. Although remote tools are convenient, they are challenging for some tasks, such as creating new understanding. Even more than when working with a colleague sitting next to you, you need to invest in clarity of division of labour and consistency of working methods to bridge these gaps effectively. Scheduling meetings, coordinating deadlines, and managing workflow across borders also requires careful planning, flexibility, and time.

A final challenge, stemming from the above-mentioned challenges, is the difficulty of predicting and keeping a budget for a cross-border project. In summary, cross-border teamwork offers huge opportunities for lawyers. It builds diverse expertise, expands client networks, and promotes cultural intelligence, thus enabling comprehensive legal solutions in a globalized world. However, challenges such as legal complexity and communication issues need to be tackled skillfully for cross-border cooperation to succeed. By seizing these opportunities and proactively addressing challenges, we can provide our clients with exceptional cross-border services.

Get to know previous FondiaWorks blog posts