Whether your law firm is in the AmLaw 100, the UK Magic Circle, a boutique or a solo practice — anywhere in the world – you can build a strong stable of new clients around helping US middle-market companies expand overseas.  Vitally, the US middle market economy is enormous.   A  ‘Middle Market’ company is a firm with sizeable annual revenues, ranging from $50 million to $1 billion USD.  And according to the Middle Market Center – the US middle market, were it a country – would rank as the 4th largest economy in the world.

Overseas markets beckon the US Middle Market

As Chuck Leddy outlined in an article on the National Center for the Middle Market’s website:  “According to a recent survey done by the National Center for the Middle Market, about 60 percent of U.S.-based middle market companies are active outside their national markets. When it comes to future sales growth, that same NCMM survey showed that 82 percent of middle market companies believe a significant portion (more than 20 percent) of their future sales growth will be coming from international markets. Additionally, the U.S. government has begun a policy of aggressively supporting export-led growth, with the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports in a five-year timeframe.”

US Middle Market C-Suite executives want and need help to expand overseas

I interviewed Paul Stukel, Founder & CEO of President & CEO Magazine just before he served as Master of Ceremonies for the President & CEO 2012 Focus on the Middle Market Conference held in Washington, DC on September 25th, 2012.  In that interview, Stukel stated that: “ [US] mid-market executives are incredibly focused.  They’re so focused that they often do not have time to focus on some of the massive opportunities [that exist for them] overseas.  Mid-market [corporate management teams] don’t have huge staffs but have the same challenges of larger companies.”

What can your law firm do to capture US Middle Market corporate clients?

Any law firm in the world – whether based in the US or any market overseas, and of any size – can build a client base around meeting the needs of US Middle Market C-Suite executives.  These executives, as I have outlined above, are desirous of expanding overseas, but often don’t have the time to devote to searching out international opportunities.

Lawyers around the world can secure these companies as clients by taking a proactive business development posture that seeks to serve as a comprehensive resource for these companies in specific overseas markets around specific commercial opportunities in those markets.  Then proactively engaging with these executives until you’ve been engaged to assist.

Make no mistake: It’s hard work, requires a sophisticated legal business development initiative to be put in place and staffed appropriately, in order for it to succeed.  What’s clear is this:  In the case of the US Middle Market – lawyers around the world have a clear opportunity to build a strong client base around direct, well-planned engagement with a focused universe of superb potential clients that happen to represent an economy the size of the 4th largest in the world.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal. An independent writer & editor, he's the author of: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets (Ark Group 2014).

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