Becoming an ALFA International Member Firm

High-quality member firms are the backbone of ALFA International.

Becoming an ALFA International firm is a rigorous invitation-only process, and the expectation for excellence never ends. To maintain one’s status as an ALFA International member, firms must regularly demonstrate excellence across all key performance indicators (KPIs) initially used to evaluate their admission to the network. ALFA International continually reviews the KPIs of existing firms and continuously searches for other quality firms to join the organization.   

ALFA International takes great pride in the evaluation and auditing process utilized when recruiting a new member firm. Search Committees, comprised of the ALFA International executive officer and a small group of ALFA International lawyers familiar with the jurisdiction, are appointed for each sought-after jurisdiction. 

In developing a list of potential candidates, the Search Committee receives input from current member firms with experience in the jurisdiction, seeks recommendations from ALFA International clients doing business there and consults trade publications, market surveys and other relevant data. Each firm is carefully evaluated, and numerous factors are considered, such as:

From the Search Committee’s research, a shortlist of top candidates is assembled. Search Committee members visit each interested candidate’s office, informing them of membership expectations while interviewing key lawyers and hearing presentations from the firm’s primary practice groups.

Candidate firms seeking membership must complete a comprehensive application. All relevant information gathered throughout the process is shared with the ALFA International Membership Committee (MC). Two-thirds of the MC must vote in favor of admission for the application to advance to the ALFA International Board of Directors (BOD). If BOD subsequently votes to approve the application, the candidate firm is offered an ALFA International membership.

Success Stories

The following are examples of how ALFA International law firms benefit from membership in our global legal network.

Cowell Clarke, the ALFA International member in Sydney and Adelaide, Australia, worked with ALFA International member firms in Hong Kong, London and Germany to establish a business with operations based in Hong Kong. The company develops and manufactures a unique non-alcoholic sparkling wine produced in Germany, with a European distribution center in London. The four ALFA International firms worked seamlessly to assist the client in setting up the business, negotiating and finalizing manufacturing and distribution arrangements, establishing banking relationships, obtaining trademark registrations and navigating the application of tax laws in the four jurisdictions.  With some hurdles to be jumped and some administrative blockages to be cleared, the ALFA International firms worked together with the client, got the job done, and the business has grown and become very successful.

One of Cowell Clarke’s Australian-based clients that conduct business in many countries needed fast advice regarding employment issues in Barbados, Peru and Ghana. Cowell Clarke contacted one of its ALFA International colleagues in each of those jurisdictions and got the required advice speedily and without fuss. Cowell Clarke’s client was delighted with the efficiency and cost-effectiveness with which the required solutions were provided.

An Ohio-based owner and manager of shopping centers was invited to an ALFA International conference by Hawkins Parnell, the ALFA International member firm in Atlanta that was already handling several matters for the company.

Throughout the meeting, the client made numerous connections with other lawyers and representatives from similarly situated companies. Within two weeks, the client referred cases to ALFA International firms in multiple states and entered serious negotiations with ALFA International counsel in foreign countries to handle pending and evolving matters in those venues.

For many years, ALFA International’s member firm in Germany, Teifenbacher, has represented one of the largest leasing companies in Germany. The client is a subsidiary of one of the major German banks. Tiefenbacher successfully referred this international, first-class client to the ALFA International member firms in Spain, Romania and Brazil.

As a result of the excellent work the respective ALFA International firms provided the client, permanent and highly beneficial business relationships between the client and the member firms in Spain and Romania have been established. There is also a high probability of furthering the business relationship with ALFA International’s Brazil firm and other international firms. Tiefenbacher was very happy to rely on the ALFA International network to provide its first-class client with high-quality legal services.