Family firms in emerging markets – a perspective from the Middle East

Family firms in emerging markets – a perspective from the Middle East

The Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania has recently published a very interesting article "Family Firms in the Middle East:  The New Rules of Engagement."

A significant number of Walker Clark clients are "family" law firms in emerging legal markets. We have observed how the strategic management of such a law firm sometimes requires a thoughtful balance between:

  • A compelling business need to complete a transition from what has been essentially a "family business" to a modern "institutional" law firm; and
  • The continuing strengths provided by close family relationships, "traditional" workplace values, and the visibility and reputation of the family in the legal market and business community.

The Wharton article points out several important changes that family businesses in the Middle East are now undertaking.

  • Creation and documentation of a formal system of governance, to replace informal ad hoc decision-making by family members
  • Introduction of contemporary management structures, such as management boards, audit boards, and independent advisory boards
  • A better definition of the relationship between the family and the business, with a clear segregation of ownership of the business from the operation and management of it

These changes are similar to those that Walker Clark, LLC, has helped family law firms to introduce and manage in emerging legal markets in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. If you practice in a family law firm, the Wharton article could be quick, but interesting and potentially valuable, reading for you and your colleagues.

To read more, visit the Walker Clark Worldview Blog.