How will Brexit affect US and global business?

Law firms and business monitoring Dec 11 vote

UK flag

March 29, 2019 is Brexit day, and as time marches toward that date, the business and legal prognostications are starting to pile up, along with the global headlines.

LAC Group does not have the political expertise to make Brexit predictions; however, we are experts in finding, monitoring and managing the most reliable, trustworthy news and information that enables our clients to make timely informed decisions that are optimized for their organization.

We provide enhanced research and intelligence support, helping multinational law firms and corporations monitor Brexit news, legal and regulatory changes and other outcomes. Our flexible, managed service model is a perfect fit for this unique situation.

Current Brexit status

Regarding news, the concerns and headlines are based on an upcoming vote that takes place on December 11, when the UK Parliament approves or rejects Prime Minister Theresa May‘s Brexit deal that sets out the terms of the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement from the European Union and the framework for the future relationship between the UK and EU.

If approved, progress continues toward Britain leaving the European Union on March 29; if rejected, it’s more uncertainty.

As of this posting:

  • European Union leaders have endorsed Theresa May’s Brexit plan.
  • In a landmark vote on Tuesday, December 4, the UK government was found in contempt of parliament, resulting in the decision to publish the legal advice it received regarding May’s plan.
  • The December 11 vote is expected to be tight.

What does Brexit mean for the US and the rest of the world?

While the biggest impact of Brexit will be felt in the UK and Europe, in today’s global economy, it will have ramifications in the United States and around the world. Burges Salmon LLP, one of the 50 largest law firms in the UK, offers the following eight ways Brexit will affect businesses in the UK. Many of them also apply directly or indirectly to companies in the US and beyond:

  1. A number of marketplace and commercial issues disrupting labor, currency, trade and supply chains.
  2. Regulatory and legal uncertainty as new UK laws and trade agreements replace EU laws and agreements.
  3. Supply chain issues affected by rules and requirements around tariffs and country of origin.
  4. Border issues for companies that deal with and depend on cross-border transit.
  5. Compliance with future tariff and trade requirements for importers and exporters facing new and additional administrative hurdles and tariffs.
  6. Staff and employment requirements may change.
  7. EU citizens working in the UK and UK citizens working abroad may face additional requirements for work, residence and travel.
  8. EU funding of UK initiatives could change or end altogether.
  9. Issues around brand names, trade marks and other rights.

Source: Burges Salmon LLP

As to the effect a possible “no deal” scenario would have on law firms, Thomson Reuters (the UK-Ireland legal team) has published a report entitled, ‘How Brexit will impact law firms: Catalyst or Catastrophe?,’ in partnership with The Lawyer. In their survey of over 300 firm partners in the UK and Europe about the impact of a worse case ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, primarily UK law firms said that they expect to see a long-term decline in work if this happens.

The report addresses workload impacts, litigation and dispute resolution and the future of the legal and commercial landscape for UK and European businesses.

As to whether or not firms have begun their preliminary planning for Brexit, here’s the data on those that have taken some form of action already:

  • 68% of European firms overall.
  • 92% of firms in Germany.
  • 67% of firms in the UK.

As leaders in knowledge and information services to law firms, corporations and other entities, we anticipate more Brexit questions and requests for research support in the coming months and years.

LAC Group presence in the UK

LAC Group has teams based in the UK with additional support coming from our US staff and resources. We serve many British law firms, government libraries and other entities that rely on our capabilities in knowledge management, business research, legal and regulatory research and other information services.

LAC Group can’t and won’t make Brexit predictions, but we will do our best to monitor the news, information and outcomes to ensure our clients and the markets we serve can make the best decisions and take appropriate action. 

Brexit monitoring for your clients and business needs

If your firm or company anticipates the need for additional research and information support related to Brexit and coming changes in the UK and EU, contact us.