Dear WSG Members,
I am extremely honored to be the WSG Chairman for 2017 - 2018 and look forward to an exciting year serving the organization.
I would like to express my gratitude to the Chairman Emeritus, Larry Pascal of Haynes and Boone, for his dedication and hard work this past year as Chairman. During his tenure as Chairman WSG continued to mature and strengthen as an organization. Among other accomplishments during the past year: (a) we added new law firm members in Ohio, Norway and California, and new accounting firm members in Texas and Costa Rica, (b) we began the implementation of an important effort to increase our brand awareness including in particular our partnership with Bloomberg and our first annual forum held in New York with Bloomberg in June 2017. I know Larry will continue to be a great supporter of WSG as Chairman Emeritus, and we are grateful for his commitment and significant contributions to WSG.
During my term as Chairman, I intend to focus on four main things. The first is to continue the efforts to recruit both law firm members and non-law firm members. The second thing will be to continue the efforts to increase brand awareness, building on the progress made in the past few years. My third priority is to develop a more client focused approach to business development opportunities for WSG members. Together with the staff, the board will devise suggestions on approaches to improve WSG's presence with potential clients. My fourth priority is to work on preparing a long-term stable future for WSG. While, the organization's stability is firm, it is important to prepare a plan for the future and this is an effort that really began with our strategic plan initiative several years ago and will continue for a number of years.
WSG is well positioned to be an important global voice in connection with global commerce, armed with over 19,000 professionals from over 130 member firms in over 145 jurisdictions around the world. During my term, I intend to continue to support and promote increasing the level of collaboration between member firms, whether in the form of referrals, collaboration on client projects, preparation of articles, exchange of younger associates between member firms and many other opportunities. To this end, the WSG website continues to improve and evolve, and is a great platform to distribute content from your firm. I encourage you to submit your articles, white papers and press releases to WSG for enhanced coverage. Our WSG staff is well positioned to spot trends and highlight the specialized knowledge of our member firms.
Finally, we need your help to better capture the sizeable collaboration among member firms around the world. WSG has a convenient on-line Referral Tracker on its site and it takes very little time to record your deals, litigation and other forms of collaboration with member firms. This improved data will not only help us with enhanced branding, but also with recruiting top rated professional firms to join our network who are obviously interested in the level of referrals between firms. Mindful that leadership must come from the top, I have asked our WSG board of directors to use the Referral Tracker in anticipation of every board meeting and I am shooting for 100% board participation by the end of my term among the member firms represented on the board.
WSG is already busily planning new events for this year, including our regional events, luncheons and receptions at other conferences and new online initiatives. Our 2017 annual meeting held in Rome, Italy was a tremendous success. In particular, I want to thank our Italian member firm Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners for all of their efforts to make the event such a success. We also recently had a very successful networking event in conjunction with the IBA meeting in Sydney Australia in October.
I look forward to seeing you throughout the course of this year. I am always eager to receive your input on how we might improve the network so please feel free to contact me with your thoughts.
Mark J. Harty
World Services Group