The Influence of strategic alliances on competitiveness of internationally ranked law firms in Kenya
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Law firms, just like other forms of for-profit legal entities, operate with the aim of maximizing profits. Law firms have used various strategies to achieve this goal, in particular and the focus of this study, entering into strategic alliances with foreign law firms with the intention of entering into new markets, increasing market power, acquisition of skills and for strategic renewal. As a result of adopting these strategic alliances, certain law firms have improved their competitiveness against other players in the market for legal services. Law firms in Kenya are also adopting the strategy of entering into strategic alliances with foreign law firms to enhance their competitiveness. The study evaluated the types of strategic alliances that law firms in Kenya are entering into and analyzed how these alliances influence their competitiveness. The research was guided by the resource based theory because of the use of strategic alliances to access valuable resources from the other firms. A quantitative research design was used through a questionnaire to collect primary data while secondary data in the form of the position held by the various law firms in global legal ranking publications was also collected. A purposive sampling technique was used in which the targeted population for the study was a total of 16 law firms listed on the following global legal ranking websites: IFLR1000; Chambers and Partners; and Legal 500. Considering the size of the population, data was collected from the entire population. Descriptive as well as inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. In particular, to test the strength of relationships between variables, a Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (Spearman’s rho) was carried out. The study found that law firms in Kenya are entering into Ad Hoc Referral, Best Friends and Swiss Verein forms of strategic alliances with foreign law firms. Of the three strategic alliance models, the Swiss Verein model had the greatest influence in bringing about a positive increase in competitiveness and access to new markets and opportunities is the key resource driving competitiveness.. The study suggests that future research considers using a longitudinal research design and using financial measures of competitiveness.