International Alcohol Lawyers Alliance (IALA)

GrayRobinson offers a unique service to the Firm’s international alcohol industry clients, the International Alcohol Lawyers Alliance (IALA). Richard Blau, a partner at GrayRobinson and chair of the firm’s Regulated Product section serves as coordinating counsel for the IALA, a network of independent law firms and compliance professionals working cooperatively and collegially across the globe to fulfill the legal and regulatory needs of the alcohol beverage industry.

As North American counsel for several international alcohol beverage companies, GrayRobinson is uniquely positioned to propose solutions for the global challenges that face industry members operating in multinational markets. These challenges include escalating legal costs, unexpected regulatory compliance risks, inconsistencies in work product and inefficiencies resulting from the use of disparate counsel -- all of which impose greater demands upon industry members at a time when legal budgets are being decreased rather than expanded.

The widely utilized strategy for the management of worldwide counsel is to control costs and oversight of legal services through the in-house legal department. This strategy becomes problematic as the organization grows, because the number of firms needed to represent the organization grows also. Along with additional outside counsel come the variations of billing procedures and formats, languages, management styles, strategies, regulatory challenges and cultural nuances. These variations in turn cause in-house legal departments to spend an increasingly disproportionate amount of time on the administrative management of worldwide counsel instead of focusing on the practice of law and ultimately growing the organization’s bottom line.

GrayRobinson’s solution is the International Alcohol Lawyers Alliance: a group of independent law firms and compliance professionals who work cooperatively and collegially to fulfill international alcohol beverage companies’ legal and regulatory needs across the globe. GrayRobinson’s role as facilitator of the network delivers one-stop management to provide clients with the best and most efficient service.

GrayRobinson assists and supports the IALA in the development and delivery of requested services through a variety of resources that emphasize consistency, efficiency and reliability including the development of a worldwide database and a dedicated alliance administrator. The management of the IALA is provided at no additional cost to clients. Typically, the international legal spend is less than would be spent by either using one large international firm or contracting separately with scores of independent and unrelated service providers.

IALA currently services a broad range of alcohol industry clients, including multinational producers, importers and exporters, as well as indigenous distributors who handle international products for domestic markets. Our professionals deal with import-export law, intellectual property and brand protection, and licensing issues, as well distribution and a broad range of marketing trade practice compliance requirements that are unique to the lawful commercialization of alcohol products.