Relational knowledge networks in transnational law firms.
For geographers, debates surrounding the knowledge economy have reinvigorated interest in the geographies of learning and knowledge production. Particularly topical are discussions of the possibility of spatially stretched (global) learning, something especially relevant to professional service firms where the production and management of knowledge across transnational organizational networks is essential. Taking this as its starting point, the paper explores the way knowledge is produced and circulated in transnational legal professional service firms. Drawing on the ideas of relational economic geography to analyse original empirical material, it highlights the way relational networks are socially constructed to allow learning to be stretched across space. The paper then goes on to identify the â��politicsâ�� of inclusion in these networks and the exclusivity of membership. It also highlights the geographies of power that influence the nature and affect of the knowledge produced and circulated. It does this by examining the role of relational knowledge networks in the â��Americanizationâ�� of legal practice in Europe and the impacts of such changes on national institutional and regulatory contexts. It is, therefore, argued that transnational corporate networks need to be viewed as heterogeneous and â��embedded spaces of social practiceâ��. It is shown that studying the actors and their interactions across relational networks is vital to fully understand how global relational forms are constructed and to understand their structuring effects on the global economy.