XI Annual Conference of the IBA "Law Firm Management"

15 Декабря 2017  XI Annual Conference of the IBA "Law Firm Management"

On December 1, 2017, the XI Annual Conference of the IBA "Law Firm Management" was held at the Marriott Hotel in Moscow. The conference was organized by the IBA Committee on the law firm management and the European Regional Forum IBA.

The conference was opened by Martin Solc, President of the International Bar Association (IBA), Founding Partner, Kocián Šolc Balaštík, Czech Republic Martin Solc expressed his gratitude for the organization of the Conference, and also commented the general state of the Russian legal market. Martin also noted that the legal community is now awaiting for many of the challenges of our time, that lawyers should have Many skills and work to improve the lives of societies and nations.

The welcome word was also given to Yury Pilipenko, Senior Partner, Law Firm YUST, President of the Federal Chamber of lawyers of Russian Federation, Russia Yury explained that the Russian market for legal services is becoming more turbulent, the number of applications to lawyers is increasing, but their cost is declining. Yury also commented that now there is a small ideological confrontation between proponents of the idea that the bar should be a closed community, where exists the issuance if permits and licences, and on the other hand between those who believed that the legal profession and the bar must be open to enter and there is no need to regulate the area unnecessarily. Yury commented that the federal Chamber of Lawyers does not agree that additional accreditations should be established for lawyers for the purpose of being able to be a representative in a Court, that such restrictions would result in the degradation of the profession. Yury said that, as the community, the Russian legal community could work together to solve problems and move towards progress.

The first session of the Conference focused on the state of the legal market to date, the ratio of Russian and foreign law firms in Russia. The name of the first session was "Are national law firms getting a bigger piece of a pie in the region?"

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The moderators of the first session were Vassily Rudomino, Senior Partner, ALRUD Law Firm, Moscow; IBA Council Member, Federal Chamber of Lawyers of the Russian Federation, Russia and Norman Clark, Managing Partner, Walker Clark, USA

Norman Clark noted that the legal services market in Russia had 25 years of development and asked the audience: Which piece of cake (part of the market) do russian companies want to take?

Vladislav Zabrodin, Managing Partner, Capital Legal Services, Russia, highlighted the problems and trends in the Russian market for juridical services such as: The founder partner - a model of orienteering at one partner, when companies do not become large companies; lack of consolidation; Reduction in the market share of foreign companies and an increase in the market share of Russian companies.

Sergei Voitishkin, Managing Partner, Baker & McKeznie CIS, Russia on moderators' question if the brand is important for work replied that he does not consider the company as an international, as the company wants to be the top company in Russia in high-margin industries, that even if you look at the ratio of lawyers, now among 120 lawyers, only 5 of them would be the foreigners. That there are also advantages of local companies for business in the Russia such as: Lower price, criminal law is not always an attractive area for foreign companies, so local companies have an advantage, local companies also work efficiently with regulators and high-margin industries.

Saniya Perzadayeva, Managing partner, Unicase, Kazakhstan, commented that she is not agree that the price is the advantage of local firms, that in her B2B sector, national firms could operate in the same price category as international ones. Saniya noted that international firms had greater access to innovation, which is lagging behind in national firms.

Irina Narysheva, Partner, KPMG, Russia also commented that, since 2009, the market has become more stable, large companies that are the part of the "Magic Circle", have left the market. Irina also added that local firms do not have a "referral", when the international company has a system of distribution of different cases among the countries that has a very positive impact on business.

Valery Zinchenko, Managing Partner, Pen & Paper, Russia, also commented on the discussion and added that local companies still have to build quality standards, standards such as equal access to employment of different groups and nationalities, also many big international customers pay attention to the company's presence in ratings.

Vasily Rudomino, moderator of the session, also suggested that regardless of ratings, customers often come to the company, as quite frequently a lot of international companies have no offices in Moscow, and the quality that they provide can also be high.

Yury Pugach, Partner, Eversheds Sutherland, Russia said that the cake (share) of the law market is becoming smaller, but Russian firms are beginning to occupy the biggest part of it. That, for now, Russian companies still cannot compete fully, if the customer contracts with an international company, the whole structure of the company is responsible for it, but if the customer concludes contracts with a local small company, the responsibility lies on its personal decisions.

The session also discussed the following questions: "How did sanctions influence the market", "How do we find the talents in the company", "What are the competitive advantages of the companies"?

The second session of the Conference was divided into two halls, two parallel sessions, the different topics were discussed in each hall: The discussion in the first hall was: How to remain valuable, while the market  forces to become efficient and cheaper?

The moderators of the session were: Dr. Hermann Knott, Partner, Andersen Tax & Legal, Germany, and Tatiana Kamenskaya, Managing Partner, Kamenskaya & Partners, Russia.

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Andrey Dontsov, Partner, White & Case, Russia, commented that outside lawyers are decreasing, that the company always tries to ask, "What are we valuable for?" and "What can we give?" but Andrey also said that there is a visible pressure in "battle" for a customer.

Igor Gerber, Moscow office managing partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP,Russia, expressed the opinion that the market is declining, the number of people (lawyers) is increasing, herewith the business conflicts and competition are becoming larger. Igor noted that customer trust plays a major role, a company that has long been on the market, and is trying to innovate, invest in people, the company uses a single-window approach, which means that a customer can contact one manager on all the issues. Igor also explained that his company is trying to focus customers on the main issues while working with them.

Alexander Zabeyda, Managing Partner, Zabeyda & partners, Russia, said that the company is trying to use high technology and innovation to be effective, moreover, to be able to compete it is important to use the innovation technologies and implement them into business.

The discussion of the second room of the second session was on the topic: "How to Provide a Motivating Environment for Associates?" The moderators of the session were Nataliya Anferova, Partner, Legal Stratagency GmbH, Germany, and Abe J. Schear, Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory, Co-chair of IBA Law Firm Management Committee, USA.

The work of this session was in the format of a "World café", when several round tables discuss the theme and, as a result, the conclusions are announced and discussed in public. This format has made it possible for all participants to know each other closer and to share their experiences.

The table-hosts of the "World Café" gave the subjects for the discussion and moderation them on each round table

The table-hosts were: 

Valikhan Shaikenov, Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution, AEQUITAS Law Firm, Republic of Kazakhstan

Nina Boer, Managing Partner, NB Legal Agency, Russia

Zoya Ilyenka, Lawyer, managing the regional department of CIS and Eastern Europe , 1969 Abogados y Economistas, Spain

Irina Fast, Managing Partner, Civil Compensations, Russia

Sergey Saveliev, Partner, Saveliev, Batanov and Partners, Russia

Alexander Ermolenko, Partner, FBK Legal, Ph.D. in Law, Russia

Andrey Zelenin, Managing Partner, Lidings, Russia

Tatyana Goncharova, Managing partner, LexFrof, Russia 

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The main conclusions from the "World Café" discussions were: Motivation plays a huge role, material rewards are important, the non-material promotion also has a great importance: The opportunity of the personal development, rotation, growth, opportunity to participate in interesting projects, internships for young professionals, the individual approach of each employee is necessary, companies can create different activities to develop skills, plays a role in creating motivation - the ability to participate in the management of a company, the ability to feel the possession to a large company, and also the balance of personal life and work.

The third part of the conference was also held in the form of the parallel discussions: The first room was devoted to the discussion: "Modern Marketing of Professional  Services: Consequences for Lawyers". The moderators of the session were: Aku Sorainen, Senior Partner, SORAINEN, Estonia and Mikhail Uspenskiy, Partner, KIAP, Russia.

Irina Nikitina, Strategy & Growth Consultant, Bulgaria, presented material where she identified and divided the marketing areas for which the whole company is responsible: management, marketing, cross- and co-sales, and also identified the company's area of partners' responsibility: personal brand, networking, customer relationship, innovation.

Glenn Colleeny, Partner, Dentons, Russia described the company's marketing strategy, described the term "digital immigrant," that technology plays a major role in marketing. He talked about LinkedIn and the global Refferrals program when offices around the world share customers, contacts and experiences.

Egor Batanov, Managing partner, Saveliev, Batanov & Partners, Russia, commented that there cannot me any marketing from zero, that every lawyer and every company creates marketing, including the first customer ever marking his work. Described the company's experience of promoting services: website, business cards, internal positioning, system of values, Egor also described the creation of a company's logo.

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Yuliy Tay, Managing partner, Bartolius Law  Firm, Russia said that a very small portion of the budget is devoted to marketing, that only the quality of work and the won cases are good marketing instruments, that there is already a well-established base of customers and that there is no need PR a company, however the importance of marketing, especially young companies, is not arguable.

The second part of the third session was also in the format of the "World Café", where participants could communicate and share their views, moderators of the session were: Stephen Denyer, Director of Strategic Relationships,  The Law Society of England & Wales, UK. and Denis Kachkin, Managing Partner, Kachkin & Partners, Russia The topic of the discussion was "Abdication and Procrastination: when partners do  not want to manage or lead the firm".

The table hosts were: 

Inna Vavilova, Managing Partner, "Prime Advice" Consulting Group, Russia,

Oya Deniz Kavame, Founding Partner, "Kavame law firm", Turkey, 

Maxim Burman, Psychologist for lawyers, Russia,

Dmitriy Samigullin, Managing partner, RBL Law Office | GRATA International, Russia

Julia Kurilo, Partner, Law Association "SK Group", Ukraine.

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The conclusions of the session: A legal partner must have a high level of self-management, need to learn non-stop, use external communications, do not be afraid to ask colleagues for help (it is a great art), it is necessary to attend trainings not only in the legal field, but also made to develop the qualities of a manager, there were a lot of entertaining information for every lawyer and manager.

The fourth session was devoted to the question of: "What makes a Good Management Decision?". The moderators of the session were Alexander Khvoshchinskiy, Expert, LS Institute, Germany, and Klaus Pfeifer, Head of Legal Russia/CIS, Thomson Reuters Moscow, Russia.

Vasilisa Strizh, Managing Partner, Moscow Office, Morgan Lewis, Russia, said that there are several important factors for the Morgan Lewis company: the rules, the ethical principles and a loyalty to a customer. The important question is "who is the beneficiary?", sometimes ethical principles do not allow a decision to be made, often the customer does not want to disclose all the details of a transaction, while principle of transparency plays a key role . Honesty and openness with the client is the most important thing.

Dima Gadomsky, CEO Axon Partners, Ukraine, also explained that he relies on several principles in decision-making: "People are more important than the process," this principle enables a lawyer to get out of the process, work on an interesting project for him. The second principle "Never work with a**holes", this informal principle also influences work and decision-making.

Jan Kohout, Partner,  PRK Partners, Czech Republic, described his company, that there are 13 partners, and it is important to reach agreement if even one partner disagrees with the solution, the company searches for compromises, Jan stressed that a solution must be found so that all partners are satisfied.

Alexei Kasatkin, Atorney-at-Law, Senior partner, ZKS, Russia, spoke about the company's decision-making principles, that it is important for them to have a microclimate in the company, that partners would agree with the solutions, but noted the importance of formal rules, the signing of a partnership contract.

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Dmitry Nikiforov, Managing Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton, Russia, shared his experience in making decisions, Dimitry explained that large companies have a system and decision-making structure, and if the partner agrees to a certain type of management, he also agrees to this type of decision-making, Dmitry also stressed that a lot depends on national psychology, that earlier in Russia there was more authoritarian style of management, but the trend is changing.

The event finished with the reception, where all participants were able to communicate and share experience, knowledge and communication.

Follow the link for the full photoreport of the event: https://yadi.sk/d/4hP7hNYF3QLELw

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