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Reff & Associates SCA

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Alexandru Reff, Managing partner

Alexandru Reff, Managing partner of Reff & Asociates SCA, discusses how the firm is adapting to clients' changing needs.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Reff & Associates from your competitors?

As a full-service business law firm, Reff & Associates offers large local and multinational investors high-quality legal services powered by a commercial and pragmatic approach. Our integrated solutions can leverage the multidisciplinary expertise of Deloitte colleagues specializing in tax, finance or business consulting.

One of the fastest growing law firms in the local market, our main strength is our team of over 55 experienced lawyers and paralegals who have significant technical skills as well as the ability to coordinate large-scale legal projects for high-profile clients. We focus on developing solutions that meet legal as well as business objectives.

As a member of Deloitte Legal, we are part of an international legal network of firms working together seamlessly, across borders, in over 70 countries. Our network offers unique access to an innovative platform for knowledge sharing, to facilitate cross-border projects.

Reff & Associates handles some of the largest transactions in Romania (including seven of the largest 25 M&A deals in 2014 and three of the top 10 property transactions in Central Europe in 2014), and has been engaged on significant matters involving risk management, compliance and litigation.

Which practices in your member firm do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Judging by recent developments in the market, it is likely that our tax litigation practice will continue to grow at a fast pace. We will continue to strengthen our team with new talent, which is currently one of the strongest in the market, handling a large volume of work with notable success. Significant changes to local fiscal legislation, combined with a sharp rise in tax inspections, will result in more challenges to revenue authority decisions.

We also see good traction in our real estate, banking and finance, and M&A practices, the pillars of our transaction-based business, with volume increasing, which is why we have been hiring at various levels in each of these practices. Our emerging Business Crime legal practice holds great promise, and is likely to provide significant value to clients. Our ability to deliver integrated solutions that combine legal skills with tax, risk and finance points of view uniquely positions us to serve clients in this area.

What is the main change you have made in your firm that will benefit clients?

We are trying to improve constantly at various levels – there is not a singular change that drives our success. However, a critical factor is having the best talent. In the last year, we have added eminent, senior professionals to our teams in several practice areas, including litigation, real estate, banking and business crime.

How is technology changing the way you interact with your clients and the services you can provide them?

We have noticed a clear shift in our clients’ preferences towards electronic communication, and their rising interest in digital tools and resources, including apps that allow for closer interaction, in real time. Our clients use social media for business purposes, and want to similarly engage with us. We have responded with seminars, workshops and webinars delivered with the assistance of digital tools and channels.

Technology is making us more efficient, giving us the ability to respond quickly to our clients’ needs. Digital knowledge management tools allow us to deliver better results for clients, to gain and share knowledge throughout our network, and connect us to very specialized information or expertise available in other firms in the Deloitte Legal network.

The firm uses collaborative platforms which allow instant and secure document sharing, an approach to working which is transforming our culture and has increased dramatically over the past three years.

Can you give us a practical example of how you helped a client add value to their business?

Our work has played an integral role in driving innovation. For example, our banking and finance team helped a US client implement a peer-to-peer lending platform, the first in the local market and a new concept in Europe. This required a thorough legal analysis, highlighting potential regulatory risks as well as development of possible legal and structuring solutions.

Our structure, which allows us to execute engagements with speed where required, can give our clients a tremendous commercial advantage. The acquisition of Promenada Mall, a EUR 148 million transaction, was completed in just six weeks, which helped our client secure the deal in a very competitive environment. On many other occasions, speed of execution on the legal side has facilitated successful transactions.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

We have been growing fast for the last six years and are now one of the largest eight law firms in Romania (by headcount). We have a strong foundation based on well-structured service lines, a broad client portfolio and a strong reputation.

We see growth continuing on a platform which was never stronger: the well-structured service lines, the client portfolio and reputation, the close integration with Deloitte fiscal, risk, financial advisory and consulting practices, and the global network. We see ourselves as a progressive firm responding to present-day talent aspirations and to market expectations that law is part of integrated business solutions. In three years’ time, we should be a team of 70-80 lawyers, one of the largest in the country, innovating in terms of offerings, driving efficiency and profitability through automation of processes and leveraging multidisciplinary and global integration as part of Deloitte Legal.

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