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Deloitte Lawyers

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James Fabijancic, Managing partner

James Fabijancic, Managing partner of Deloitte Lawyers Pty Ltd discusses how the firm is adapting to clients' changing needs.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Deloitte Lawyers from your competitors?

The market for legal services in Australia has become heavily focussed on solution based offerings. The highly legalistic approach which was once the norm is no longer valuable for businesses; clients need a firm that is able to display client first thinking and are co-invested with the success and objectives of the client. Our lawyers have significant commercial experience with genuine expertise in particular industries and sectors.

We are in a unique position to provide complete solutions to the challenges our clients face with the input from the wider Deloitte professional network and in particular an unparalleled ability to service multi-jurisdictional matters through the Deloitte Legal network comprising more than 1750 lawyers in over 75 countries around the globe.

We have embraced Deloitte’s culture of innovation in the delivery of our service offerings, using the benefit of data, design and digital while maintaining a focus on the client experience. We are extremely proud of our people and the culture of our firm, Deloitte Lawyers professionals are quickly identifiable by their personable approach to business while maintaining market leading expertise and skill in their fields of practice.

What practices do see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Tax has been front page news in Australia of recent times, with Senate hearings and regular public comment by senior Australian Taxation Office officials declaring a focused effort on multinationals and ensuring “appropriate levels of taxation”. The authorities have been open in their willingness to audit and litigate where necessary. Amidst this backdrop, Deloitte Lawyers is experiencing a surge in demand for tax controversy services which is expected to grow further over the coming 12 months. In preparation for this, our Practice has invested heavily in legal professionals recognised for their deep expertise and multi-faceted approach of alternative dispute resolution, litigation, forensic investigation and negotiation skills.

Demand for M&A is expected to rise dramatically over the next year, during a period when regulation and scrutiny is at an all-time high. Recent developments in Australia’s foreign investment regime have significantly strengthened the Government’s powers to deny, alter or seek divestment. This has created an unprecedented need for complete legal solutions across corporate law, foreign investment approvals, tax and regulatory compliance. Coupled with the multi-disciplinary services of Deloitte, we are able to work together with our clients to ensure coverage of all legal, financial, strategic and reporting needs.

Whatis the main change that you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Deloitte Lawyers has expanded its workforce of legal professionals through careful selection of market leading talent in key disciplines. By integrating these professionals with the wider offerings and technologies of the Deloitte brand and drawing on the Deloitte Legal Network globally, Deloitte Lawyers provides a client centric solution.

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

Technology has impacted the delivery of all professional services. While many legal firms have seen this as a challenge to their business, Deloitte Lawyers has embraced the change. For example, through teaming with the forensic and digital practices within Deloitte Australia, Deloitte Lawyers is implementing various technology tools in the delivery of services. From digital access platforms to advanced data analytics tools, repetitive low value tasks are no longer performed by our legal professionals, their roles have evolved to a focus on idea generation, strategic legal consulting and helping clients achieve business imperatives. Our client interactions are more frequent and business focussed as a result.

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

Deloitte Lawyers recently successfully assisted a client with significant dispute issues associated with its Australian operations. The matter involved a series of cross-jurisdictional issues involving various countries within Europe, Asia and Australia including complex issues regarding interaction of the multiple foreign legal regimes.

The matter required corporate law, administrative law, tax controversy and advisory, financial modelling, data analytics and forensic investigation. Deloitte Lawyers were able to bring local professionals to the engagement to provide a globally co-ordinated legal solution. The matter involved the examination of significant data and documents held by the organisation in various countries which was compiled, retained and accessible to both the client and Deloitte Lawyers on a Deloitte hosted technology platform.

The ability of Deloitte Lawyers to access the global Deloitte Legal Network and multi-disciplinary Deloitte offerings was critical to success.

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

Deloitte Lawyers has ambitious growth aspirations over the coming years and expects to build upon its significant successes of the last decade. We consider our relationships with clients as enduring partnerships and our legal professionals will continue to bring thought leadership, guidance and insight as trusted advisors. The need to keep our clients informed of trends and developments is critical to assist informed business decisions.

Australia is considered a key market for the Deloitte Legal Network and clients will benefit from the strength and stability this brings. Deloitte Lawyers will continue to grow its existing offerings through a combination of talent development and lateral acquisition, while exploring additional complimentary legal services.

In three years’ time, we aspire to be the firm of choice for our clients and our people.

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