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Jens Brede, Managing Partner

Managing Partner Jens Brede explains how the firm is adapting to clients’ changing needs

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

There is no doubt that our strength and main selling point is our combination of cost effectiveness and high end quality. I think this is generally recognized in the market.

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

We had a very successful 2016, surpassing almost all our goals for the year. Year over year top line growth was more than 20 % and we also won the most high profile case of the year here in Norway. So for 2017 we are really looking to consolidate. 

Our targeted major growth areas are IP/TMT and M&A in this sector, which is one of our key strengths. We have already closed one major transaction in 2017 and are starting another two in Q1, so it is looking good. There is also  the continuing theme of oil service and oil sector restructuring and banking & finance will be important. This turned out very strong for 2016, and we are working all out to keep the momentum going. We also did a major lateral hire by taking over the whole shipping department from another firm.  A five lawyer team. They haven’t missed a beat, so it is looking promising. This move represents a good extension of our capabilities on a standalone basis as a shipping firm, but the real opportunity we are looking to exploit is the synergies between the shipping team and our strong offshore construction, litigation, restructuring, tax and financing teams. 

What's the main change you've made in the firm that will benefit clients?

The theme here at Kvale is stability, minimum churn and patient growth. I like to think that we have achieved many great things being faithful to that strategy over the years, both numbers wise and with our reputation and standing. We are never looking to make major sudden upheavals or be first movers, we would rather avoid that to be honest.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Our business isn’t driven by technology. We utilize the latest in all forms of communication and storage and research work tools etc, but these are only better and more efficient ways of doing what lawfirms basically have always done. There's not been any disruptive tech or new business model in this business that I can even remember. We will not be replaced by robots, at least not in our lifetimes.

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

We like to think we do that on a fairly consistent basis. We have just closed another big transaction in the telecom sector, the Telia acquisition of Phonero. This is right in the sweetspot of our competence, with our top tier M&A people working together with the top tier telecom people, to come up with really optimum solutions on a range of issues. Of course our client is a world leader in this sector and with the organization, skills and people to match, but we like to think that our multi-competent team adds great value in a transaction like this compared to what a pure M&A team can. And winning high impact court cases adds value, doesn’t it?

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms - where do you see the firm in three year's time?

We think they are and this is a core element of our strategic thinking. And we think it shows in the longevity of some of our main client relations. Our two largest clients in 2017 have been regular clients of us for three decades.

Moving forward we are looking to maintain our top tier strengths, build new ones one by one, develop our young talent, while continuing to grow the top and bottom line. All in a steady and controlled fashion. Our main concern is always quality, cost effectiveness and our professional standing.

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