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Andrew J Zammit, Managing Partner

Managing Partner Andrew J Zammit explains how GVZH Advocates has adopted a mentality of continuous transformation to keep ahead of the curve in an ever-changing legal services environment.

1) What do you see as the main points that differentiate GVZH Advocates from your competitors?

The principles that define GVZH Advocates most accurately are: Acumen, Clarity and Integrity.

Acumen is the insight that we bring to our clients and their businesses through the accumulated knowledge and experience in various sectors and industries. We ensure that our advice is practical, relevant and creative and adds true value to our clients’ needs.

Clarity permeates the setting of deliverables and objectives, our thought-process and perhaps most importantly the use of language, whether written or spoken. We spend the initial phases of our interaction with a client setting clearly structured deliverables and objectives, which will serve as the basis of our involvement in a particular brief or project; we seek to de-construct and analyse problems, structure our thoughts in an easily discernible way and present them to our clients for their consideration and input; and we do our utmost to use language which is clear, direct and suited for the specific context for which it is intended.

Integrity is an absolute quality and cannot be compromised to any degree. For this reason we attribute much importance to this quality in everything we do - from the open, honest way that we interact with clients, colleagues and members of the judiciary, to the management of any internal ethical considerations that do arise in the course of our professions.

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

We expect that the largest growth in terms of both volumes of work and revenue generation will be in the areas of finance and technology, and the point at which the two converge - Fintech. Malta has positioned itself very actively as a centre of innovation for new technologies, including crypto currencies and the wider realm of blockchain technologies. One of the main drivers of this growth is the fact that the Government of Malta has demonstrated a clear commitment towards the development sector. As a firm we have been actively involved in fintech models over the past 10 years and we continue to broaden our skills, knowledge and understanding of new developments in this space, including ICOs and the various applications of blockchain technology.

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

Over the past 24 months we have undergone significant structural and organizational change, developing people, processes and systems to deliver better efficiencies all-round. We have invested in training, established clearer responsibilities and internal reporting lines, adopted procedures to enhance the quality of our output and the overall security of our people and our systems, and implemented technologies that serve to enable our professionals to achieve more in less time. The results of these efforts have already begun to bear fruits and have given us the impetus to maintain an attitude of continuous transformation to keep both the firm and all its professionals ahead of the curve in an ever-changing legal services environment. It is clear that adaptability is becoming an increasingly valuable quality if we are to maintain our value as professionals in today’s fast-moving world.

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

Yes, it is. We tend to use various technologies to communicate, manage and execute more effectively. Although we have not yet committed any investment towards an artificial intelligence, we are watching this space very closely and welcome the immense efficiencies that we stand to gain from the deployment of effective AI tools within our practice. I look forward to the years ahead with much enthusiasm.

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

Clients looking at establishing their operations or part of their operations in Malta regularly call upon us for our guidance and connections within the local industry. Over the past few years we have assisted one of our clients - a listed group which includes a financial institution operation licensed in Malta - to identify, secure and acquire office premises in a strategic location in Malta. We have also had several instances were key executives who were critical for our clients’ Malta operations were identified by the firm and secured by our clients. We have experienced this in various sectors including high-tech manufacturing, financial services and technology. These are tangible examples of the way we apply our acumen to deliver all-round professional support to our clients.

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

Having a stable and strategic partner for legal services is imperative for any successful business.  Clients have become increasingly more discerning in identifying strategic partnerships with law firms. Thus, for example, in the past couple of years, we have undergone detailed due diligence processes prior to being selected as the preferred legal advisors in Malta to some large organisations. Much of these processes focused on the security and robustness of our technology systems and the protection of confidential data, which essentially form part of the stability and security considerations that have become central to any outsourcing decision.

It is also clear that many large organisations tend to seek more than one law firm to handle their needs, ensuring that they tap into particular strengths and expertise to match their requirements on a case-by-case basis. In this way, the strategic edge offered by each firm becomes the single most important determining factor as to whether or not it is selected for a specific brief.

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