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Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii

Work +40 21 204 8890
Fax +40 21 204 8899
Bucharest, Cluj Napoca

Florentin Tuca, managing partner

Managing partner Florentin Tuca explains how Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii is adapting to clients' changing needs.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii from your competitors?

Whilst I admit that differentiation is critical in the professional services industry, the truth is there are lots of strong players in the Romanian legal market capable of providing a similar level of service in most practice areas. The challenge, I believe, is to keep up the good work, maintain high quality performance at all times and nurture a close relationship with the firm’s clients. After 12 years at the helm of the firm, I do believe discipline, open communication and mutual trust have been key drivers of stability for us. The managerial structure of the firm means that all partners are entrepreneurs with a clear strategic vision who dedicate time and effort not only to stay abreast of client needs but also to retain talent in the firm. I see the size of the firm as an advantage: our team has grown to almost 200 fee-earners and staff members and this probably places us amongst the largest law firms in Romania. Most likely, we also rank first in the number of partners and managing associates. Such size and diversification are obviously a big challenge. However, the firm is on the right course and it provides integrated services in legal, taxation and insolvency matters. So far, this model has paid off: our partners share similar values and goals, they are from the same generation of lawyers and thus they are managing teams and client work in a friendly atmosphere. I trust in the collective power of our team and I would certainly bet that the younger generations of lawyers are fully capable of shaping the future of the legal profession in a unique and responsible manner.

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

The financial services team has been exceptionally busy over the past 12 to 15 months in transactional or pure advisory work. Our Banking & Finance practice group covered both the traditional finance work as well as transactions with non-performing loans. In fact, traditional finance work has picked up significantly following the severe downturn and the uncertainties in the financial markets. Financing conditions have improved and the rise in our activity is certainly a sign that the market is heading towards normalisation. Corporate and M&A, as well as dispute resolution and restructuring will still be a dominant part of what we do. We hope to maintain the same level of growth in real estate, public procurement and TMT work, as well as in specialist niche areas such as gaming, taxation or data privacy and cybercrime. Activity levels in the legal services market obviously match the pace of economy but Romania’s economic outlook for 2017 and the upcoming year looks quite positive. To date, Romania is one of the fastest growing countries in the SEE region, with a GDP growth of 4.8 per cent in 2016. The country’s robust economic upheaval is largely due to the increase in internal consumption and strong performance of certain industry sectors. As a result, direct foreign investment increased by 18 per cent last year, also fuelled by a number of fiscal relaxation measures (such as tax cuts, public wages and pensions increases, etc.). In addition, a slightly improved EU funds absorption rate is largely considered to be an important step forward towards a more sustainable economic environment. With a population of ca. 19.8 million inhabitants as of January 2015, which makes Romania the second largest in the Central and Eastern European region after Poland, the country remains an attractive market for foreign investments, also due to the relatively inexpensive labour and diversified industry. Romania’s economic performance in the long term is however directly linked to the global economy and to social and political factors that could pose significant threats. Romania’s future will be shaped by the uncertainties over the effects of Brexit and the future of the European Union, the migration flows, the volatility of international financial markets or by the challenges for the national and international security raised by the widespread use of technology.

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

Our focus has always centred on anticipating clients’ needs and retaining talent in the firm, while increasing overall productivity and efficiency. This is why a few years ago we took the ‘one-stop-shop’ model to the next level by setting up dedicated divisions focusing on taxation and insolvency work and by hiring specialised tax consultants, insolvency practitioners and economists. Clients have since then benefitted from an integrated approach to their legal needs, a cost-effective but high quality service. In time, we added other initiatives such as innovative client bespoke tools.

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

Technology is the biggest advantage yet the highest threat to law firms’ survival. We must be nimble in embracing technology, put it at the heart of the way we work and deliver it to our clients. At the same time, law firms must be aware of the risks posed by technology especially with regard to data privacy and cybercrime. I strongly believe technology is shaping a different law firm model as we speak, so it is really on us to make the most of it and use it in the interests of our clients. We are likely to witness a cognitive computing revolution that will see disruptive technologies and artificial intelligence automate legal processes in a previously unthinkable manner.

For several years now, our added value services have consisted of a set of technology-driven tools as part of our client relationship management (CRM) system. While streamlining workflow, they enabled a more efficient and cost-effective collaboration with our clients.

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

Clients still have and will always have high expectations from their lawyers. Fair enough, I would say. In the aftermath of the financial downturn, clients continue to put an enormous pressure on bills, which makes law firms, including ours, work more for less. I strongly believe dynamics are now different compared to 15 or 20 years ago, as corporate clients know exactly what they want and will only pay for the best service. Clients do expect stability and some sort of strategic guidance from their law firms. At the same time they look for effective solutions to their problems, they want flexible fee arrangements, fast and quality advice. They want agile lawyers who understand their business goals and are one step ahead of the market in terms of sector knowledge. For us, especially given the current volatility in international markets, the challenge is to anticipate how the business needs of our clients will evolve and to provide the tailored answers in relation thereto.

Our firm has gone a long way and, though it has not always been an easy ride, we are well-equipped to navigate the waters while preserving the partnership ethos and the firm’s attitude towards innovation. I would also expect our international desks, such as China, Israel or Moldova, to perform quite well. All in all, we will continue to look ahead with the same professional, upfront approach, open-minded and thoughtful leadership as before.

Legal Developments by:
Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii

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    Disputes in Romania are settled in court in the vast majority of cases, under procedures regulated mainly by the new Civil Procedure Code (CPC). The CPC entered into force on 15 February 2013, has carried out a systemic and extensive overhaul of the Romanian dispute resolution model. With a specific focus on acceleration of trial proceedings, the new regulation has reformed both the schedule and the content of proceedings taking place in various phases of the lawsuit, while attempting to clarify many of the controversies raised by interpretable provisions in the former regulation.
    - Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii

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