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Hasan Akıcıoğlu, managing partner

GSI Managing Partner Mr Akıcıoğlu Comments on Changing Expectations, Proficiencies and Client-oriented Trends in Legal Consultancy

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Goksu Safi Isik Attorney Partnership from your competitors?

We can list three main points that differentiate GSI from other full service law firms. These are the large scales of the projects that we provide legal services to, the size and quality of our team and our technological infrastructure.

First of all, we have been advising the biggest and most complicated projects of the recent years in our jurisdiction such as the new Istanbul Airport Project, Marmaray (under-sea railway tunnel) and the water pipeline between Turkey and Cyprus. We owe this success to having one of the largest and well-experienced teams with really specialised groups in all substantial areas of law which is our second main differentiating point.

The third of our other most substantial differentiation is to employ the best of technology in management and client services. Our customised iGSI is perhaps the only customised program in our jurisdiction that is designed to better serve the clients on a 24/7 basis which facilitates both accuracy and time-efficiency, which, is eventually quite related to cost-efficiency as well.

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

I believe project and projects finance, together with construction and real estate and energy privatisation projects will continue to be growing in the coming year, as both central and local governments have announced their program as to include more new infrastructure projects. Also, IT and social media-related practice of all kind, including litigation or commerce gain gradually more weight. On the other hand, due to dramatically increasing migration flow to Turkey which amounted to nearly three million immigrants over just three years, it shall be expected to create a kind of more complicated and regulated migration law practice which would extensively involve employment law as well.

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

We have established a quality assurance and compliance team that ensures the clients are responded to within a set timeline and with an answer that is checked and confirmed by well-qualified third eyes both in format and content. I have also restructured the teams so as to provide the clients with the most coordinated service. Lastly, development and implementation of iGSI was a huge difference for the clients, because they cannot only access and follow their lawsuits and projects but also use it as an archive for themselves.

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

Yes. Absolutely and fantastically. Since we have incorporated iGSI in our system, our interaction with the clients has become a lot better, since the clients can instruct and communicate with us through the mobile application or access every document and information about their projects with just a click. The ease of access to information does not only save time and consequently decrease the costs for the clients, but also makes more time available for our lawyers so they can focus only on legal substances. Eventually, we run the most efficient time and quality management for ourselves and make sure our clients receive more-coordinated and less-costing service in a shorter period of time.

Also our automation system GSI365 and our own document management and database search engine allows our members to work faster and access all our database and documentation with advanced search options. Consequently, the accumulated experience of the company over the years would be more easily available for the benefit of the clients.

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

In general, we have a contract management system that allows us in multi-dimensional projects, to track the fulfillment of or compliance to the contractual and administrative obligations of the clients preventing them to violate and be penalised for possible breach or non-fulfillment.

Also, I remember a firm that needed to go through the expropriation period for a big energy project and it was expected to take at least more than four months, in the most optimistic estimation, to finish the legal process to start the project. With the extraordinary coordination of our teams and document management system (part of GSI360), we have managed to finish the legal documentations and procedures including the court phases within 25 days with no loophole left behind. It was one of the instances that an extraordinary contribution was made to the client in terms of time and cost management.

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

Depending on the industry and needs of the clients, the priorities may change. However the business life is so dynamic, which necessitates a strategic direction to have for everyone and it requires a reliable and master navigation to observe preventive measures through the legal risks. I therefore think providing strategic guidance in the light of legal knowledge is highly essential. Stability is also desired but only if the law firm is competent and professional enough to provide a thorough strategic direction and high standards of service.

In the near future, I see GSI holding a unique position in the legal market, because we have been investing in our team, research facilities, IT technology and management design in order to keep up with the changing business circumstances and we have just started to enjoy its fruits. With our ever-expanding legal experience and expertise in all areas, which is accompanied by highly increased service standards, our expectation for the following years is not only to expand in size but to reach a more refined premium that would maintain us a sustainable position to choose our client portfolio.

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