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Ion Dragne , Managing Partner

Ion Dragne explains why lawyers need to have business fluency

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

The legal profession is in the middle of a continuous change. In the past, “having a good knowledge of the law” was maybe the sole or at least the most important condition for lawyers to provide good quality legal services.

This no longer suffices nowadays. Today, the lawyer must hold other skills among which some business fluency and a good understanding of the market in which the clients activate. Dragne & Asociatii is renewed not only for its lawyers’ very good knowledge of law but, also, for these being very open and proactive, able to find the small differences that can change the course of the litigation, as some of our clients have declared.

Also, being highly specialized in all sort of dispute resolution matters, be it in litigation or in arbitration, in fields like restructuring and insolvency, exequatur and enforcement proceedings, corporate fights, labor disputes or white collar crime, we have clients from all over the country or around the world.  Even if there are other law firms that appears to practice in the same areas of law, this “hyper specialization” differentiate our practice from the competitors. In fact, this reputation proved to be one of the most powerful advantage.

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

Complex litigation and arbitration is a hot filed right now as multi-million disputes have arisen from large construction contracts or various real estate investments. Also, the ailing economy determined more business to seek legal help in restructuring their assets or liquidate their debts. This will promote a growth also in the banking and finance sector as restructuring of debts and finding solutions for various financial instruments would become a need also outside an insolvency procedure.

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

Few lines above, I was explaining the concept of “hyper specialization”. I would not necessary call this as “a change” made in our law firm but, for sure, we have insisted on augmenting the benefit of it on behalf of our clients.

The quality gains that “hyper specialization” makes possible are visible in our work for clients. If one would consider how much time is spending on tasks that do not draw on his or her specific expertise will understand more easily the benefits of the concept. The lawyers having the particular knowledge may engage in activities that could be carry on better and in a cost efficient manner.

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

Understanding technology’s application and how this may impact on the delivery of legal services is a key for every successful lawyer.  Legal services are not and I do not think they will be managed solely by robots in the future.

Technology helps us understand complex technical cases at the level of details, it helps us “translate” into the language of judges or arbitrators sophisticated factual or technical matters or help us collate an enormous amount of information. You may not be in need to “master” a very specialized technical field, but, as long as the technology helps you organize information and make another person specialized in the legal field understand your case, this is a great result.

Also, specific software facilitate the awarding of contracts in the public sector, others enhance contract management, while other make legal research be a much easier job even when looking into millions of similar cases.

Clients have expectation of increased speed, ability to communicate and transact via mobile devices. They may be spread out around the world and the law firms must understand the important role of technology when rendering legal services because everyone wants rapid results.  

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

To understand the meaning of value to your clients, you must first put yourself in their shoes. A good way to increase value is simply to increase the speed you deliver the legal services. Usually, a client who did not realize that needed legal advice or service until today, now wants it yesterday. Sometimes, it is, indeed, a direct correlation between speed and the added value you are offering to clients.   

The rule “the faster the better” has been proven crucial in the business of some of our clients.  For example, when making claims for money time is of essence. The court system can be slow and complex, so it is a great satisfaction when, due to our fast and quality work, the clients manage to obtain interim or conservatory measures or avoid foreclosure until the file is finally solved in court or arbitration.

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

Turning customers into clients implies stability. For most law firms, one of the secrets to success is to turn customers into clients. It is definitely easier to keep an existing customer than to find a new one.  The existing customers already know us and our work and in our turn, we know their business. Using this knowledge we may be able to turn them into loyal clients.

I see Dragne & Asociatii in the near future as a law firm that will be permanently ready to adapt to a rapidly shifting world. Our flexibility and good expertise would make us adapt quickly and accommodate rapidly changing client needs.

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