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Michal Dudkowiak, Managing Partner

Michal Dudkowiak, Managing Partner of Dudkowiak Kopec, explains how the Law Firm adapts to changing needs of the clients.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Dudkowiak & Kopec from your competitors?

We have over 25 years of experience in work with international corporations and foreign investors in Poland. Our team of Polish Barristers and Attorneys is well skilled in understanding expectations of foreign investors. Focus on fluent communication in English was always differentiator of our Law Firm in Poland. We always aimed to be a one-stop shop in providing comprehensive legal services for foreign business clients. We also have international presence and our clients are supported by 9 international offices (Bulgaria, Belgium, China, Finland, Greece, Italy, Iran, Nederland, Spain, Ukraine) as well as local representatives in further 15 countries (including US, India, Japan and UAE).

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

This is always a difficult question as Polish Law Firms are strongly dependent on economic and political factors. Nevertheless, we expect the following practices to grow in Poland in 2018:

M&A - Poland is continuously interesting for foreign investors as economic and political environment is still encouraging. Extensive labor and consumer market creates investment fields for foreign investor.

New Technologies, Fintech and Payment Services - This practice constantly thrives during last 5 years, not only due to development of this sector but also due to extensive experience of Barrister Piotr Putyra – head of practice. Piotr completed numerous innovative Fintech projects and advised to leading Payment Institutions in Poland.

IT – This practice is still surprising us by its rapid development, every year we incorporate and introduce new IT players to Polish market. Smaller and bigger software houses are establishing branches or moving whole departments to Poland, searching for new markets or workforce and talents.

Data Protection – This practice is obviously going to grow and gain due to entry into force of GDPR. Most of bigger Polish corporation are already well prepared to entry of new regulation, but still our data protection attorney are expecting busy 2018.

Real property and construction – Poland is still benefiting from increased real estate investment prosperity. Andrzej Dudkowiak – head of construction and property law team always underlines that in Poland there are still many interesting transactions and construction projects in commercial, housing and infrastructural filed.

Regulatory – During last two years Polish Parliament appeared to be very active in amending and introducing new regulatory environments (Financial Services, Environment Protection, Healthcare, Retail, Mining, Gambling, Agricultural Production etc.). This trend seems to continue, as a result we expect that our regulatory attorneys in Poland will encounter some alerts in 2018.

Debt Collection – This practice is expected to grow mainly to due new attorney that joined our Polish debt collection practice in late 2017 – Anna Szymielewicz has great experience in debt collection in banking and financial services sector in Poland.

Litigation and dispute resolution – This practice is expected to grow mainly to due new attorney that joined our Polish litigation team in 2017 – Marcin Kreglewski is a highly skilled Barrister and litigator, with great experience in high value disputes in various sectors (e.g. Aviation, Construction, IP).

Antitrust – I expect my favorite antirust practice to grow in 2018. Lately Polish Antirust Authority (UOKiK) gained new rights and measures that are definitely going to be tested in 2018. This will probably result in new investigations and antirust cases. Very possibly the brand new Contractual Advantage Act will generate new cases for our Polish antitrust attorneys.

Corporate Law and Employment Law in Poland – Those practices somehow automatically grow, year by year, along with increased number of new clients. As the increase of number of projects is rather constant, we strengthened both practices with new work-force at the end of 2017, in order to be prepared for 2018.

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

Several years ago we have established 9 international offices of Dudkowiak & Kopeć, as a result our clients gained increased international legal support. Alliances with law firms in 15 additional countries improved that further. In 2017 we launched Russian Desk, headed by outstanding Denis Ushakov, Polish and Russian lawyer. We are constantly growing international in order to provide our clients with local support in their local languages.

We also redesigned our news and legal alerts system. Now our clients are updated on Polish Law regularly and only in the fields of their interest.  

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

Fluent communication with the clients was always one of the differentiators of our Law Firm in Poland. Several years ago we introduced a client platform that supports instant and online: access to case files, detailed works reports, detailed project progress reports, access to invoices, as well as possibility to pay invoice online. Our policies of work transparency and billing transparency increased the trust of our clients, as well as increased efficiency of work. Client portal and conferencing system, both supported by mobile apps, practically allows our clients to reach our attorneys 24/7.

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

Well, I have a feeling that most of the project aim at adding value to the business of our clients (sometimes by solving the problems), e.g.:
Compliance projects – designing, introducing new procedures and training staff usually adds value to the business by mitigating risks and improving management.

Introducing new procedures, e.g. in debt collection departments – aims at improving efficiency of debt collection.

Capital group reorganizations – usually aim at improving management process or optimization of taxes (e.g. by introducing cash polling systems).

Introducing employees benefits schemes – aim at increasing work efficiency.

Redesigning consumer complains procedures – aims at increasing consumer satisfaction and increase of sales.

Majority of work our attorneys adds value to the businesses of our client. Even dispute resolution and litigation, may lead to side effects of e.g. improving internal procedures, improving contracts templates in order to avoid similar disputes in the future.

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

Clients expect comprehensive and professional support in cases or projects that they entrust to us. Most usually they expect full service support with minimum engagement of their staff. Such approach is full understandable, as this allows them to concentrate on their core business. Foreign clients, including foreign investor, in addition to above, expect guidance and explanation of Polish legal environment or order to facilitate taking well considered investment decisions.

Where do I see the firm in three years? Oh, we do have great plan in progress! I can tell you that we will be growing and expanding, but I will give you full details only next year! In the meantime let’s keep the fingers crossed.

Thank you!

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