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Elvan Sevi Fırat, Founding Partner

Founding Partner E. Sevi Fırat explains how the firm, is providing all kinds of legal services to its multinational clientele operating in highly regulated sectors such as life sciences, energy and direct selling, and satisfy their ever-changing legal needs with its business-minded approach.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Fırat İzgi from your competitors?

Fırat-Ä°zgi was established in 2013 by two seasoned professionals, both with 16+ years of experience in law practice. Our industry oriented expertise on life-sciences, direct-selling and energy industries helped us quickly earn a reputation as one of the top law firms in Turkey in our practice areas. Becoming our clients’ accessible partner for their complex legal needs by adopting client-focused services principle is an essential goal. Our most prominent principle is to deliver timely and elaborate services to our clients. We believe these are our main differences from other law firms. The most distinguishing feature of our firm is its work approach. We have created a system to optimize task allocation by prioritizing quality. Now, just 5 years after our establishment, we are a very well-recognized law firm both in Turkey and internationally. We are also a frequent publisher in a wide variety of internationally recognized periodicals and journals.

We acknowledge the importance of transparency, sincerity and accountability in commercial life while providing services and establishing relationships with our clients. Fair and equal approach to all our clients is an integral part of our services. We are aware that equal treatment principle is key to establish and sustain long term relationships with our clients. We are a team that believes in the rule of law, and one that closely follows global trends and tendencies. We acknowledge that correct application of anti-corruption practices is an indispensable element enabling sustainable trade. We are aware of our responsibility for integrating the notion of anti-corruption practices as an established practice. We prioritize assisting our clients in establishing and following accurate and required legal protection mechanisms by considering their sensitivity with respect to internal compliance, as well as compliance with legislation.

In light of the necessity to implement an anti-corruption culture, we work as active members of prominent national and international communities. We acknowledge the significance of cost management and service efficiency for establishing sustainable relationships with our clients.

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

We have three growing practices which are M&A along with IT & Data Protection and Competition & Regulatory. The driving reasons for our M&A practice to grow are; the growing demand from our clientele and the upward M&A trend in the Turkish energy industry. Spearheaded by the our partner M. Feridun Ä°zgi who has a long term industry experience from in-house work within a leading Turkish energy company, our Corporate, M&A team is advising national and multinational clients both domestically and across borders on energy-specific M&A, regulatory, environmental and litigation matters regarding large-scale infrastructure projects, including oil and gas, power, and renewable and related energy projects, with its significant capabilities in handling governmental affairs of the deals. Our M&A practice has doubled in size over the past 12 months, thanks to several mid-market and large-scaled M&A projects. Our firm advised and represented the buyer side in every M&A deal over the past 12 months.

Our competition practice has significantly grown over the past 8 months. One of the many driving reasons behind this success is our world-renowned expertise in government investigations. With our extensive experience in regulated markets we provide legal counselling to our clientele on a wide variety of matters from merger clearances and government investigations to in-company trainings. Over the past 6 months we have provided our clients among world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with in-company trainings regarding Turkish Competition Law. It goes without saying that we are also a preferred law firm for clients from other industries such as FMCG. Over the past 6 months, our firm advised its multinational clients regarding the competition aspects of their global agreements valued over 2.5 billion US dollars. Our main difference from other law firms in Turkey practicing competition law is our expertise in our core industries. With our deep rooted knowledge regarding the sectoral dynamics of our core industries we provide our clients with industry specific competition law perspective, which is crucial for the companies operating in these highly regulated, challenging and ever-changing industries.

The third and the last practice area which I see growing in the next 12 months is IT & Data Protection. The main reason behind this growth is the enactment of the Turkish Data Protection Law, namely KVKK. Over the past 8 months we have continuously conducted data protection compliance projects with almost every client from Life Sciences industry thanks to our experience and knowledge on data protection and privacy, going back before the newly enacted KVKK, equip us with the understanding to provide tailored solutions for our clients in terms of legal protection and remedies. We are dealing with unanswered and complex data privacy and protection matters requiring deep legal evaluation and specific industry. We have been providing legal consultancy to many multinational pharmaceutical and medical device companies in terms of patient data privacy, which the importance is paramount in terms of Life Sciences industry, and assist our clients in their compliance to legislation including but not limited to R&D and clinical trial activities. Considering the rising demand of our clients for our industry specific data privacy and data protection expertise, it appears that this area will increasingly continue to its growth.

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

We are creating tailored solutions and customized systems for every single one of our clients. We are identifying their legal needs and proactively take necessary actions. We are not doing mass mailings in order to regularly promote our firm, instead, we are sending our clients specific and customized client alerts that they actually benefit from.

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

In FIRAT-Ä°ZGÄ° we have designed a full service law firm which provides a round-the-clock legal consultancy to our multinational clientele on which the sun never sets. Hence, we have created for our lawyers in order for them to work more efficiently, a vibrant workspace surrounded with all available technological tools, with a view to providing the best service to our clients. We are using a variety of integrated software for time management and internal communication along with interaction with clients. We are using a special software to record and monitor performed tasks and manage our workflow. As a young and dynamic law firm, we constantly continue to invest in our IT infrastructure. We are not a closed minded law firm which insists on being old fashioned. Our motto is Purpose over Profit, Networks over Hierarchies, Empowering over Controlling.

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

We often see that clients may become blunt during their work-flow. We provide our clients with a new perspective and a fresh opinion thanks to our transferable knowledge coming from our solid background in our core industries. A very significant example of the value that we add to our clients’ businesses is reviewing their local and global policies along with the Standard Operating Procedures and detect the divergences/flaws. Our examination regarding the root causes of the problems experienced by our clients during their work-flows helped them easily resolve these problems therefore add significant value to their business as it accelerates their business activities.

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

All of our clients are looking for stability and strategic direction from us. We think that law practice is not only telling clients what to do but also how to do it. We aim to increase our clients’ legal awareness by proactive, business-minded, result oriented, close follow up. We occupy ourselves with our clients’ problems. In the next three years’ time we expect, an exponential growth for our firm and reaching 50+ headcount.

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