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Guy Gissin, Founding and Managing Partner

Managing partner Guy Gissin explains how Gissin & Co. is adapting to growing practices and clients' changing needs.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate (GISSIN & Co) from your competitors?

As a top tier law firm in the field of restructuring and debt settlements, we have been involved with virtually all of the substantial bondholder’s debt settlements in Israel’s capital market over the last decade, and have been a significant part of the formation and evolvement of the Israeli restructuring and debt settlements practice.

Our notable role in this field allows us to provide our clients with a thorough knowledge of the Israeli capital market's rules, practices and key players, as well as original thinking and creative solutions, which have become a byword. 

Together with an award winning litigation and insolvency department, and extensive knowledge of the different aspects of capital market rules and regulations, we succeed in promoting our client’s interests and goals. The firm's size allows for the focus to be exclusively on the client's interests.

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

Our international commercial transactions practice has been rapidly growing and I expect it will continue doing so in the upcoming 12 months. Such activity includes representing institutional funds and international investors that are seeking for investment opportunities in Israel, realisation and sale of assets and/or securities.

Over the past year, the firm handled significant transactions in Canada, the US (New York and Tennessee), Cyprus, Netherlands and East Europe. As the legal counsel of the bond trustee of Africa Israel Investments, we are closely involved in the international bidding process for its reorganisation of bondholder’s debt of approximately US$750m.  

We are also expecting a continuing growth of our international restructuring and litigation practices, assisted by my role as the Israeli court appointed officer of foreign companies raising funds in Israel, and of Israeli companies holding assets abroad. This includes my appointment as foreign representative in the recent case of Urbancorp Inc., a Canadian company that issued NIS 180mln bonds in the Israeli Stock Exchange, and collapsed shortly thereafter.

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

Over the past year we have hired highly motivated staff members, specialising in the firm's main field of expertise, as well as cross-border activity. We are also making sure that a dedicated partner is accompanying each client, in order to ensure the smooth transition between the different departments of the firm, to the extent required.

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

An advanced technology is a pre-requisite for our efforts to be available to our clients around the clock, and from various locations. We make sure to maintain the highest available technological standards for this purpose. Starting in 2017, we intend to upload all our activities and information into a state of the art secured service of Cloud Computing.

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

As I am intimately involved with most of the firm's clients, I am in a position to recognise development opportunities and can help the client pursue them. Such, for example, with respect to one of our clients – a large commercial chain ­­– that went through a major shareholder dispute. My personal involvement and the combined joint efforts of our litigation and corporate departments resulted in the successful resolution of the conflict through mediation between the parties' attorneys, and the current negotiations for sale of significant means of control to one of the largest Israeli private equity funds.

Similarly, our litigation department has successfully resolved a high profile cross-border shareholders dispute in one of Israeli top tier high-tech companies, involving major league international investment banks. After over 10 months of continuous hearings and mediation meetings worldwide (NYC, London and Tel Aviv), the dispute ended with a court approved shareholders rights and financing arrangements, which were successfully implemented by the litigation department.

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

The firm will continue to focus and expand in its main fields of expertise, in which it is already constantly rated as a leading law firm. We intend to expand our team and involvement in M&A deals and high-tech capabilities.

We are expecting a significant growth both in scope of activity and number of lawyers in those fields, as well as significant expansion of our international activity in our main fields of expertise.

We will continue to provide full legal services (where required) through co-operation and close relationships with other specialising experts (i.e. tax experts, accountants etc).

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