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Ahu Pamukkale Günbay, Managing partner

Managing partner Ahu Pamukkale Günbay explains the firm’s wide experience, abilities, progressive steps taken within the last 9 months as of establishment of the firm and aims in this year.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate GÜNBAY ATTORNEY PARTNERSHIP from your competitors?

Günbay Attorney Partnership consists of dynamic and experienced lawyers who worked as senior associates for years in a globally well-known international law firm ranked as Tier 1 by reputable global legal market research companies. While we were establishing Günbay Attorney Partnership as a boutique law firm, our aim was to provide high quality and effective services to our clients with the approach to cater tailor-made solutions for their needs. As a team, one of the important points that differentiate us from the competitors in the market is the professionalism and the corporate culture that are reflected in our services despite our boutique service orientation and smaller size. The adaptation of an “international business” culture is very much inherited from the past experiences of the lawyers in the firm and is unique among the peers and the competitors in the market.  

What we have experienced on the other hand is that the sluggishness of big law firms cause clients to abstain from working with these names and more companies are approaching to specialized boutique law firms to get better service with lower rates. Hence, clients of Günbay Attorney Partnership receive excellent service at lower cost, having the privilege of being treated as our “single client”. When expertise and high-quality legal service is blended with an international culture, the outcome is success and client satisfaction.

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

Employment is essential for all legal entities. As many regulations related to labour and employment law entered into force since 2016, I believe local and international companies will require professional consultancy to better understand the new requirements and adopt these changes to their policies and employment contracts. Going forward, our clients will be in need of continuing support and consultancy with respect to individual and collective labour law, social security law, work health and safety law and immigration law as Turkey is a dynamic and growing market with still many regulatory changes to be implemented to reach international standards. Another important topic for us is the mandatory mediation process for the employment lawsuits which is expected to be in effect before the end of 2017. It is definitely advisable for the legal entities to be represented by attorneys who are also mediators registered under the Ministry of Justice. Such attorneys with mediation authority can help companies during the mediation to reach equitable agreements with their ex-employees and/or not to lose any right during mediation process.

In addition to the above mentioned areas, tax law is an important field of focus for us where we see the local and international companies having an increasing need of support to comply with the local tax regime requirements. Turkish Tax Inspection Board, under the Ministry of Finance, is performing tax inspections on companies on regular basis and it is very important for the clients to be fully compliant with the local regulations in order not be sentenced to a penalty. Therefore, legal services to be provided for better understanding and adaptation of local tax law regime is essential in the market.

Finally, I believe that corporate law will continue to be an important area of focus for our firm with new M&A deals and private equity investments expected in the coming period despite the geopolitical restraints. We have a strong team in place ready to provide the best service to our clients and show our know-how in that respect.

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

Since Günbay Attorney Partnership is established recently in August 2016, we have structured our firm in line with the current needs of our clients and the sector. Therefore, we are not planning any changes for the moment. However, Günbay Attorney Partnership is a boutique law firm and will follow the market trends closely with the capability to adapt any changes swiftly, smoothly and effectively for the benefit of our clients.

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

Technology in the law firms, from our perspective, is more related to the classification and protection of privileged client information. Therefore, following the establishment of our firm, we installed a special database for our clients’ files, documents and correspondences with high security protection against any technological threat. Confidentiality of our client information and protection of data is of high importance for our firm.

We are aware of the fact that some law firms are using advanced technologies to change the way they interact with their clients and installing applications which would allow clients to reach the documents via an online system however, we are of the opinion that personal interaction is still a more efficient way of providing service to our clients in the sector. We enjoy having a peer to peer communication and believe that balancing the use of technology in our business enables us to provide a tailor-made service to our clients in an interactive manner and it is certain that this is our primary target as a boutique law firm.

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

We aim to deliver excellent service to our clients proactively at every stage of our relationship and especially before any legal issues or risks arise. In this regard, we keep our clients updated by publishing newsletters on a regular basis in line with the legislative developments and providing routine on-site workshops and trainings. Although such practices may be considered as a long-term investment, frankly speaking, we can examine the quick return on these investments.

For instance, we organized a performance evaluation training for both the HR staff and sales executives of one of our global client in pharmaceutical sector and informed them about the legal procedures that lead to a lawful termination of an employment contract based on performance reasons. This is one of the most problematic labour lawsuit type for employers in Turkey where most of the cases are ruled on behalf of the employees. After a while, we could see the benefit of these trainings for our clients reflected in the decrease in number of lawsuits initiated by employees, decrease in employee turnover rates and higher success in “reinstatement to work” lawsuits. It is noteworthy that this did not only provide a legal and financial benefit and positive reputation for the client before third parties but also a harmony and peace in the workplace. 

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

Our main target is to deliver the highest level of service in terms of quality and provide the best possible solutions with deep industry-specific knowledge while considering business priorities. In today’s ever-changing global business climate and dynamic Turkish legislative system, we need to keep the stability for our clients on this slippery ground by alerting the clients to those changes and providing strategic advice. The guidance of our clients in this respect differentiates Günbay Attorney Partnership from its competitors in the market in the eyes of its clients.

What is beyond doubt is that the needs of clients and our business continue to evolve with the transformations in the sector. We believe that we have a deep understanding of the changing needs of the sector and expect to be the one of the leading boutique law firms in near future that stand out from the crowd with the best service at a lower cost.

In the years to come, Günbay Attorney Partnership will continue its disciplined and service oriented business strategy while growing the client base on selective basis with local and international clients. 

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