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Dr. Nemanja Aleksić, Managing Partner

Dr. Nemanja Aleksić, Managing Partner of Aleksić & Associates explains how his firm is responding to innovations in the legal services market.

1) What do you see as the main points that differentiate Aleksić & Associates from your competitors?

Aleksić & Associates is one of the fastest growing law firms in Serbia. Unlike the majority of our competitors that are primarily based in Belgrade, we are headquartered in Novi Sad, the capital of the northern region of Serbia, located in Vojvodina, the richest and the most active region in Serbia in terms of direct foreign investment. Our clients range from financial institutions, commercial banks and insurance companies to major corporate and institutional clients.

Although we commenced operations over 25 years ago as a civil law firm, the rising interest of investors in this region over the last 20 years has compelled us focus entirely on corporate law as our main area of practice. We have since then built a business with over 180 legal and economic professionals that provide 24/7 services to clients operating in SEE. We have built this capacity with the idea to be able to accommodate our clients’ needs instantly. We are dedicated to training and educating our experts and have developed a special mentoring program as we believe that, that makes the crucial difference for our clients.
2) Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

Many international businesses are choosing Serbia, and Vojvodina especially, as their investment destination because of the recent positive signals in terms of political stability and improvement in economic ambience. What we have seen in recent years are major state and foreign investments in the infrastructure and energy sectors in Serbia and SEE. The government of Serbia has also put emphasis on digitalization as one of its major strategic economic development goals over the next several years, therefore we expect to see more investors coming from the IT sector. Large interest by Chinese, Japanese, UAE, Turkish and other investors has also been creating various investment trends that we try to accommodate through our services, ranging from manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and financial services to agriculture and hospitality business.

The Serbian banking sector is currently undergoing consolidation, which means that we have seen some major M&A activity in the last year. In that regard, we see more inquiries coming into our banking & finance practice (due diligence investigations, NPL transactions, etc.), which was, apart from our dispute resolution practice, amongst the most active practice areas over last 12 months. Also, we expect to see more bankruptcy and restructuring work to come in as the financial and corporate sectors work together to actively improve prevention measures for NPLs.
3) What's the main change you've made in the firm that will benefit clients?

Our experts closely monitor our clients’ needs and all regulatory changes that might affect their business and makes sure they are compliant, and on top of all relevant changes. The legal profession no longer upholds a standard 9 to 5 work day. New, online communication requires legal experts to be available 24/7. To provide that type of service, you need to focus your lawyers’ expertise on specific practice areas and industries, while working to build legal team capacities to be able to provide sound, responsive and business savvy advice to clients. It is as difficult as it sounds, but we are deeply committed in protecting our clients’ interest and are making all the necessary investments to support this commitment.

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

Because we are deeply committed to covering our clients’ needs 24/7 through all available channels of communication, we are fully aware of the transformational changes in terms of IT tools that the legal industry in experiencing. This wave is already affecting the Serbian and SEE markets, although at a slower pace than the rest of the Europe.

Having that in mind, we are currently closely monitoring innovative legal solutions and are trying to find the best fit to suit our organizational and client needs. Recognizing that cyber security is the primary contemporary treat to our clients’ data security, our law firm is using the most advanced software and security solutions available.
5) Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

We offer our clients comprehensive legal services in all phases of their business endeavors. For the past several years, we have been involved in a number of NPL deals, which have required a complex approach to this type of transaction, especially in terms of collection and enforcement procedures, which remains one of the main challenges for investors in the Serbian NPL market. The very procedure of collecting claims, as well as the enforcement procedure, and especially the bankruptcy procedure, are extremely specific and complex in Serbia and we have built our internal capacities and reputation on that fact that we can efficiently serve our clients in that regard. This is reflected in successful collections of receivables for banks and other corporate clients. Our legal teams are enabled to effectively implement the process of collecting large corporate debtors’ claims in complicated bankruptcies, reorganization and restructuring procedures. We are also able to organize efficient collection of a large number of individual small claims from retail clients for the benefit of, for example, telecommunication companies, electricity distributors or banks.

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

Business savvy advice is mandatory in a contemporary legal practice. You have to truly understand your clients’ industry and business direction in order give them good quality advice. Our approach is preventive and proactive, which certainly gives our clients the sense of stability. This means that we try to anticipate their legal risks and choose the most efficient legal path so that our clients achieve their desired business goals.

As a firm in a transitional country preparing for EU membership, we are conscious of what this change would mean, both in terms of the economic environment and the legal profession. We are therefore, building our internal capacities both in terms of requests that we expect to see from clients, and new standards that European law firms will bring by entering this market once Serbia becomes a member.

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