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Thomas Nigg, Senior Partner

Senior Partner Thomas Nigg introduces the law firm Gasser Partner and gives an overview of the future challenges

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Gasser Partner Attorneys at Law's legal practice from your competitors?

Although our firm has been renamed, it is one of the oldest law firms in Liechtenstein. Accordingly, we proudly look back on more than 70 years of history. This also includes the fact that we can draw on the expertise of lawyers who have been active in our firm for 50 years.

On the other hand, we understood at a very early stage that in a small country like Liechtenstein you have to learn to think outside the box. Many years ago, this led us to recruit lawyers from foreign jurisdictions in order to be able to offer our clients a wide range of expertise.

In my opinion, the combination of decades of expertise in our own law firm combined with the understanding of foreign legal systems is the essential characteristic that distinguishes us from other law firms and at the same time makes us so attractive for foreign clients.

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

Over the past few months we have had an enormous increase in inquiries regarding blockchain technology. This can primarily be explained by the fact that the Liechtenstein legislator recognized the enormous potential of token technology at a very early stage and took a pioneering role with regard to legal regulation by its own law, enacted in May 2019. Although other states have already introduced regulations regarding blockchain technology, these only regulate individual applications like crypto currencies or virtual assets.

Due to the great potential of the blockchain technology as a basic technology, the Liechtenstein legislator has decided to create a legal basis that goes far beyond today's current applications, in particular crypto currencies or the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

Further we can also see that the foundation business is picking up again. This area, which has made Liechtenstein famous in recent years, suffered a considerable decline after the financial crisis of 2008. However, we can see that some clients return to Liechtenstein after attempts in other jurisdictions.

As we are often told, this is partly due to the legal stability that Liechtenstein can offer due to its almost 100-year tradition in this business, but also to the fact that many states have tightened the regulatory provisions in response to international pressure to such an extent that these jurisdictions can no longer offer any advantages in relation to Liechtenstein.

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

We have expanded our focus and are now able to cover the entire field of commercial law. As one of largest law firms in Liechtenstein which, however, was primarily highly specialized in foundation and trust law, in the last 5 years, we have developed to the largest law firm in Liechtenstein which can proudly say that it can draw on expertise in the entire field of commercial law. In order to achieve this target, we have recruited lawyers from foreign jurisdictions with extensive specializations in almost all areas of commercial law.

This broad focus allows us to offer our clients comprehensive advice in all areas of business life.

How is technology changing the way you interact with your clients and the services you can provide them?

Technological development is a driving factor in today's interconnected business world. The difficulty here is to filter out those innovations that offer the highest advantage to our firm and thus to our clients. In this area we are constantly looking for innovative solutions that allow us to work as efficiently and cost-effective as possible. In this context, one of the most remarkable innovations of recent years is the storage of data in a cloud. With increased security, this offers the possibility of exchanging a vast number of documents digitally with the client. Just a few years ago, the effort involved was incomparably greater.

In the future, we will continue to keep up to date and adapt as effectively as possible to the circumstances. We also have high expectations for the upcoming 5G transmission standard. Here we expect a multitude of innovations which will allow us to work even more effectively with and for our clients.

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

In the past 3-4 years we have noticed that a few large and medium sized companies which have had their own legal department have decided to close these departments and instead employ our firm as in-house law firm. These clients appreciate the higher efficiency and cost structure and in particular the fact that we can provide them with an external view. It is this external view and therefore the possibility to compare that offers these clients special added value and at the same time reduces costs.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three year's time?

In fact, over the past few years, we have seen that our clients are accessing us earlier than it used to be. In the past clients often sought our advice only when proceedings were already pending before a court, today it is more and more often the case that our advice is sought in advance. This allows us to be active in the preliminary stages which in many cases also prevents costly court proceedings from arising. In this connection, we can also see that clients are placing more and more value on continuity in the form that they require our firm to keep an eye on all legal issues.

We have already implemented a number of measures that I expect to be effective in the coming years. Which is why I am very confident that we will continue to grow organically over the next three years and, above all, we will be able to significantly expand our international network of partner firms.

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