Firm Profile > Sengüler & Sengüler > Istanbul, Turkey

Sengüler & Sengüler

The firm: The firm is the successor of Scottish International Energy firm Ledingham Chalmers and was established as a Turkish law firm as Senguler & Senguler by Selcuk Senguler and Jonathan Blythe in 2004. The firm was originally known for its strong energy, M&A and corporate law practices, however it has now expanded its scope to become a full service law firm with a strong track record, particularly in employment and HR matters. The firm services a wide range of foreign multinationals in relation to their day-to-day Turkish legal requirements. In this context the firm is known for its ability to handle bulk employment litigation with analysis, consultancy and training to lower litigation risks. The firm also has departments providing corporate secretarial services and compliance support.

Following the sad passing of one of the firm’s founders, Selçuk Şenguler in November 2017, Gül Şengüler (Selcuk’s wife) assumed the role as head of litigation. Together with Jonathan Blythe and partners Barış Polat and Nihan Yiğit.  The four partners have helped to expand both the team and the work over the past two years.

Areas of practice: The firm’s main work is for multinational foreign investors with businesses in Turkey. The firm acts for banks and US and Chinese payment card providers, IT and major French and Finish Telecoms companies, as well as for major Industries including one of the world’s leading hydraulic pipe manufacturers and a leading textile labelling company, hotel chains from Spain and the UK, global energy oil and gas firms a leading Japanese seed company, and global security service providers

Corporate M&A: Over the years the firm has been involved in a wide range of M&A and restructuring transactions across a range of sectors including, industrial, agricultural, IT, telecoms, health, banking, leisure and energy. Recent M&As or corporate establishments include acquisitions and divestments involving clients such as Soho House, G4S, Takii Seeds and Viking Services. The corporate team also provides corporate secretarial services with over 50 multinational clients having establishments all around Turkey.
Leading individuals: Barış Polat, Yiğit Kula

Litigation and mediation: The firm handles over 600 cases on a variety of matters, including complex commercial cases, debt collection and bulk employment law disputes. In particular for HR litigation we perform an audit and reporting service for clients to enable analysis of key risks and process failures. We then provide training to clients to reduce the risk of future litigation. We also provide support for mediation cases, which is now mandatory for HR and commercial law matters. Three of our team have been trained as mediators and are able to support clients in this new area.
Leading individuals: Gül Şengüler, Yasemin Akdeniz, Mehmet Melih Ayaz

Employment and HR: The firm provides advice on daily HR matters focusing on meeting the corporate needs of clients, including standardization of employment contracts and related documents, conducting sensitive terminations as well as union negotiations. The HR legal team deals with between 80-100 hearings a month and by active engagement, smart analysis and close cooperation with clients’ HR departments has managed to encourage process and behavioural change. In particular ensuring detailed documentation of HR incidents or issues. This has led to a reduction of case numbers and an increase in the number of cases won. The model we developed has been used in other jurisdictions by one of our major relationship global law firms.
Leading individuals: Nihan Yiğit, Mine Selin Sayari

Energy and mining projects: As the successor to the Istanbul office of Ledingham Chalmers (a Scottish oil and gas law firm), the firm has an established track record in the energy sector. In this respect the firm has been involved in advising a number of oil majors, juniors and independents in their upstream operations in Turkey. Alongside upstream work we have had the privilege of advising both public sector and independent oil sector investors in key gas and crude oil pipeline projects passing through Turkey. The resources work has now also extended to mining and in particular the firm continues to advise clients in the gold mining sector and other precious metals.
 Leading individuals: Jonathan Blythe, Nihan Yiğit

Department Name Email Telephone
– Corporate – M&A Barış Polat +90 212 361 50 66
Commercial Law & Contracts Barış Polat +90 212 361 50 66
Litigation & Mediation Gül Şengüler +90 212 361 50 66
Data Protection & Regulatory Nihan Yiğit +90 212 361 50 66
Employment & HR Nihan Yiğit +90 212 361 50 66
Energy and Natural Sources Jonathan Blythe +90 212 361 50 66
Real Estate Gül Şengüler +90 212 361 50 66
Arbitration & Dispute Resolution Jonathan Blythe +90 212 361 50 66
Banking & Finance Jonathan Blythe +90 212 361 50 66
Bankruptcy and Enforcement Law Gül Şengüler +90 212 361 50 66
Debt Collection and Execution Procedures Gül Şengüler +90 212 361 50 66
Photo Name Position Profile
 Yiğit Kula  photo Yiğit Kula
 Barış Can Polat  photo Barış Can Polat
 Mine Selin Sayarı  photo Mine Selin Sayarı
Number of lawyers : 15
ALFA International
British Chamber of Commerce in Turkey
IBA (International Bar Association)
Eversheds Sutherland
Contacts : Jonathan Blythe
Contacts : Baris Polat
Contacts : Nihan Yigit

CLIENT: Stephen Hopkins, Head of Global Client Development
COMPANY/FIRM: Eversheds Sutherland LLP
TESTIMONIAL: We have been working with Senguler for more than 5 years. Their responsiveness and commercial approach we find unmatched in Turkey. We have sent a very significant number of clients to the firm and the satisfaction levels with the quality of service are very high. One example is G4S who have a large number of employees in Turkey. With the support of Eversheds, Senguler has used data from the portfolio of cases to reduce the number of new cases and reduce the clients spend on employment work. I suspect you will find that unique in Turkey.

CLIENT: James Neal   – Senior Legal Director
COMPANY/FIRM: Soho House & Co
TESTIMONIAL: Senguler have for some time been our go-to law firm in Turkey. We have always found Senguler very responsive, sensitive to the needs our business, and able to translate complex issues in a straightforward way.

CLIENT: Chris Johnson – Senior Group Counsel
COMPANY/FIRM:Avery Dennison
TESTIMONIAL: The lawyers at Senguler consistently provide timely, practical, and specific advice that I often pass along directly to my internal clients. They understand our business so well that they are like an extension of our in-house team. Indeed, I have no concerns letting them talk to our local business team directly when needed. Additionally, they often propose innovative solutions to complex issues and problems in a variety of matter types, though my primary work with them has been on employment matters. I consider the firm’s lawyers to be valuable business partners in Turkey, and they are my and my team’s “go to” firm in Turkey. 

CLIENT: Amy Lucy Ashman Sr. Director of Legal Services, Europe
COMPANY/FIRM: Mission Foods, Azteca Milling, Gruma International Foods
TESTIMONIAL: Sengular has been a trusted legal partner of Gruma for many years.  They are a very friendly firm and the lawyers have an excellent grasp of English which provides for clear communication.  There is a high level of competency across the board, and Sengular are able to give excellent legal advice on a broad range of areas and in a very timely manner.   They provide safe and practical guidance in what is sometimes a complicated territory in which to do business.  In addition, they are a pleasure to work with –  highly recommended.

CLIENT: Christian Murad
COMPANY/FIRM: Kellogg Company Turkey
TESTIMONIAL: *Nihan Yigit is a great advisor to collaborate with; she provides excellent and timely advice. Truly knowledgeable and practical for employment advice. I have found the team to have a strong grasp of the practical issues as well as the law and are especially responsive, working across time zones, on projects and ad hoc advice alike.

Gul Senguler, Founding Partner, Senguler & Senguler

Gul Senguler explains how the firm is managing the challenging regional environment affecting the Turkish market.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Senguler & Senguler from your competitors

There are many good firms in Turkey and naturally each one of us would like to believe we have unique features to make us stand out. In my view one area in which Senguler & Senguler has shown some special talent is in relation to our ability to network and cooperate at both local and international levels.

Having both Turkish and western lawyers on our team allows us to help foreign clients feel comfortable in the local environment. In addition, as a Relationship Firm for Eversheds Sutherland and being part of ALFA International legal network we have multi-jurisdictional resources at our fingertips.

Finally, we consider that an important part of service includes fully understanding our clients’ respective industries. This ensures we are not giving advice in a vacuum, but rather we are in a position both to resolve real issues immediately and able to help clients reduce legal risks by providing preemptive advice.

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

It is well known that the current business in Turkey and the region is challenging. This is evidenced by the drop in the number of M&A’s and finance projects over the last few years.

In the next 12 months we do not expect to see a significant improvement in the investment climate. This will mean that the pattern of work will probably remain much the same with the exception that there will be an increase in the number of disputes, both through the courts and by arbitration.

In arbitration in particular we have noticed a rise in cases and this will probably be a continuing area of growth. There also appears to be an increase in the growth of third party funding for large arbitrations and so we shall anticipate this may also lead to more cases.

Finally with the increase in restructuring and the re-emergence of unionisation we expect to see more labour law cases. This has been a significant area of growth for the firm in recent years as we have pioneered bulk employment case management on behalf of multinational employers with high workforce turnover.

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

We put a lot of importance in developing our teams in specific legal disciplines. Many of our clients are multinational industrials which have large production facilities or large work forces located around Turkey. We seek to provide support on a day to day basis, both in HR corporate and compliance. To benefit these clients we have divided up our legal teams along these lines and our clients contact teams via a dedicated email to enable fast handling of enquiries.

Additionally when choosing and training team members we have sought to ensure that they are able to adapt to work in teams and have the skills and capacity to resolve issues quickly and in line with client expectations. There should always be at least two lawyers involved in each matter to ensure that there will never be an issue with lack of follow up.

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

One way we have used technology recently is to have both email and whatsapp groups, so that clients can make direct contact with the team using one address or group. In addition we have used data from our review of case management to report back to clients on process failure and then use the data to give training, produce basis operating practices/check lists for action in relation to HR and other issues. Finally we work with a number of clients via their reporting and billing systems to provide updates reports and progress on work done.

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

In the past two years we have been acting for a multinational firm which employs between 3-4,000 employees to provide security services all over Turkey. There is a high turnover of employees due to the project based nature of many of the services. In the past there was a very high number of cases and no audit or reporting of these cases. We took over the cases and as each case called audited the cases for winability and procedural correctness. Where we found procedural failures we were able to train managers to follow correct procedures and reduce risk of cases being raised or lost. We also developed strategies to ensure there was evidence to defeat speculative claims for reinstatement. The combined savings for the client in reducing case numbers and stopping claims has been very significant.

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

It is the case that clients are keen to have a sense of stability in their support but we also note that there is a role for firms to help clients to adapt to improve practices and procedures. We are seeking to develop in this area and envisage increased cooperation with clients going forward.

As a firm we anticipate steady growth rather than meteoric expansion. The market is not really ripe for expansion and clients would prefer to know that the teams they know and trust can be relied upon going forward.

In three years time we would expect a level of growth but it will also depend upon the business environment in Turkey and the region. We are hopeful that by continuing to serve our clients well and effectively we can expand by organic growth to meet of new clients acquired on the back of existing client recommendation.