Firm Profile > Ersoy Bilgehan Lawyers & Consultants > Istanbul, Turkey

Ersoy Bilgehan Lawyers & Consultants
MAYA AKAR CENTER, BUYUKDERE CAD 100-102
KAT 26, ESENTEPE, SISLI
34394 ISTANBUL
Turkey

Transport Tier 1

Ersoy Bilgehan Lawyers & Consultants has a strong profile in the shipping sector, representing a wide range of shipping and logistics companies, P&I clubs, charterers, and insurers in matters ranging from ship finance to disputes. This broad expertise has seen the firm pick up mandates from international clients as well as major domestic businesses. The team is led by Ergün Ersoy, a highly-regarded figure in wet shipping law who handles insurance claims, collisions, and admiralty law, alongside senior partner Zihni Bilgehan, who advises charterers and ship owners on financing and logistics matters.

Practice head(s):

Ergun Ersoy; Zihni Bilgehan

Testimonials

‘My go-to lawyers in Turkey. When I have an issue over there, the first thing I would do is to call them to ensure that no one else retains them before I do. They are forward thinkers, they always come up with a solution and resolve the problems quickly at a reasonable price. They are very fast and find commercial and pragmatic solutions.’

‘The practice is extremely responsive and commercial, as well as having an in-depth knowledge of shipping. The practitioners are approachable and user-friendly, and all of the lawyers I have dealt with have an excellent command of English. The fact that the practice deals with clients from a host of countries means that they can tailor their offering to the needs of the particular client they are assisting. The knowledge of Zihni Bilgehan as to how the P&I clubs operate, including his lengthy stint working for one of the London clubs, means that the firm usually knows what advice and outcome the client is seeking. In my view, there is no other firm in Turkey that has this offering. ’

‘It is a great team which is very well connected locally and internationally. Their success comes from having very talented lawyers with different skillsets and this in turn creates great results.

‘Dynamic and highly knowledgeable practice with good ethics.’

‘Zihni Bilgehan – highly intelligent and always reachable.’

‘Not only do they advise on the legal aspects of a claim, they have also provided excellent advice on commercial approaches in addressing and handling claims.’

Key clients

Synergas

Hapag Lloyd

Armona Denizcilik

COSCO Shipping Lines

Eren Holding

West of England (P&I) Club

Steamship Mutual (P&I) Club

The Swedish Club

UK Mutual (P&I) Club

Ulusoy Holding

Britannia (P&I) Club

TT P&I Club

Gard P&I Club

Genel Denizcilik Nakliyatı

Ekol Lojistik

DNV GL

Yıldırım Holding

Oldendorff Carriers

American President Lines

Maersk

Carina P&I

State Corporation Deposit Insurance Agency

CertAsig Insurance and Reinsurance

Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation

Thomas Miller Specialty

PIMK

Compliance Tier 2

Ersoy Bilgehan Lawyers & Consultants focuses heavily on the IT and tech sectors, advising clients on compliance with Turkish internet regulations, helping to secure licenses for operation in the jurisdiction, and providing comprehensive support on data protection issues. The firm acts for a number of major domestic and international IT and telecoms clients including China Telecom. Contacts include senior partner Zihni Bilgehan, who maintains a number of corporate client relationships, and associate Yusuf Mansur Ozer, who specialises in data protection, privacy, and telecoms regulatory issues.

Practice head(s):

Zihni Bilgehan

Other key lawyers:

Yusuf Mansur Ozer

Testimonials

‘We mostly worked with Mr. Ozer. He is an honest and reliable person. He has the confidence and ability to solve any problems related to our projects with his knowledge and exceptional communications skills. He is an analytical thinker that is he can draw logical and reasonable conclusions and make assumptions even from very limited information given by our customers.’

‘Customized service and dedicated teamwork’

‘Positive attitude, broad look at issues, not repeating what the legislation says, customized opinions depending on the special facts and circumstances’

‘I worked with Yusuf for serveral cases in relation to corporate compliance. He is patient and helpful. The advice given by him is clear any easy to follow.’

‘They know what we need and when we need they are always available.’

‘They know our business & our dynamics very well. they always find tailor made solutions with alternatives.’

‘As a law firm they have deep knowledge and expertise on data privacy regulations not limited to local regulations but GDPR as well. In addition to the smooth implementation of the data privacy regulations they do provide timely and efficient responses.’

‘Yusuf Mansur Ozer is very responsive and knowledgeable. He has deep knowledge on the specific areas of data privacy issues and added value to our data privacy implementation project.’

Key clients

Alarko Holding

Ali Raif Ilac Sanayi

CD Media Turkey

China Telecom

Dialog Semiconductor

DNV GL

Hapag Lloyd

Humanz AI

Turknet İletişim Hizmetleri

Meeting Point Turkey

Neler Bedava (Freegy)

Zenith Ship Management

Employment Tier 2

Ersoy Bilgehan Lawyers & Consultants advises a range of domestic and international corporates on a continuous basis, handling day-to-day employment considerations such as contracts, tax and health and safety, alongside more complex and contentious issues such as dismissals, business restructurings, and litigation relating to terminations and workplace injury. Alongside its traditional strength in the shipping and insurance industries, the firm also acts for technology, telecoms, management consulting, and transport industry clients. The team is led by Ergün Ersoy, who has significant disputes experience and handles a wide variety of employment matters.

Practice head(s):

Ergun Ersoy

Testimonials

‘The key point is the team’s trustworthiness. Once I address my query, I know they will revert in a timely fashion, with a concrete and to-the-point analysis. As a client, I feel secure that my issue will be resolved in the best possible way or that I will receive the correct information to proceed. Also, I feel secure that they have my company’s best interest at heart, and it is worth noting that they are the ones to update us on upcoming changes in the law.’

‘The team works very closely with us, understanding our requests, making investigations where necessary and providing relevant, comprehensive and satisfactory comments for our queries in a timely manner and making recommendations where applicable. They mostly act like in-house lawyers, which is very useful for us.’

Key clients

China Telecom

Hapag Lloyd

CD Media Turkey

Dialog Semiconductor

Humanz AI

Paypal

DNV GL

Ebay

The Standard Club UK

West of England Insurance Services

Genel Denizcilik Nakliyatı

IT and telecoms Tier 3

Ersoy Bilgehan Lawyers & Consultants is a reliable adviser to domestic and international businesses in the media, IT, telecoms, and retail sectors on a range of regulatory compliance issues relating to data protection, Turkish IT law, and intellectual property. Clients include major entities such as China Telecom, and global video game and leisure brands. The team is led by senior corporate partner Zihni Bilgehan.

Practice head(s):

Zihni Bilgehan

Testimonials

‘The team is extremely skillful when it comes to technical capabilities.

‘We mostly worked with Mr. Ozer. He has the confidence and ability to solve any problems related to our projects with his knowledge and exceptional communications skills. He is an analytical thinker and can draw logical and reasonable conclusions and make assumptions even from very limited information given by our customers. His ability to research quickly and effectively is very essential to understand our customer.’

‘We have the privilege of working with the firm for our compliance preparations for the GDPR equivalent laws in Turkey. They helped us prepare for the long and tedious compliance issues and also provided insight on how the law might effect a company such as ours. Their communication strategy and delivery was exceptional and very professional.’

‘Customized opinion, strong team, very good back-up and info sharing within the team members, seamless customer experience.’

‘Very professional, positive, challenging the legislation depending on the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the issue.’

‘The team is patient and professional. More importantly, their advice and explanation of the local regulation is quite clear.’

Key clients

Alarko Holding

Ali Raif Ilac Sanayi

CD Media Turkey

China Telecom

Dialog Semiconductor

DNV GL

Hapag Lloyd

Humanz AI

Turknet İletişim Hizmetleri

Meeting Point Turkey

Neler Bedava

Zenith Ship Management

Restructuring and insolvency Tier 3

Ersoy Bilgehan Lawyers & Consultants acts for both borrowers and lenders on bankruptcy litigation, enforcement proceedings, and liquidation proceedings. Alongside the firm's traditional focus on shipping clients, it has increasingly expanded its portfolio of bank lenders, particularly European clients, and its share of debt restructuring work. The team is led by senior partner and barrister Zihni BilgehanErgün Ersoy, and Emre Ersoy.

Practice head(s):

Zihni Bilgehan; Ergün Ersoy; Emre Ersoy

Testimonials

‘Emre Ersoy is a committed legal advisor who gets to the bottom of legal issues and communicates them very comprehensively. ’

‘Responsive team, which is important for restructuring deals.’

‘Emre Ersoy and Zihni Bilgehan have been prompt and helpful advisors.’

 

Key clients

Hamburg Commercial Bank

European Bank of Restructuring and Development

DVB Bank

Amsterdam Bank

Deutsche Bank

Credit Suisse

Caterpillar Financial OOO

Ekol Lojistik

Alternative Tasimacilik

Credit Suisse

Dekabank Deutsche Girozentrale

Dispute resolution Tier 4

Ersoy Bilgehan Lawyers & Consultants specialises in shipping work, and acts in a range of commercial, construction and insurance disputes involving Turkish and international shipping companies, insurers, and financiers. The firm regularly works with international counsel on the Turkish elements of cross-border disputes. Co-practice head Ergün Ersoy specialises in representing foreign investors in litigation and arbitration, while co-head Zihni Bilgehan focuses on maritime and insurance disputes.

Practice head(s):

Ergün Ersoy; Zihni Bilgehan

Testimonials

‘The firm’s expertise in dispute resolution in Turkey is second to none. They are analytical in their approach and fair. They research the subject matter well in advance to providing their client with advice. They are the number one firm to go to in Turkey as far as our company is concerned’

‘They are reliable, expertise in their area of work, approachable, analytical, insightful, engaging, fair and reasonable. ’

‘Very strong and well established maritime and commodities practice, which is very user friendly.’

Key clients

Gitti Gidiyor

Caterpillar Financial Services

Fina Holdings

Maersk Group

DAC Beachcroft

Palmali Holding

Yıldırım Holding

Allianz Versicherung

Gard P&I

Ulosoy Group

West of England (P&I) Club

Steamship Mutual (P&I) Club

Norton Rose Fulbright

UK Mutual P&I Club

Clyde & Co.

Holman Fenwick Willan

Willis Towers Watson

WK Webster & Co

Genel Denizcilik Nakliyatı

Brittania P&I Club

Oldendorff Carriers

The Shipowners’ Mutual Protection and Indemnity Association

Thomas Miller Specialty

Kennedys

Armona Denizcilik

The firm: The firm is based in Istanbul and operates through its correspondent lawyers in Ankara, Izmir, Mersin, Iskenderun, Antalya, Rize and Bandirma. It also has an office in Cyprus. Since its foundation, the firm has established a well-earned reputation for providing fast, high-quality service and practical and creative solutions for its clients.

Areas of practice
Company/commercial: UK, German and Austrian banks and financial institutions, research and development companies, energy giants, major mining companies, global hotel chains, major telecommunication companies and companies active in e-commerce and online shopping typify the quality of the clients. Work includes all aspects of corporate, contracts, property, employment and compliance matters. Recent work includes data protection and e-commerce advice given to LinkedIn on SMS marketing practices and review of privacy policy documents of Redbull. Other highlights include advising a major telecommunication company, a giant investment fund and a well known e-commerce entity.

Joint ventures, M&A: the firm advises on all types of joint ventures and M&A, ranging from project-specific mid-market partnerships to large- scale takeovers of leading market players. The firm is currently advising Fina Energy in the acquisition of three separate wind energy production companies with projected total capacity of 181 MW.

Banking and finance: the firm represents major banks, financial institutions and borrowers in a wide range of banking and finance transactions. Recent work includes representing two German, one British, one Dutch, two Turkish and two Chinese banks and one Norwegian financial institution in relation to loan facilities extended to Turkish interests which included advising on the loan and security documents.

Oil, gas, energy and mining: Turkish, US, European and Russian energy and natural resources companies are regular clients of the firm.

Dispute resolution: the firm has a renowned litigation and arbitration practice in commercial, civil and administrative proceedings. Recent work includes assisting clients in very sizeable recovery actions from debtors in financial difficulties and protecting clients’ interests in proceedings for suspension of bankruptcy initiated by the debtors. The firm also assisted clients with disputes between shareholders as well as claims by creditors of the shareholders against client companies.

Employment: in addition to its assistance to its retainer clients in their management of daily employment matters, the firm also advises major global firms in their complicated labour and immigration law issues. The firm gives regular employment advice to the Turkish subsidiary of eBay. Other highlights include: providing a giant electronics company advice on data retention requirements, assisting a company operating a worldwide payment system in employee dismissals, advising a computer producer on secondment of employees and in adaptation of its internal policies to Turkish law.

Intellectual property: the firm attracts sophisticated work, particularly in the fields of licence and franchising agreements. The firm advises well-known companies in review and negotiation of their master service agreements and franchise agreements.

Project finance: the firm’s project finance team attracts significant work in financing acquisitions, property development and distressed group restructuring. Recently the firm advised a leading Turkish logistics group in a loan facility from EBRD.

Privatisation: the firm has a presence in privatisation as well as PPP projects.

Shipping and transport: the firm continues to occupy a market-leading position through its involvement in all major wet and dry works. Ship owners and P&I clubs constitute the solid client base of the firm. The firm is listed as legal correspondents for Turkey by a number of IG Clubs.

Commercial property/real estate: the firm has been involved in advising clients on their real estate investments as well as clients within the shopping mall sectors.

Telecommunications/IT: the firm advises on all aspects of IT and telecoms. Highlights of the year include a privacy impact assessment for a popular global messaging service on commercial messaging, and telecommunications advice given to a blue-chip technology company on VoIP applications.

Department Name Email Telephone
Company/commercial Ilknur Peksen
Joint ventures and M&A Ilknur Peksen
Joint ventures and M&A Aysegül Bögrün
Banking and finance Hazal Örnekol
Banking and finance Emre Ersoy
Litigation, execution and bankruptcy Ergun Ersoy
Litigation, execution and bankruptcy Ilknur Peksen
Arbitration Ergun Ersoy
Arbitration Zihni Bilgehan
Insurance/reinsurance Ilknur Peksen
Insurance/reinsurance Ergun Ersoy
Oil, gas and energy Ilknur Peksen
Oil, gas and energy Aysegül Bögrün
Shipping and transport Ergun Ersoy
Shipping and transport Zihni Bilgehan
Commercial property/real estate Ilknur Peksen
Telecommunications/IT Yusuf M Ozer
Competition Ilknur Peksen
Project finance/ship finance Zihni Bilgehan
Project finance/ship finance Hazal Örnekol
Project finance/ship finance Emre Ersoy
Privatisation Ilknur Peksen
Photo Name Position Profile
 Hazal Örnekol  photo Hazal Örnekol Associate Special Practice Areas: Maritime, Shipping & Transport, Asset Finance and Securitisation,…
 Yusuf Mansur Özer  photo Yusuf Mansur Özer Associate Special Practice Areas: Capital Markets, Corporate and Commercial, General Contract Law,…
Mr M. Raci Alper  photo Mr M. Raci Alper Senior Associate Special Practice Areas: Maritime, Shipping & Transport, Insurance & Re-insurance,…
 Ayşegül Böğrün  photo Ayşegül Böğrün Of Counsel Special Practice Areas: Litigation & Arbitration, Maritime, Shipping & Transport,…
Mr Zihni Bilgehan photo Mr Zihni Bilgehan Managing Partner Special Practice Areas: Maritime, Shipping & Transport and Litigation &…
Ms Burce Cangir  photo Ms Burce Cangir Senior Associate Special Practice Areas: Litigation & Arbitration, Maritime, Shipping & Transport,…
Mr Ergün Ersoy photo Mr Ergün Ersoy Senior Partner Special Practice Areas: Maritime, Shipping & Transport, Insurance & Re-insurance…
Mr Emre Ersoy  photo Mr Emre Ersoy Senior Associate Special Practice Areas: Maritime, Shipping & Transport, Asset Finance and…
 Selcan Kılıç Moral  photo Selcan Kılıç Moral Associate Special Practice Areas: Litigation & Arbitration, Maritime, Shipping & Transport, Insurance…
Ms Hande Pat  photo Ms Hande Pat Associate Special Practice Areas: Capital Markets, Corporate and Commercial, General Contract Law,…
 Ilknur Pekşen  photo Ilknur Pekşen Of Counsel. Special Practice Areas: Corporate and Commercial, Energy and Natural Resources,…
 Melis Saygın  photo Melis Saygın Associate Special Practice Areas: Employment, Insurance & Re-insurance and Litigation & Arbitration
Mr M. Akif Serdar  photo Mr M. Akif Serdar Associate Special Practice Areas: Maritime, Shipping & Transport, Insurance & Re-insurance and…
Number of lawyers : 13
English
French
Turkish
International Bar Association
Bar Association of England and Wales
New York Bar Association
European Franchising Network
BCCT
CCIFT
Ship Owners Association
Maritime Law Association
Chamber of Shipping
Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb)
Contacts : Ergun Ersoy
Contacts : Zihni Bilgehan
Other office : Famagusta

CLIENT: Marine Claims Manager
COMPANY/FIRM: CertAsig Insurance and Reinsurance
TESTIMONIAL:

‘’Not only after working hours, but also in weekends, holiday periods, just at the very end of recovery rights expiration- always with a task’s deadline: “yesterday”, etc., you were always co-operating with highest concern and professionalism.

I would add that the good business relationship in International business area is something that cannot be compared so easily to many other business issues: it is essential when sometimes I had counter view on a case based on my own experience derived from different jurisdiction and practice to meet your counter legal opinion that was expressed always in patience and logical explanation. ‘’


CLIENT: Director, Senior Associate Counsel
COMPANY/FIRM: Royal Caribbean Cruises
TESTIMONIAL: “I also thank you for taking these closings on so quickly, guiding us through these unchartered legal territories, and getting us to the finish line. We will keep you and your firm in mind in the event that we have any other matters in Turkey.”


CLIENT: Claims Executive
COMPANY/FIRM: Steamship Insurance Management Services Limited
TESTIMONIAL: ‘’Thank you very much for your professionalism, always greatly appreciated.’’


CLIENT: Senior Claims Director
COMPANY/FIRM: Thomas Miller P&I (Europe) Ltd.
TESTIMONIAL: ‘’Thanks for your efficient and speedy work to have this matter settled.’’


CLIENT: Senior Claims Executive
COMPANY/FIRM: Charles Taylor & Co. Limited
TESTIMONIAL: “You are very active with the articles which makes you different from competition.”


CLIENT: Credit Risk Management
COMPANY/FIRM: Hamburg Commercial Bank AG
TESTIMONIAL: “Excellent!”
“Tough game in Istanbul, but well done!!”
“Thank you for your excellent work!”
“Thank you for your excellent support!”


CLIENT: Corporate Counsel
COMPANY/FIRM: Marriott Hotels International Limited
TESTIMONIAL: “Very good news indeed, and thank you very much for all your assistance with this matter.”
“Thank you for the update – it was very timely!”


CLIENT: Vice President of Asset Management for Europe
COMPANY/FIRM: Marriott International Limited
TESTIMONIAL: “That’s great news! And thank you for all your efforts with (…). It is greatly appreciated.”
“Excellent. Many thanks.”


CLIENT: Key Account Manager, Ship Finance
COMPANY/FIRM: Credit Suisse AG
TESTIMONIAL: “Kindly let me thank you for all your support and efforts. You have done a great job and this is very much appreciated.”


CLIENT: Chief Technology Officer
COMPANY/FIRM: Ali Raif Pharmaceuticals
TESTIMONIAL: “As always, many thanks again for your swift reply and your professional and business-friendly approach.”


CLINET: Chief Executive Officer
COMPANY/FIRM: CD Media
TESTIMONIAL: “Thank you once again for the fair play and excellent service.”


CLIENT: Chief Executive Officer
COMPANY/FIRM: Kırmızı Elmas Enerji ve Altyapı Yatırımları Anonim Şirketi
TESTIMONIAL: “Again, I really appreciate your professional services and I am certain that we will work further as good partners!”
“Regarding the captioned matter, I really appreciate your great support in KEYAS’s GSA.”


CLIENT: Business Administration Director
COMPANY/FIRM: Hapag-Lloyd Denizaşırı Nakliyat Anonim Şirketi
TESTIMONIAL: “Thank you very much for your quick response and detailed evaluations, as always.”


CLIENT: Counsel
COMPANY/FIRM: Covance Clinical Product Developments Ltd
TESTIMONIAL: ‘Thank you very much for your assistance so far on this project, which is greatly appreciated.”


CLIENT: HR Advisor
COMPANY/FIRM: DNV GL
TESTIMONIAL: ‘Many thanks on your swift and great support!!’


CLIENT: Senior Claims Executive
COMPANY/FIRM: Charles Taylor & Co. Limited
TESTIMONIAL: “You are very active with the articles which makes you different from competition.”


CLIENT: Corporate Counsel
COMPANY/FIRM: Caterpillar Financial Services (Dubai) Limited
TESTIMONIAL: “Thank you for your hard work on this matter. Your service is appreciated.”
“I have truly enjoyed working with you.”


CLIENT: Claims Manager
COMPANY/FIRM: West of England Insurance Services (Luxembourg) S.A.
TESTIMONIAL: “Thank you for your valued assistance in handling and finalising this matter.”


CLIENT: Director
COMPANY/FIRM: Shoreside Law
TESTIMONIAL: “Thank you again for all the hard work in turning this around within time.”
“Many thanks again for all the continued hard work.”


CLIENT: Claims Manager
COMPANY/FIRM: West of England Insurance Services (Luxembourg) S.A.
TESTIMONIAL: “Your analysis of the figures and prospects in this matter are much appreciated and very clear.”


CLIENT: Explore Montenegro Ltd.
COMPANY/FIRM: Explore Montenegro Ltd.
TESTIMONIAL: “You are the star. With your service we feel as if there are not obstruction in life.”


CLIENT: Lawyer
COMPANY/FIRM: An Italian Law Firm
TESTIMONIAL: “It is always a pleasure for us to cooperate with you.”


CLIENT: Sr. Claims Executive
COMPANY/FIRM: Belgibo NV
TESTIMONIAL: “Thank you again for your assistance in this matter and the positive result achieved.”

Zihni Bilgehan, Managing Partner

Managing Partner Zihni Bilgehan gives insight on the firm, the industry and the future

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Ersoy Bilgehan Lawyers & Consultants from your competitors?

Clarity and precision. At Ersoy Bilgehan we recognise that clients prefer clear, to the point and precise advice which they can understand with ease and act upon. We encourage our legal team to adopt this golden rule. Our new clients frequently complain about long and complex advices they receive from some law firms which they find difficult to understand; that they say is why they prefer to work with Ersoy Bilgehan.

Combination of knowledge and experience with commercial realities. We recognize that commercial considerations play a big role in important decisions clients take. Unlike some of our competitors, we are strong believers in balancing legal considerations with commercial realities and are frequently praised by our clients about our approach.

Capable and dynamic. Many of our competitors fail to strike a good balance between junior and senior or partner level participation in work they do. A frequent complaint is that most complex work is carried out by juniors with limited partner supervision or that basic work is handled by partners at very high charge out rates. . Partners of a law firm are crucial but a considerable portion of the work is performed by the senior and junior associates under the leadership of their partners. At Ersoy Bilgehan, we make it our mission to invest in our senior associates and junior associates, encouraging them to think like partners and strive to provide services to the same degree. When dealing with our firm, our clients benefit from the peace of mind that the senior and junior associates who they are dealing with are highly qualified, energetic and business conscious but always supervised by their partner.

Involved and innovative. At Ersoy Bilgehan, our partners are not merely figures behind closed doors. They have an open door policy and are actively involved in disputes and projects and foster innovation in the legal approach taken by the lawyers in their teams. We support our clients in reaching the results they desire with innovative thinking and alternative solutions.

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

While I am optimistic about the legal industry’s potential to grow in many practice areas, some practices especially grab my attention due to the incredible market growth we see. For instance, we see more and interesting work at the intersection of law and technology. There is a convergence between technology and all fields of the law, particularly with the rise of automation and the continued trend of digital transformation (e.g. industry 4.0), the exponential increase in the number of internet-connected “things” (e.g. internet of things), use of artificial intelligence in the full spectrum of business, and evolution of financial services with digital onboarding, API banking, and blockchain. From virtual reality structures to distance tourism software, the demands and needs of the providers and users are becoming more sophisticated with an acceleration that the law is struggling to keep up with. At Ersoy Bilgehan, we take pride in our technical capabilities in understanding the technological concepts behind innovative services, which allows us to adopt an innovation-friendly approach in the interpretation of the law and assessment of the associated legal risks.

Environmental law and its interaction with shipping is also very interesting. As international organisations and industry leaders become more concerned with environmental impact of commerce, green initiatives and green compliant methods and equipment are being introduced to industries that have been active for hundreds of years, shipping being one of most prominent ones. Environmental awareness is becoming more and more important for lawyers not just for ethical reasons but also for being able to provide business aware solutions to legal matters.

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

We consciously and reasonably diversified the firm’s areas of practice. Diversification is necessary to provide better and more comprehensive service to our clients but must be done with care. While we expanded our areas of practice, hired passionate and capable lawyers in these new fields, we refrained from over-diversifying and becoming a law firm that accepts anything that comes their way. Founded as a maritime law firm, we started a corporate, franchise, employment and a finance practice over 15 years ago. While we offered new expertise to shipowners and other current clients, our success and quality of service allowed us to attract out-of-industry clients. In more recent years, we added data protection and IT & Telecoms services to our portfolio and our specialist team showed a commendable growth in this area. Our ship finance practice diversified into project finance and aviation finance.

As Ersoy Bilgehan, we also recognized the importance of multidisciplinary services to be provided to our clients. We have collaborated with tax consultants, information technology experts and others to be able to offer full-fledged support to our clients.

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

Technology changes everything it touches and the legal profession is not immune from this. The opportunities that technology brings is not only limited to increased efficiency in communication with our clients such as via e-mails or teleconference or video calls. The trends of digitisation and automation have been reshaping how legal firms service their clients, allowing them to reduce their costs while at the same provide higher-quality services with better fact-finding, project management, and visualization. We fully welcome digitisation and automation in our work processes where appropriate. For instance, our IT & Telecoms team utilises a number of project management software and in-house developed automation tools for data management, risk grading, and process mapping.

The recent Coronavirus pandemic across the globe also brought with it many technological changes and developments. Businesses recognise that digitalisation is inevitable if their businesses are to survive and compete. Law firms are no exception. We have adapted very quickly to the technological changes. We have recently participated in a virtual LCIA arbitration hearing with many witnesses from around the globe which proceeded smoothly. We have gained immense knowledge and knowhow from this experience and will encourage its use in future.

We also value the efficiency of distributing information via social media and digitised client alerts. We frequently notify our clients of new legislation, changes in law, precedents and other relevant developments so that they are abreast with these and take early action to avoid finding themselves in conflict with or contravention of them.

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

We have recently represented a global leisure brand in a criminal proceeding initiated against one of its properties in Turkey due to the alleged unlawful processing of a customer’s personal data. We submitted defence pleadings to the prosecutor’s office on behalf of the client and at the same time, assisted the client in dealing with the multi-jurisdictional data access requests received from the customer under GDPR and Turkish Personal Data Protection Law. Our team closely coordinated with the client to generate a general strategy and adaptation of the same to ever-changing circumstances in the prosecution and data access request procedures. In the end, the charges against the property were dropped, and the customer’s access requests have been duly handled, without leading to any further action from the Turkish Data Protection Authority.

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

We are strong believers that law firms should be able to demonstrate to their clients that they have stability, continuity and strategic direction. Clients demand this from their law firms with whom they have strong relationships. They shy away from law firms that have a high turnover of lawyers since it is not just the firms that pay the high costs of lawyer turnover, it also impacts the clients. It is also important for clients to understand what strategies their law firms have going forward. It is for this reason that we at Ersoy Bilgehan are striving successfully to recruit and maintain well educated and able team of lawyers who share the same vision as the partners and expand our capabilities to areas where clients’ future expectations are focused; such as IT Law, Data Protection, Blockchain etc. In three years from now we expect to have fully adapted to the digitalised world which will not only provide our lawyers and clients more flexibility it will also cut down significantly on overheads and expenses that can only be welcome by our clients. We also intend to expand our practice areas to meet our clients’ demands.

TURKEY

Founded in 1999, Ersoy Bilgehan expanded its practice over the years to become one of the most prominent law firms in the region.

Shipping and transport is a core practice at ErsoyBilgehan and the firm is well known for its market leading marine litigation practice. The firm assists ship-owners, P&I Clubs, hull and machinery insurers, cargo owners and other market players in all aspects of shipping and transport matters including both dry and wet work. Since the firm’s establishment, ErsoyBilgehan’s shipping litigation team have dealt with most of the major collision and casualty related litigations in the Turkish straits in both civil, criminal and administrative courts. In addition to shipping, Ersoy Bilgehan expanded its transport practice to include road transport and aviation.

ErsoyBilgehan is well known for its role acting as legal correspondents of major P&I Clubs and provides all-round legal assistance to Club members in relation to shipping and transport related disputes taking place in Turkey.

ErsoyBilgehan’s litigation team also has considerable experience in employment disputes, bankruptcy and insolvency and the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards. ErsoyBilgehan is renowned for its client-oriented approach to disputes, striving to achieve early and most favourable outcomes for its clients, preferably through negotiated settlements. Litigation is the last resort where it is unavoidable. Clients receive clear, simple and to the point advice combined with a commercial direction so that early and well informed decisions on strategy can be taken. This saves costs and time for all concerned.

In addition to the firm’s litigation practice, ErsoyBilgehan is the leading law firm in Turkey in relation to ship finance and has been maintaining its leading presence and reputation in this field, which is evidenced by its diverse client portfolio and the size and value of the transactions. ErsoyBilgehan represented many European and Far Eastern banks, financial leasing houses and alternative financing institutions. ErsoyBilgehan’s finance team provides assistance in various finance deals, including ship finance, asset finance and project finance. Due to the firm’s distinguished history in maritime law, ErsoyBilgehan is the leading law firm in Turkey with respect to ship finance. Despite its current focus on ship finance deals, the firm’s finance team has extensive knowledge and experience in asset, aircraft and project financing.

Our firm works hand in hand with many major banks and financial institutions across the world on multinational projects. ErsoyBilgehan’s finance team consists of lawyers admitted to the Turkey, England and Wales and TRNC bars. Due to our market leading ship finance practice, our client portfolio has been constantly increasing and we have a strong presence particularly in the finance sector. As a result, ErsoyBilgehan receives special invitations from Finance Conferences around the world and attends most of them with its strong finance team.

Ersoy Bilgehan also has data protection, corporate and franchising teams with clients that are blue chip companies of almost all industries. ErsoyBilgehan’s corporate team provides a full service covering the entire range of issues that arise in the corporate sphere. The clientele of ErsoyBilgehan’s Corporate Team continues its growth while keeping the longstanding clients both national and international. ErsoyBilgehan Corporate Team advises on all aspects of mergers and acquisitions as well as all commercial and corporate matters of its clients such as organization of data rooms and performance of due diligence, negotiation and drafting of preliminary and contractual documents in the M&A field and on establishment of commercial operations in Turkey, incorporation of companies, advice on corporate structuring, drafting of company charter and ongoing corporate documentation, preparation of commercial contracts as well as all the other matters that may arise on a day-to-day basis. The team’s expertise in commercial litigation, labour law and competition law enables them to foresee the possible disputes beforehand and advise the Clients accordingly.