fivehundred magazine > Country spotlight: Sweden > Cederquist: Premium service

Cederquist: Premium service

Cederquist: Premium service interview image

Tone Myhre-Jensen, managing partner of Cederquist

How are client demands changing in Sweden?

High asset availability and a transaction-intensive market characterise the Swedish economy and many say we are on top of a boom. It is a strong legal market but the competition among business law firms are tougher than ever. Clients become more proficient and professional buyers of legal services which forces firms, including us, to perform better and meet market expectations.

We are seeing changes in client demands when it comes to pricing models and the interest for fixed priced models/contracts are increasing. However, clients are willing to pay for premium services and specialist competence. It has become more common for clients to use different suppliers for different types of law-related matters. Clients preferably use reputable firms when in need of premium law services, and therefore they are willing to pay a higher price due to the value added. When it comes to buying services that generates more hours and require less complex legal counselling, clients chooses to go to firms charging lower fees.

The past year, we have seen a change in demand when it comes to equality and diversity matters, due to 2017’s #MeToo movement. Today’s clients value working with firms that actively work on gender equality and diversity issues. Some even require their firms to be transparent with their action plans and may, in certain cases, require a team comprised of both men and women. Of course, clients also demand firms to work with digital and modern methods, especially when buying premium legal services.

 

How are you adapting to these changes?

We work hard to constantly develop and improve our services to keep pace with, or be ahead of our clients and competitors. It is therefore extremely important for us to find methods to stay responsive, proactive and innovative towards the market and our clients. With a windshield bigger than our rear window, we have been able to benefit from our long-standing experience, while growing to remain at the fore. Our goal is to always deliver what it takes to be at the cutting edge and to meet client’s high expectations. This means not only maximum quality, but also efficient, flexible, modern and cost-effective advice and project management.

As a step towards meeting clients’ expectations, we have explored the possibility of offering fixed-price models. The legal market is not yet fully mature to the idea, but we are certain this will change in the coming years. We have also implemented a range of digital solutions to clients. For example, we have implemented an AI robot that can help our lawyers in due diligence processes.

When it comes to gender equality and diversity issues, we appreciate clients asking us to share our action plans. This means the legal market is changing and our clients want to contribute to this change.

 

How do you set yourself apart from the competition in Sweden?

There are a lot of excellent lawyers and law firms in Sweden competing for the same assignments. To set ourselves apart, we have chosen to focus on: legal excellence in every practice area; implementing modern methods; growing organically; establishing a familiar work culture; and establishing sustainable client relationships.

To achieve this we have chosen to run only one office in Sweden. Today, we have more than 100 lawyers with different specialist competence all under one roof. Our size and structure enables short and effective decision-making processes and close teams, which benefits our clients and employees.

Another unique selling point is that many of our clients appreciate us for being their business partner rather than their traditional law firm. This means we are not only measuring ourselves against other competing firms in Sweden. Instead we search for inspiration at other modern and innovative organisations outside the legal market, as well as other international firms. This way, we get a larger, more diverse market understanding, which benefits clients.

 

Where are you seeing growth from domestic clients and from those looking to invest in Sweden?

Sweden’s transactional and capital markets are strong. The private equity market has been very active, and the number of real estate transactions has increased. The large number of completed IPOs define the past years in the Swedish market. In Europe, investors look towards Sweden and the fast growing fintech market. Our music industry continues to grow and many industries are at the forefront of environmentally friendly production,
which creates a great interest for Swedish companies internationally.

When it comes to law-related matters, we are seeing growth in financial regulation matters, which is a consequence of the increased regulatory framework, strong technical development, and the many international
cross-border transactions in Europe and the US.