Interview with: Turgut Aycan Özcan, Managing Partner

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Ozcan Legal

Managing Partner of Özcan Legal, Turgut Aycan Özcan explains the importance of expertise in a specific field of law such as arbitration which makes Özcan Legal different from its competitors


What do you see as the main points that differentiate Özcan Legal from your competitors?

Main points which differentiate Özcan Legal from other laws firms in Turkey can be summarized as follows:

Expertise and Specialization in Arbitration:  Özcan Legal, with its huge know-how and experience, renders its services only on arbitration and ADR related litigation proceedings.  Although there are other law firms in Turkey dealing with arbitration, many of them also provide services in other fields of law such as corporate law, banking finance and consulting. Unlike these law firms, we prefer not to deal with too many practices or sectors. We know what we are good at and work hard for it. And this understanding is what makes us one of the bests in arbitration.

Client Service: The level of personal attention and service that Özcan Legal provides is another significant differentiator. This includes responsiveness, understanding specific client needs, and customizing their approach to suit those needs especially in complex arbitration cases.

Pricing Structure:  In addition to its deep knowledge and experience in arbitration, Özcan Legal is also able to provide competitive fees and it gives significant comfort to the clients in terms of getting qualified services in consideration of very reasonable fees. Özcan Legal also provides flexible working models such as acting as co-counsel with foreign or local law firms which is another important factor for the clients to work with Özcan Legal in their arbitration cases.

Reputation and Track Record: Reputation of the lawyers in Özcan Legal, including their historical success rate in major arbitration cases, client testimonials, and peer reviews also differentiates Özcan Legal from its competitors.

International Reach:  Özcan Legal has a very wide and close global network with other arbitration law firms in all around the world and therefore it is capable of giving tailor made legal services to its clients regarding every aspect of international arbitration proceedings in other jurisdictions such as Switzerland, France, Germany, United Kingdom, United States, Middle East and Far East.


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

Here are several law practices that may see significant growth within next 12 months along with the drivers behind their expansion:

Energy Law: Since Turkey same as other countries increasingly commit to reducing carbon emissions, energy law will need to evolve to facilitate the development, integration, and management of renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. This includes modernising the laws and regulations that support the construction of new infrastructure, ensure reliable integration into the energy grid, and manage the phasing out of fossil fuels. Additionally, the rise of new technologies such as battery storage, smart grids, and hydrogen fuel will necessitate new regulations and standards. Energy law will need to address issues of safety, commercialization, and interoperability between different energy systems and across borders. Overall, the future of energy law is set to be dynamic and increasingly complex as it must balance economic growth, environmental sustainability, technological change, and social equity.

Technology and Cyber Law: As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, legal issues related to data privacy, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and intellectual property are increasingly at the forefront. The proliferation of digital data and the expansion of companies in the tech sector necessitate robust legal frameworks and protections, driving demand for legal expertise in these areas. Similarly, financial markets are continuously evolving with the introduction of new technologies such as cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and robo-advisors. Legal expertise in financial regulation, compliance, and FinTech innovations will be in high demand as these technologies disrupt traditional financial services.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG): There has been a growing emphasis on sustainability and corporate responsibility. ESG criteria are becoming critical in the way companies operate and how they are evaluated by investors and the public. Legal practices specializing in environmental law, corporate governance, and social issues, including labor practices and community impact, are likely to expand.

Health and Bioethics Law: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought health law to the forefront, including issues around public health policy, vaccination mandates, and bioethical issues. Moreover, advancements in biotechnology and personalized medicine, are creating new legal challenges and opportunities.


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

The main change that we have made Özcan Legat is limiting our services purely with representation of the clients in their international and domestic arbitration cases and ADR related litigation proceedings.

This gives huge flexibility not only to the clients in terms of working models with their lawyers but also to other law firms which have no expertise in arbitration to work with us as co-counsel in cases where their clients became a party to the arbitral proceedings.


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

Yes, technology is significantly changing how law firms interact with their clients and the services they can provide. The impact of technology on the legal industry is profound and multifaceted, enhancing client service, operational efficiency, and even the types of legal products offered. Here are some major ways in which technology is reshaping law firms:

Communication Tools: Modern communication tools such as secure messaging apps, video conferencing, and client portals enhance the way lawyers communicate with their clients. These tools make interactions more immediate and accessible, allowing for more frequent and flexible communication.

Legal Research: Advanced legal research tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) have transformed the speed and efficiency with which lawyers can access and analyze legal information. AI-driven legal research tools can sift through vast amounts of legal documents quickly, identify relevant case law, statutes, and legal precedents, thus reducing the time spent on these tasks.

Client Management Systems (CMS): CMS systems help law firms manage their relationships with clients more effectively. These systems can track case progress, store client communications, manage billing and invoices, and ensure that all client interactions are logged and accessible, improving service delivery and client satisfaction.

Online Dispute Resolution (ODR): Technology facilitates ODR platforms that allow parties to resolve disputes online without the need for in-person court interventions. This can be faster and more cost-effective, making legal processes more accessible to clients.

Data Analytics: Law firms are increasingly using data analytics to gain insights into legal trends, judge/arbitrator behaviours, and the likelihood of litigation/arbitration outcomes. This can help in strategizing cases and advising clients more effectively.

Overall, technology not only changes how law firms operate internally but also fundamentally alters the client-lawyer relationship, often leading to more informed, efficient, and responsive legal service.


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

For instance, in one case, Özcan Legal has provided a tailor-made legal advice to one of its clients on drafting the right dispute resolution provision with the purpose of protection of the interests of this client and this advice has later prevented a possible and significant dispute with the counter party.

In another example, Özcan Legal has helped its client to consider the favourable bilateral investment treaties before making its investment in the host state country, which has later protected this foreign investment through the extensive investment provisions prescribed under the relevant bilateral investment treaty.


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

Yes, clients are increasingly looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms, especially in a world characterized by rapid technological advancements, regulatory changes, and economic fluctuations. Several key reasons why clients value stability and strategic guidance can be summarized as follows:

Navigating Regulatory Changes: Many industries, including finance, healthcare, technology, and energy, face frequent regulatory changes. Clients rely on law firms to provide stable, informed guidance to navigate these complexities confidently.

Risk Management: In an uncertain legal environment, clients look to their law firms to help identify potential legal risks in business operations and strategic decision-making. Effective risk management can protect the client’s financial and reputational assets.

Long-term Planning: Clients need law firms not just for immediate legal issues but also for long-term strategic planning. This includes advice on corporate structure, expansion plans, mergers and acquisitions, and succession planning. Stability in their legal counsel helps ensure consistency in strategy and legal philosophy over time.

Globalization: For clients operating internationally, navigating the legal systems of multiple jurisdictions can be challenging. Stable law firms that offer consistent, strategic advice across borders are highly valued.

Crisis Management: In times of crisis, such as economic downturns, public relations issues, or legal disputes, clients particularly value stability in their legal representation. They look to their lawyers not just to solve immediate problems but also to provide strategic advice that will guide them through and beyond the crisis.

Industry Expertise: Clients expect law firms to not only understand the law but also to have deep insights into the client’s industry. This expertise allows lawyers to provide strategic advice that aligns with industry trends and best practices.

Cost Management: In a bid to manage costs effectively, clients prefer law firms that can offer strategic advice on how to achieve legal objectives in a cost-efficient manner. This includes innovative billing arrangements, efficient management of legal resources, and proactive legal services that prevent costly legal issues.

Finally, as to the question where we see Özcan Legal within next three years, it would be fair to say that with its deep knowledge, significant experience and real passion on arbitration, we anticipate that Özcan Legal will become one of the leading arbitration law firms not only in Turkey but also in EMEA region. Flexibility of the Firm to work as co-counsel with local and foreign law firms will also play an important role in this achievement.