Interview with: Winitta E. Kusnandar, Managing Partner

Kusnandar & Co. | View firm profile

What do you see as the main points that differentiate Kusnandar & Co. from your competitors ?

Founded in 1980, Kusnandar & Co. is one of Indonesia’s most respected and oldest law firms. We are experienced in the arrangement and engineering of refined legal, tax and financial matters in a wide variety of projects and transactions, reaching both within and outside of Indonesia’s borders. We pride ourselves on being a 100% locally owned and operated firm which retains in-house foreign consultants with local expertise, nurturing foreign and local affiliations, as well as associations and alliances with law firms and legal organizations throughout the world. The eve of our 40th Anniversary only further validates our relevance in the Indonesian legal industry.

As the world globalize and the legal ecosystem evolve, we continue to prove our sustainability by consistently maintaining high standards of services pertinent to today’s business environment as evident by our steady clienteles many of which are Fortune 500 companies.

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

Given the rather weak economy worldwide this year including Indonesia, we foresee a growth in merger and acquisition cases, liquidation and insolvency matters and possibly issues pertaining to civil litigations. In 2019, we are hearing many grievances from our clients pertaining to how slow business has been for them as well as we ourselves experiencing an especially complicated and hostile environment when it comes to processing almost all matters with the government. At an alarming level that is almost unprecedented, we have as of late experienced excessive bureaucracy and/or adherence to rules and formalities which in turn would needlessly delay business activities all of which, or so we are informed, is done in the spirit of system streamlining, single window service, organization modernization, etc. Nevertheless, foreign banks notably are convinced that global economy crisis would end in 2020 considering that the US General Election would be due in 2020 and as would Brexit be predicted to take place without much problem.

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

Kusnandar & Co. has now adopted a more informal approach when it comes to communicating with clients. If previously our communications are limited to our office facilities and emails, our lawyers are now reachable for discussions and updates even outside office hours. Historically, even though 99% of our clientele are predominantly foreign companies, we are now also entering into domestic markets. We have opened our offices in Bali and Surabaya to better facilitate clients that are not necessarily in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia.

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

Technology has definitely changed the way we interact with our clients by way of communication as well as services, especially in terms of administration as we can provide them with the perpetual streams of remarks, updates, permit statuses and/or license processings which ultimately would help our clients keep their legal expenses down. We have also adopted technology as a means of communications and meetings in our effort to avoid any unnecessary physical meetings which may require any party of concern to travel therefore keeping costs down.

Nevertheless, we are also aware of the government’s efforts to integrate their bureaucracy into technology which so far has been unsuccessful for the most part, and thus we still have to continue to maintain close networking and relationship with the personnel of various departments and ministries in order to undercut their technological failures and maintain efficiency when attending to our clients’ needs.

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

At Kusnandar & Co., we have always been practiced the sense of belonging. We add value to our clients’ businesses by closing any loopholes in their businesses that potentially can threaten and/or jeopardize themselves. Often in the business world no news is considered good news. Nevertheless, as their legal consultants and attorneys, our job is to ensure client’s fortification and defense against the most unforeseeable threat, even when seemingly impossible. We also keep ourself updated with in fields of businesses that our clients are engaged in. For instance, as we have maritime, plantation and hoteliere clients, we make ourselves continuously afresh with legal developments in those areas.

Our allegiance to our clients is unseconded as we treat our clients’ businesses as our own, which makes the clearance of any conflict of interests with any of our client a crucial step of the relationship. As a result, we have numerous clients who would not make any decision without first seeking our approval, although in the spirit of looking out for our clients’ interests and keeping their expenses down we have also maintained our integrity and not frivolously offer services that would otherwise be lucrative for us but unnecessary for our clients.

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

Throughout almost 40 years, we have seen many clients come and go as well as clients who seemingly just cannot let go of our hands. Stability and strategic directions, although important during time of engagement, may not necessarily be important to all clients in the long run, especially those who are only seeking legal advisories on a seasonal basis. Further, as the number one factor in engaging a legal advisor has increasingly become cost efficiency, we are experiencing a lack of loyalty from fresh companies and new organizations. Nevertheless, with the ever increasing number of new businesses incepted everyday, a tougher competing marketplace and our pool of retainer clients, our own legacy calls us to continue to maintain our integrity and retain our mark in the industry as a one-stop legal service not only for the next three years but also for generations to come.