Interview with: Angelos G. Paphitis, Managing Partner
AGP Law Firm | A.G. Paphitis & Co. LLC | View firm profile
Angelos Paphitis, Managing Partner of AGP Law Firm discusses the uncertainty of recent times giving insight into adapting to unprecedented challenges and maintaining success.
What do you see as the main points that differentiate A.G. PAPHITIS & CO. LLC | AGP Law Firm from your competitors?
Established in 2006 we are dedicated to perfectionism and fresh thinking, working on implementing fresh and innovative ideas, adapting new ways and methods of servicing our clients while taking advantage of the current information technology instruments available in the international market. Our competitors in Cyprus, which to be honest I do not usually use this term for other lawyers, are traditional law firms which evolved through family generations, with all barriers that such family owned businesses come with; AGP & Co breaks away from these tendencies focusing on bringing the most dynamic people possible together and utilising the newest technologies available to give a more up to date modern client experience. In the business world, the use of technology is a business asset, and we aim to be at the forefront of efficient operations by speeding up delivery of legal services through the current information technology means available in the legal industry. In addition, today’s business world has no time to lose; to this end, expert knowledge for quick solutions is of paramount importance when it comes to legal services. We are proud to say that we have succeeded in combining individual expertise while working collectively as one team. We bring our clients a wide range of refined skills, from all different practice areas of litigation, to commercial, corporate, real estate and immigration advisory, FS regulatory practices, and of course tax and business solutions. We encourage all members of our firm to implement exceptionally high standards together with integrity and client-focused approaches. This has made AGP an established leading law firm in Cyprus with strong presence in the international market. Our dedication has won us a robust client portfolio of both local and foreign businesses and private individuals.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Cyprus has always been known for its business and individual friendly legal and regulatory system, followed by low tax on businesses and foreign investors. This is one of the major reasons for the country emerging as a popular destination for international corporations in addition to being an EU member state and following the common law system for corporate matters. Today, it is a key financial services Centre, including brokers, investment firms, funds and e-money institutions, while also being a leading maritime and ship-management hub. We are experiencing a worldwide pandemic which will inevitably result to distressed M&A transactions, especially in travel & hospitality industries. This will increase the sales through M&As. Furthermore, we see an increased interest in tech startups wishing to begin operations on the island. This can be accredited to significant issues which the global pandemic has created, generating an increased demand globally in efficient tech solutions. Cyprus offers a very favorable environment to such business initiations and I expect Cyprus to continue to attract foreign investments of this type and become a leading base for tech innovation startups setting up headquarters, something that started evolving significantly in recent times.
In addition, Brexit now being a reality we have experienced a surge of UK nationals and companies looking to benefit from a jurisdiction with an EU membership and requiring relocation services either in the form of immigration or re domiciliation.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
During these challenging times we have focused on two key factors which I believe can add some serious value to existing and potential clients. The first has been to further enhance our team by adding new members from various diverse backgrounds. Diversifying the team has brought different approaches and outlooks when tackling client matters giving a better value to clients and even more effective results.
The second factor we have focused on is changing the means of communication between members and clients. The global need to achieve efficient and effective communications remotely has increased and changed the way business is done at its core. We pride ourselves in replying to all enquiries within 12 working hours and we have set up the working space in order to accommodate the new way of operations while maintaining the highest quality of service to our clients. Further to this we have upgraded our pro-bono consultation service to free legal advice, essentially meaning that we offer free of charge preliminary legal advice and recommendations to anyone who needs it from a qualified lawyer. We believe that offering support is much needed considering the circumstances globally and we want to be seen as a team of people who can be counted on to offer the best value while achieving top results for all parties we represent.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Yes, it most certainly is. I wouldn’t say it’s just changing but it has become the base for interaction in current times. Technological advancements offer us ways to stay connected without the need of physical presence which has been a key to staying safe. It allows our efficiency, as well as communication with clients to be unaffected. It helps us keep our clients updated on the latest legislative changes, updates and amendments to laws. We connect with our clients and are able to respond to them promptly via various channels, including emails, video conferencing and even messaging. Technology has allowed us to keep the ability of staying connected with our international clients much more efficiently, even better than prior covid-19.
A key advantage that technological development has brought is easy and quick access to global databases and information, which is essential for seamless legal research that can be conducted from anywhere. We are also able to provide rich resources and information for our clients through the functionality of our website. In the not so far future ahead it is quite safe to say that technological advancement will have an even greater role in the way business is conducted.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
We take great pride in offering efficient solutions for every client, taking the time to clearly understand their legal needs. While it is difficult to discuss a specific case due to confidentiality reasons, we can emphasise that we offer specialised services, such as helping corporations ensure compliance with the regulatory framework, assisting HNWIs on their global matters, and recommending tailored made solutions when available. During 2020 I must say that we focused on mostly overcoming challenges put forth by the global pandemic. Our aim was to make sure our clients were not delayed and did not face any extra obstacles from our side while dealing with the measures of their countries. We also advised a large number of corporate clients to relocate their headquarters to Cyprus for purposes of accessing the EU single market; in addition, we successfully advised a large number of clients to transfer their intellectual properties from offshore centres to Cyprus under the very advantageous IP Box tax system of Cyprus, by providing them with detailed analysis of the process as well as of the benefits when doing so. Furthermore, we are proud to have promoted local businesses to foreign investors whom we thereafter represented during their M&A process in Cyprus; such projects have been the acquisition of a private hospital in Cyprus, as well as the acquisition of multiple investment firms, banking institutions and funds, in Cyprus.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
I see the legal profession evolving technologically during today’s uncertain times. There is a necessity to create stability within the workplace and a flexibility in the location from where/how services can be offered. The answers to all these newfound issues lie in technological advancements and I see giant leaps being taken currently and in the next few years to avoid any kind of disruption again.
We are committed to constantly building our knowledge and staying abreast of developments across various jurisdictions and industries to always be able to offer holistic advisory services. We will continue to grow our expertise and our team to maintain our position as a leading law firm that offers excellence in services for both local and international clients.