Interview with: Axel Anderl, Head of IT, IP and Data Protection practice

DORDA Rechtsanwälte GmbH | View firm profile

The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence.

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

There have been many legal landmarks such as conducting ebay’s Austrian subsidiary during its entire lifecycle – from establishment, the rapid and large development of the business to its wind-down and beyond – by being taken along by its employees to their new projects which themselves became big market players. Another great achievement was obtaining the first decision on keyword advertising from a national European Supreme Court. For me, these personal milestones are jigsaw pieces of a bigger picture: the real thing I am proud of – both from a professional and personal perspective – is having been able to develop an area of law which was deemed in best caase as ‘exotic’ into a powerhouse of a top-tier law firm. This, again, is closely connected to having been able to raise the next generation of top tech and IP lawyers and to provide all key players a place in the team by constant growth.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

From the feedback we receive there are the following main aspects: we act as a real service procider with maximum client care. This means providing well founded but clear advice, swift as required in the IT market and transparent when it comes to costs. Another thing is combining the legal assessment with the required technical understanding and always reflecting the business impact. In particular, this combined approach is well received. The foundtion of all of this is a top team that is the largest in IT within the Austrian market which is again a consequence of my personal approach of granting real career perspectives, sharing achievements and honesty.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Do it exactly the same way, again. The extra mile is worth it. But enjoy the special moments before carrying on.

Can you give me a practical example of how you helped a client add value to the business?

As this approach is the foundation of my daily business it is hard to single out a specific occasion. Adding value to our clients’ businesses means, for example, contributing our deep market knowledge about service providers and from previous projects in the selection phase of outsourcing projects; giving reasonable advice reflecting the business aspects and providing clients with personalised updates on market trends and business opportunities. This for sure also includes being frank at an early stage if we see that a certain project, investment or proceeding does not make sense from a legal or local perspective.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge for clients over the next 12 months?

Currently, the GDPR implementation is very challenging and ties up many resources. I do expect that this will go beyond the effective date on 25 May 2018 since so many companies decided to be late adaptors rather than being early birds. Besides, we are awaiting a lot of, still lacking, guidelines from the national and European authorities with respect to the GDPR and there is quite a need for clarification by the European Supreme Court. Further, we also see that digitalisation has reached many industry branches which are clearly no IT natives.