Interview with: Dariusz Dobkowski, Managing Partner

D.Dobkowski SP.K., in association with KPMG Poland | View firm profile

Managing Partner Dariusz Dobkowski explains how KPMG D. Dobkowski is adapting to clients’ changing needs.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate D.Dobkowski SP.K. In association with KPMG Poland from your competitors?

First, we are a traditional, fully fledged legal practice, but at the same time we are associated with one of the world’s biggest audit and advisory companies. Hence, the legal advice we provide constitutes one of the elements of a comprehensive KPMG offer addressed to its clients. Such co-operation model, known as one stop shop, is applied by KPMG all over the world. Our law firm, just like its counterparts worldwide, form a network named KPMG Global Legal. Global and interdisciplinary nature of our work greatly facilitates identification of legal needs of the clients on local markets, both developed and emerging.

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

In Poland, the State is radically tightening its control over the economy, which results in the necessity of implementation of numerous regulatory rules. As examples here may serve the MAR, AML, GDPR or the planned radical changes to the labour law. From the perspective of transactional advisory, we notice a growth (still not sufficiently fast) of the number of investments stimulated by EU funds, likewise domestic and foreign capital. I perceive those two areas, i.e. regulatory and M&A, as the ones with the greatest potential for growth.

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

Since our clients operate within all the market segments, we are required to provide them with highly complex legal services, and in the realm of our law firm this complexity requirement translates into offering legal advice within a big number of specialization areas. Managing such an extensive number of specialization areas is neither easy nor cheap. A change consists in offering the clients products (packets) that very often involve several specialization areas, which not only greatly improves the information flow within the team working on the assignment, but also provides added value to the clients.

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

In line with political correctness, this question will majorly be answered in the affirmative: yes, certainly, technology changes everything. Yet, in practice, legal sector remains highly conservative in the scope of implementation of new technologies. This is caused by numerous reasons (just to mention high liability risk) and in practice as long as artificial intelligence such as IBM Watson is not the lawyer’s main tool of trade, it is premature to speak of technological revolution in the legal industry.

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

Such situations are our daily bread. Our legal advisory services very often instigate implementation of structural and business-related changes within our clients’ organizations. This results from both multidisciplinary nature of our advisory services and expertise of our lawyers, who are required to see each legal issue they analyse in a wide business perspective.

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

Certainly, the clients do expect such a support. However, for that purpose, a lawyer should be treated as a partner that is consulted in advance on most vital aspects of the business, and not as a firefighter that extinguishes fires. In three years’ time I would wish to see my firm as the one that generates revenues mostly from high-margin products, including the ones that to a great extent implement new technologies.