Interview with: Dirk Leermakers, Partner & Head of Luxembourg Office

Strelia | View firm profile

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

At Strelia, we define ourselves as an independent, topquality and cost-efficient law firm that provides high-end services on a human scale. We aim to provide services that rival those of international firms in terms of quality. Moreover, due to our smaller leverage ratio and competitive hourly rates, we can guarantee our clients that a partner will always be their prime point of contact, and that the teams we put together to handle an assignment are lean and efficient. Our experience has been that clients value the personalised service we offer. For practice areas we do not cover, such as competition law or environmental law, we team up with other specialised boutique firms.

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

The main practice area in which we expect growth in the Luxembourg market is that of investment funds, particularly alternative investment funds (AIFs). Over the past fifteen years or so, the Luxembourg legislator has at regular intervals created new tools to attract fund promotors to the country. This started with the introduction of the specialised investment fund (SIF), following up on the SICAR-law and securitisation law enacted shortly before. More recently, Luxembourg created a new corporate structure, the special limited partnership, that compares well to a common law limited partnership and which fund promotors, judging by its success, find very convincing. Following the introduction of the restricted alternative investment fund (RAIF), promotors can now set up alternative funds without the prior approval of the regulator.

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

As more and more legal products become commoditised, technology drives us to add value in more distinctive ways. The Strelia business model, predicated on personal involvement of partners and efficient staffing, is uniquely fit to address the challenges facing the legal profession in years ahead. Standardised document production can be easily shifted among law firms, or from a law firm to another service provider. The intimate knowledge of a client and its business, and of a client’s needs and expectations, that flows from a longstanding relationship between a partner and the client’s CEO or general counsel, is not so readily substitutable.

Where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

Strelia’s business model has proved its success in our home market, Belgium, as is recognised by our clients and peers. We believe our formula will meet an equal level of success in Luxembourg, our second home market. Being a fully integrated law firm, Strelia’s human and technological resources are shared between both offices, which makes our offering even more attractive. In three years’ time, we expect to have put together a group of partners and lawyers that will allow us to service our clients in those practice areas that are critical in Luxembourg. The main challenge we encounter in Luxembourg and which we share with all other firms, is attracting top legal talent, given the strength of the market and its ongoing growth.