Interview with: Dorothy Hansberry-Bieguńska, Partner, Hansberry Tomkiel
What do you see as the main points that differentiate [law firm name] from your competitors?
The Hansberry Tomkiel firm is differentiated from other firms in its makeup, approach and reach. Each of our lawyers has worked in a competition authority. I was a senior trial attorney in the Antitrust Division of the US Department of Justice. Ms Krasnodębska-Tomkiel was the Chairperson of the Polish Competition Authority for several years and our other lawyers worked for the Authority in positions that gave them vast experience in handling competition and consumer protection cases and in understanding the approach and reasoning of the Authority.
In addition to our enforcement backgrounds, we benefit from my experience as a client when I was a general counsel of a media company and a chief operating officer of another media company. I often draw upon this experience to remember and to share with our team how to communicate efficiently and well with our clients.
The nature of our work means that we often work with other external law firms inside and outside of Poland. We have forged seamless and successful working relationships with such law firms and count such counsel as valued colleagues and often, as friends.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
As a result of Covid, there have been a number of downward changes in the economy. Often, in times of economic instability, companies look for alternatives to competition to achieve margins. An obvious alternative to competition is collusion with competitors. To the extent that the competition authorities detect such collusion, there will be more competition cases.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
When we consider the question of the challenge of technology, our first thought is the importance of our Firm’s knowledge and familiarity with the businesses and markets of our clients, especially in new technology industries. In order to create robust competition-law-based solutions, we have to understand thoroughly the technology used by our clients. This learning process is a priority for each of us in the Firm.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
I agree that clients look for stability and strategic direction from their law firms, and they have every right to do so. A tenet of our Firm is to be “a sure thing” by consistently delivering excellence to our clients. In my opinion, that is stability. Strategy is a part of stability because our services and products are based upon weighing the strategies of taking a certain approach and the results that can be expected. A large part of our work is devoted to discussing the strategic aspects of a client’s choices in view of the business involved and the expectations of a company. These discussions continue over the period of our representation of a client. I remember from my work as a general counsel that I valued and felt supported when external counsel well understood my company’s business and competitive environment and was able to wisely prepare strategies for our legal approach.
In the next three years, I expect that our Firm will continue to be engaged in damage actions as our collective experience is very well suited for this type of litigation. To date, Hansberry Tomkiel has represented clients from the plaintiff side as well as the defence side in private damage cases.