Interview with: Dr. Ata Torun, Head of International Desk

Hansu Law Office | View firm profile

Head of International Desk, Dr. Ata Torun explains the international focus of HANSU Law Firm and how they are adapting to international clients’ needs

What do you see as the main points that differentiate HANSU Law Firm from your competitors?

At HANSU Law Firm, we have established a range of particular international desks that provide excellent legal advice to international operating companies, investors and law firms from the United Kingdom, Germany and France. Since our international desks consist of expert lawyers that have studied and worked in these countries, we have the necessary knowledge of specific legal systems and language skills to undertake complex cross-border transactions.

What differentiates us from other law firms is also our ability to provide our clients with a truly comprehensive and integrated service. When necessary, each member of our international desk works closely with other specialists in the firm to offer our international clients a unique one-stop shop to support them in achieving their commercial and business strategies in Turkey. Accordingly, the team advises foreign investors, international operating compa-nies and banks as well as law firms on a wide range of strategic investments and challenging transactions including project development and finance, M&A and joint venture projects, establishment of corporations, real estate acquisitions, international commercial contracts and compliance issues as well as court and arbitration procedures. Our lawyers have also comprehensive knowledge of tax law that enable us to provide the highest level of legal advice and address the respective tax risks and compliance requirements.

Besides, our excellent contacts in other jurisdictions enable us to provide legal support to local clients wherever they do business within Europe and beyond. When working with our colleagues in foreign jurisdictions, we typically assume the legal project management, coordinate as the primary point of contact between our client and the teams of lawyers abroad and work with the local experts as a single team.

What makes you a suitable partner for international clients?

Each international desk is managed by experienced lawyers that have strong connections with the respective jurisdiction and business culture. For instance, I studied law and obtained my PhD degree in Germany and have also worked in a German commercial law firm for nearly five years. Our French Desk is led by a lawyer that studied law in France and have work experience in the legal department of one of the leading insurance companies in France. Our UK desk is managed by an experienced lawyer who studied abroad and worked at an international operating Turkish retail company with special focus on international commercial contracts. Therefore, we under-stand the importance of being sensitive to different culture’s way of doing business. Thanks to this background, our lawyers have excellent ability to advice investors and companies that carry out business transactions in Turkey as well as outbound investors from Turkey.

Our international clients will benefit from our expertise in supporting their entry into Turkish market and their strategic growth in Turkey as well as in guiding them through complex cross-border matters. For instance, our law firm has advised international clients and investors on development, construction and acquisition of shopping malls, hotels, hospitals, universities, commercial and residential real estate projects, energy power plants and other large-scale and multi-purpose projects. We communicate and provide legal advice to our clients in their native languages. Besides, we form individualized teams based on the individual requirements of our clients and the specific requirements of the respective case. Our team’s technical and sectorial expertise combined with our extensive experience from doing business in foreign jurisdictions enables us to offer tailor-made legal solutions and to develop pragmatic business and investment strategies. Therefore, this makes us a one stop service provider for all of our international clients seeking business opportunities in Turkey and around the globe.

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

Our law firm has expanded its international reach and network by identifying new strategic partners from Germa-ny, France and the United Kingdom that share same core values and the highest level of professionalism and ethics. In today’s global business environment, it is essential to meet the emerging need of our international operating clients requesting high quality legal services in their cross-border activities. Our aim is to have geographic and sectorial coverage in each jurisdiction to ensure that our clients gain access to reliable and expert legal profession-als. Therefore we work with our clients, not just as a service provider but also as a strategic partner by simplifying the process of doing cross-border business and developing tailor-made business solutions through our key local contacts that are leading experts in the respective legal area. Since the establishment of our international desks we have received positive feedbacks from our clients.

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

Technology plays a significant role in our daily business to improve our client services both in terms of time efficien-cy and cost effectiveness. Today we communicate with our international clients and colleagues from law firms in other countries through video conferences and we are available 24 hours a day whenever they need any assistance from us.

As one of the leading Turkish law firms that has implemented the digitalization tools in daily business activities for over a decade, we use special software programs to collect and archive all case/court files, accounting documents, client contact details as well as all correspondences provided by our clients. We also provide written case reports to each of our clients on regular basis. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have developed the technological infrastructure of our law firm that enables all of our lawyers to have access to all files and documents when work-ing remotely in order to provide our clients same high quality legal support 24/7 and even in the most urgent situations. We also send online newsletters and articles on recent developments in Turkish law to international clients and legal professionals from our network to keep them updated.

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

A recent example of how we assisted an international operating client to add value to its business is legal advice to a company from Sweden on developing the business strategy and operation structure regarding the establishment of an online platform for cargo services in Turkey.

Our vast expertise across all major business sectors makes our international desk a one-stop service provider in Turkey including the following legal matters:

  • Drafting international sales contracts and service agreements, construction agreements, distribution and agency agreements, lease agreements as well as general terms and conditions
  • Establishment of corporations, branch offices and representative offices including drafting the articles of association, commercial register application, application for permits and licenses in Turkey
  • M&A and joint venture projects
  • Due diligence
  • Legal status reports
  • Identification of task risks and tax compliance
  • Taxation and customs transactions and export & import
  • Company management and restructuring
  • Investment consulting
  • Adapting international business organizations (including internal rules) to local legislation and the local market as well as support in compliance with national rules
  • Real estate transactions including the acquisition and financing of real estate properties and construction agreements
  • Employment law matters
  • Protection of intellectual property rights including trademarks and patents
  • Assistance in anti-piracy measures
  • Establishment of limited real rights in real estate registration
  • Establishment and registration of pledges on movable machines and vehicles
  • Tender processes
  • Acquisition of Turkish Citizenship for foreign investors by purchase of real estates
  • Guidance in international debt collection procedures
  • Litigation before state courts and in arbitration proceedings

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

Our international desk aims to offer strategic directions in line with our clients’ vision, plans and goals. Therefore we work with our clients, not just as a service provider but also as a strategic partner by simplifying the process of doing cross-border business, minimizing the risks of an international transaction and develop-ing practical business solutions. Our integrated model and multi-disciplinary approach is also essential to provide stability to our clients.

In the upcoming three years, we want to strengthen our position in other countries through our cooperation with excellent local firms in the selected expertise areas and aim to expand our international network while maintaining our philosophy of providing the highest standard of client services. Our network with local professionals from all other European countries will also grow in order to offer our clients a unique one-stop shop to support them in achieving their business strategies in Europe and beyond.