Interview with: Dr Irmantas Norkus, Managing partner
Cobalt | View firm profile
What do you see as the main points that differentiate [law firm name] from your competitors?
Over the last 20 years, we have grown from a 1-practitioner firm to an organiztion of more than 100 people in Lithuania. We now count more than 250 team members in the Baltics and Belarus. Today we are located in four capital cities – Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn and Minsk. A constant appetite for growth keeps us looking for innovation and development. We are well diversified and specialized; our firms cover the full range of business law as well as provide private services (family law and white-collar crime) to individuals. In terms of the age of our partners, we are one of the youngest partnerships in the market.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Corporate / M&A will continue to grow in 2022. Post-pandemic recovery and over-liquidity in the market will drive investments in the M&A market. Foreign direct investments should increase in the Baltics too.
Regulatory advice in the markets of financial services will continue to be in demand. A growing ecosystem of fintech companies will require more extensive legal guidance. Data protection and consumer protection are growing areas too. It is very likely that governments will tighten tax regulations to recover part of the state aid distributed to prevent the economic crisis due to COVID.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
We try not to reinvent the bicycle but to adapt it to the new environment. We monitor the evolution of business and aim to provide support to companies that embrace the future. Therefore, there is not one change but a group of regular improvements to our services addressing the changing needs of the client.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Absolutely. Remote working encouraged us to test various media and communication forms to interact with clients and provide services. In certain instances, to speed up the process, we share the database, document templates and proprietary information with clients, while working on documents simultaneously and drafting without exchanging multiple versions of the same document. This allows us to better engage with the client, understand his needs and produce documents in a more expedient manner. We share our resources (data and people) with clients too.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
Being connected and having partners in all European jurisdictions, we often help clients who are considering entering multiple EU jurisdictions identify showstoppers or potential risks or costs in the early stages. It is not legal advice only but assistance with understanding commercial barriers too. We assist young companies in their expansion by advising on certain aspects of capital raising or making business partnerships.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
Business is all about a long-term partnership. Thus, our clients seek a reliable and trustworthy advisor in us capable of assisting them with long term projects. Our goal is to develop COBALT into a sustainable and ever-adapting and evolving organization able to attract talent and provide quality service. As post-pandemic recovery promises to be steep and active, we need to be well resourced (people) and equipped (technology). Our focus now is people. The transformation of the working method and office organization should not be overlooked.