Interview with: Gheorghe Piperea, Managing Partner
SCA Piperea & Associates | View firm profile
What do you see as the main points that differentiate SCA Piperea & Associatesfrom your competitors?
I believe that the quality of each member of SCA Piperea & Associates is our key to success and what sets us apart from our competitors. One of the distinguishing features of the firm is its academic and legal writing activity. SCA Piperea & Associates lawyers have been involved in writing the Commentaries on to the Civil Code, the Civil Procedure Code, the Insolvency Code and the Company Law, four pieces of legislation which apply most often in business relations. Thus, the legal services provided by SCA Piperea & Associates have always had a solid academic background. Some members of our team teach commercial law, insolvency law and transport law at the University of Bucharest – Law school. Almost all lawyers SCA Piperea & Associates wrote and published specialized articles and some of them were even involved in the legislative process.
We have contributed Pro Bono considerably to the evolution and improvement of the Romanian legal system by elaborating a large number of projects of normative documents regarding business: companies, individual and family companies, abusive clauses in the contracts concluded between professionals and consumers, preventive agreement, insolvency, personal bankruptcy, organization of the profession of insolvency practitioner and mediation.
In the last 14 years, we have created new trends of legal and jurisprudential practice, we have helped to improve the business law both from the perspective of the consultancy services offered to our clients and from the perspective of our academic activity.
Together with my team, I created the concept of a class-action trials in Romania, being the ones who implemented this concept, with remarkable results in the case-law, the standard contract forms used in the banking industry and even in the development of the legislation.
As a result of the collective trials regarding the VAT on the income from the copyright, of the ones related to the special pensions of the military and of the aviators, of the ones related to the allowances for pregnancy or care of the young child and, especially, after the collective trials of the consumers against professionals who abused their economic power, judicial precedents were created, laws and normative acts of the government were modified, –standard contract forms used by professionals – were substantially modified.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
There seems to be an evident increase in the field of business law in financial difficulty, insolvency, prevention of insolvency, individual insolvency, consumer protection. We will witness class action litigation in other areas as well, not just in disputes involving banks. Additionally, I predict a series of disputes with providers of public services, telecommunication, health, insurance, etc.
In fact, I estimate that the economic difficulties will deepen in the next 12 months which will lead to a new economic crises. This will be felt in areas such as unfair competition, taxation/fiscality. The unpredictable changes of tax legislation and the aggressive and sometimes unfair action of the fiscal institutions will generate important disputes and litigation.
Also, I believe that continuous interest of the society, in general, for their rights granted by national and international law, will contribute to the development of those areas. People know they have rights and legal levers to protect them, and they will not stop using them.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
At least once a month we have meetings with the whole team in which we discuss the most pressing and complex cases. We are organized into teams dedicated to areas such as insolvency, corporate law, administrative and tax litigation, real property and rights, capital market, labor law, procurement and infrastructure projects, consumer protection, business criminal law. When this classification was made, we have taken into consideration the interest/affinity of each one of us for a certain domain, as well as the specializations acquired over time. Also, we regularly try to refresh our team by co-opting new lawyers.
Since the beginning of this year, in order to keep ourselves and our clients or potential clients in touch with the legislative and judicial changes, weekly, a member of our team publishes on our official web page a short legal opinion on a topic of interest.
Logistically, at the end of the last year, we completed the redesign of office spaces, so, now, the meetings rooms are separated from our workspace in order to give more intimacy to our meetings with clients, and the activity of lawyers is more productive now because they are not disturbed by the external factors.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Yes, technology has influenced and continues to influence the legal world.
Often, the connection between businessmen and lawyers is organized on the internet.
As far as we are concerned, the internet helped us promote our ideas and concepts that have led to new doctrinal trends, judicial practice and legislative initiatives.
The legal opinions we publish weekly are meant to inform our clients and potential clients about the rights and leverages they have in order to protect those rights. Of course, we also draw attention to their legal obligations and the consequences to which they are exposed by breaking the law.
The technology helps us inform about legislative, doctrinal and jurisprudential changes through the legislative programs we have acquired, to create a database of national and international jurisprudence and, also, to remain informed, in real time, about the economic and social situation in Romania and abroad.
We do not intend to introduce artificial intelligence in our professional activity and in the relationship with our clients, except for these publications, which rather reflect academic activity than strictly legal activity. We do not believe in the human-machine relationship. We fully believe that success is guaranteed by the human relationship established between lawyer and client, but we will remain connected to technology as it is an important factor for the improvement and efficiency of our work.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
This is what we do, crisis management. We provide legal advice in order to help the client remove the company, or even himself (in the case of individuals) from the crisis and return to the market strongly. The policies and strategies identified by us and implemented by the
customer help him to return to the market with a better economic situation, with a package of prevention rules and a better organization of the activity. Practical examples, there can be many, but the situation of each client is different, and the possibilities of recovery are applied to each case, conditioned by the economic availability of each one. I don’t think there’s a standard. The human relationship we talked about above, guides us in finding the best solutions.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
Yes, I think so. We have very long-term clients, who obviously prefer the stability of the relationship built with our team. During these years, an inter-human relationship was created, the client’s trust in the lawyer was strengthened and both the shortcomings and the qualities became transparent. It is comforting for the client to know that his problem will be treated with professionalism and interest by his lawyer and he will no longer have to deal with this anguish. Existing clients come to us time and time again, safe in the knowledge that we will endeavor to resolve their legal issues, especially in difficult and challenging cases.
Where do I see the firm in three years’ time?
Where it should be – at the center of the great changes that will follow in the field of law.
I predict an organic increase in the turnover of the company and a certain increase in the number of lawyers that will insure a balance between the level of competence of each lawyer. We want the number of partners to be proportional to the number of senior lawyers and the number of junior lawyers to be corresponding to the latter. This organizational chart aims to respect the qualification of each member of my team and the interest of the client.