Interview with: Grzegorz Leśniewski, Managing Partner
Grzegorz Leśniewski, Managing Partner at Leśniewski Borkiewicz Kostka & Partners explains how the firm is adapting to clients’ changing needs
What do you see as the main points that differentiate Leśniewski Borkiewicz Kostka & Partners from your competitors?
This question should be best asked of our clients [laughing]! But putting any modesty aside, we do hear from top executives around the globe that they are positively surprised with our direct communication, free of incomprehensible legal language and numerous disclaimers. We understand our role as a business partner and not only a legal adviser. Thus, our key objective is good understanding of our client’s needs and then giving the best possible solution. Of course, high legal competences of our team and deep understanding of new-tech sector counts as well, but many legal firms have them too.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
If I were to bet my money on it, I would say: advisory services regarding Artificial Intelligence (AI). We already get many inquiries about safe ways to implement AI solutions, such as Midjurney or Chat GPT by tech companies in the EU as well as other technologies that recognize faces or read vehicles’ plates and so on. There are numerous cases where doubts arise, and our clients have a difficult choice to make: learn how to use it or wait to see how others do it. I believe that only the first answer allows to jump upfront before the competition. In the meantime, there are upcoming AI regulations both on EU and national levels, as well as practical compliance issues with regards to the existing laws (mostly data protection and IPR) and ethics. Fortunately for our firm, we have significant experience in practical implementation of such technologies and standards from legal perspective. We are not only not afraid of giving (or rather creating) legal solutions for these challenges but we actually are looking forward to it.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
Well, the biggest game changer for us was starting to think and work as our clients do. We decided to learn from IT companies and implement their approach to legal work. I had several meetings with our most successful clients and friends working at C-level across high-tech industry to understand how they run their companies and what does it really mean to be “agile”. I keep having these meetings to stay up-to date. This benefits us as the firm as well as our clients. We even implemented some software tools for communication, project management and other tasks that were designed mainly for the IT sector but proved to be helpful to lawyers too. Now, as we share similar tools and approach, it often seems as we are part of inhouse teams of our clients, and both sides enjoy and benefit from it.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Definitely! The time when lawyers were writing long legal opinions, trying to impress their clients with legalese and expert legal terms are long gone (at least for us). We adapted to communicating with tools used in day-to-day work by our clients and to their language and style. Another issue is using tools to speed up our work and to make possible automations of different processes. Technology often allows us to work smarter not harder, and that is great.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
Some time ago a new client from outside EU came to a ask us for legal support with a highly innovative financial service that he was planning to introduce to Polish market. I cannot get into details, but it was supposed to make Internet transactions safer for buyers and sellers. During that first meeting we were able not only to suggest him adding additional features that he did not think of at the time (to avoid / solve disputes between users), but also to connect him with our other clients and partners. He saved money on development, reduced some major business risks, and then started offering even better service than he initially invented. We also helped with identifying two new categories of potential buyers of his services, as we knew where such services were needed. All this was on top of “standard” legal support, of course.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
Yes, they do. Law firms must be highly trusted partners and therefore they need to have a good focus on the future. Our plan is to continue steady growth in terms of the number of lawyers we have onboard and to keep our talents. Our team is our key value and we are doing our best to make sure that everyone feels appreciated and has space to develop further. Especially in our line of business, where clients build relationships with specific advisors and not just our brand, we need to make sure that our working environment is friendly, well balanced, and gives perspective for long-term cooperation. So, in 3 years I hope to see us as a mid-sized firm with around 30 expert advisors, who enjoy their day-to-day work and have plenty of time to enjoy their out of work passions. So far all seems going that way.