Interview with: Hugo T. Berkemeyer, Managing Partner

BKM | Berkemeyer | View firm profile

What do you see as the main points that differentiate BKM | Berkemeyer from your competitors?

BKM – Berkemeyer is a full service law firm with 70 years in the market that has grown in size and expertise.

It started as a family owned firm and in recent years it has gone through an institutionalization process to bring it up to international standards while maintaining the family core values of its founder Hugo Berkemeyer.

Over the years, the firm has stood for having mostly women and a strong commitment to gender equality. Berkemeyer has stived to keep a balanced gender ratio across all levels of seniority and providing women with equal career progression opportunities and a working environment that fosters professional and personal growth.

Today, with over 50 lawyers and three branches in the country we have a wide-ranging and in-depth experience to understand sectors, industries and markets. We possess collective expertise available on a firm-wide basis. The firm is built on a team of experts in every field, an expertise achieved through the professional dedication of lawyers, international exposure and strategic lateral growth. This combination proves invaluable to clients when they are setting up business in the country or developing infrastructure projects that need to meet not just local but to international standards in all aspects of law. The combination of uncompromising quality, advice that is quick, pragmatic and to the point has won Berkemeyer many great clients.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

BKM – Berkemeyer strengthened its practice in infrastructure which is set to become the busiest sector for the next few years making project finance expertise very valuable. The sector is a challenge as new untried (locally) regulations must be brought into the projects and sometimes demand creative solutions or advancing new legal instruments.

Furthermore, the firm is developing leading Compliance and Antitrust practices to help clients adapt to the new and increasing regulations.

We also see a trend in cryptocurrencies and blockchain driven by the low cost of energy and infrastructure in the country.

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

Our goal has always been to provide the best quality service through the best talent and infrastructure.  Our main change to reinforce this goal, is to invest more in software and AI for document management, time billing and reporting to deliver the best quality services in the most efficient way for clients.

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

The pandemic has reinforced the importance of technology. As everyone else, we increased interaction with clients through virtual meetings. These meetings through the different platforms have opened an opportunity to deliver the services in new ways presenting the information right away with different parties around the world. Furthermore, we are reinforcing a hybrid workplace, letting clients and professionals interact in the most efficient and flexible way.

On the other hand, we are developing client portals in order to offer instant access to client’s documentation.

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

Over the years we have also tried to be a one-stop shop firm for our clients for legal and other related services. We have provided clients with the key connections in the country or business/economy insight of the country. We try to add value by helping them develop a business plan considering the legal perspective.

The incorporation and professional growth of talent will benefit our clients. We have identified key sectors and practice areas where specialized and experienced professionals are needed.  Consequently, we have hired leading experts in each field, or specialized our existing attorneys. The result is highly experienced and trained teams that meet and surpass the full spectrum of companies’ business requirements. –

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

We believe that clients highly appreciate stability and strategic direction provided by their trusted law firm. It will therefore remain our goal to continuously focus on understanding our clients’ specific context and strategy in order to deliver innovative, practicable solutions and establish trust. Clients look for timely personalized services. This includes speaking the language of the boardroom and business, not just legalese.

Our three year plan therefore involves a steady grow of our firm trying to have the most specialized talent in the legal areas that develop on a national and international level.