Interview with: João Vieira de Almeida, managing partner

VdA | View firm profile

What do you see as the main points that differentiate your firm from your competitors?

A unique One Firm Firm culture, that impacts on how we work and interact with each other and the clients; a solid footprint in lusophone and francophone Africa, with an integrated network of offices in 13 jurisdictions.

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

M&A, Real Estate, Litigation, Tax, Banking&Finance. Economic activity will continue to push these areas, as the country’s recovery maintains its pace.

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

We restructured our practices matrix (and our governance model), to enhance a better integration and management of Knowledge, an even more integrated and collaborative approach to clients and industries, and the advantages of technological tools. I believe this will increase our ability to deliver more value, more efficiently.

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

Definitely. We are already developing an AI project that will enable the integration of technology in the services we provide as well as in our interaction with clients.

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

Recently, we developed a Kaizen project where we helped a major real estate promoter to optimize its real estate development and sale processes (from the moment the client pays its first on-site visit to the execution of real estate deed).

By using the Kaizen approach we were able to obtain an holistic view as: (i) we mapped the critical business and legal paths – VdA’s, the client’s and the buyer’s ones; (ii) we uncovered the difficulties experienced by all stakeholders and (iii) we jointly built business and legal solutions (such as a negotiation matrix).

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

Clients value firms that follow a strategic direction, on a stable and consistent way.

At VdA, our main challenges for the next 3 years will be convergence, collaboration and technology.