Interview with: José Cruz Campillo, Managing Partner
Ulises Cabrera’s Managing Partner, José Cruz Campillo, explains the firm’s expansion and innovation through the last 3 years.
What do you see as the main points that differentiate Ulises Cabrera from your competitors?
Ulises Cabrera has one of the strongest and most stable work cultures, lawyers seek to come to work to Ulises Cabrera and find career development opportunities that are tailored to the needs of today’s market. In addition to this, we have an expanding multidisciplinary team, which lives up to our vision of experience in constant evolution, this allows us to offer a holistic vision to each client according to their industries. Customers get personalized and timely service for every need.
Our team is best known for providing a world-class service delivering expert legal advice with a strong local player skillset. Clients appreciate and value our local insights and the fact that we know how to implement the law, allowing that any transaction flows in the right direction. We also take the time to understand and know the clients’ business: we know the law and we know how the business operates, transferring that knowledge to the client in every deal we manage with a critical insight of their own industry.
We are mainly sought for our expertise, recognized experience, and good-will in the legal market since 1966. Clients come to Ulises Cabrera seeking our highly regarded ethical reputation and impeccable track record. Our availability and organized manner to work on matters is also and appreciated trade of the department for our clients.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Without a doubt, the practices that will experience the greatest growth over the next 12 months will be Real Estate & Tourism (thanks to an arduous campaign to promote investment in the Dominican Republic, as well as strategies focused on the tourism industry), New Technologies and Litigation.
Ulises Cabrera has always had one of the strongest real estate departments in the Dominican Republic, with a wide range of clients and cases, however, these services were never advertised for foreign potential clients, and for the last few years we have been focusing this practice and seeing very favorable results.
Our Real Estate & Tourism team is led by our partner Leslie Cabrera, who has extensive experience in the tourism industry and real estate development with foreign and local companies, likewise, the team is also led by our Senior Associate Jeanny Aristy, who has a multidisciplinary approach to real estate and tourism transactions. Jeanny is a strong player that can advise on environmental matters, permits, litigate, and of course advise on real estate matters.
On the other hand, the litigation practice is one of the most challenging, in a good way, for Ulises Cabrera. Our litigation lawyers have a wide range of cases that require innovative approaches and legal strategies that guarantee favorable results in a very high percentage.
Both departments have shown tremendous growth over the last few years and the team is expanding further into these practice areas.
As for New Technologies, is a consequence of the times we are living. Artificial intelligence, not only in the legal market, but for other industries that remain a relevant part of our daily practice such as banking, health and digital services. We move together with our clients in understanding new technologies as part of the present needs. Our highly regarded IP teams is leading in this effort.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
During the last few years, Ulises Cabrera has been strengthening its team of professional qualified lawyers and providing a series of automated legal services. We are retaining and hiring multidisciplinary professionals who are passionate about bringing innovative and creative solutions to our clients. We also had been restructuring the way we present our services and internal processes as part of our new quality services standards; this includes a wide range of LegalTech tools that helps us enhance our internal processes and improving our response times, which is an aspect that clients highlight as positive about our services.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
The short answer is yes. Unequivocally, the COVID-19 sanitary emergency catapulted the use of technology to never seen levels. Pre COVID-19, Ulises Cabrera took the visionary decision to invest in improving its technology platform allowing associates to work remotely (as if we knew what was coming) and adding technological tools to improve productivity geared to provide cost-effective service. During and post the COVID-19 emergency, Ulises Cabrera continued to invest and to train its personnel in the use of the new technology, allowing us to provide service wherever an internet connection is available. Videoconferences have replaced in a very high percentage, in-person meetings, even traveling, which, again, have helped us provide cost-effective services.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
Ulises Cabrera has been involved in numerous establishments of foreign companies in the Dominican Republic. By understanding the clients’ business as well as the applicable regulation, we have been able to assist our clients in creating a business structure suitable for their needs. In that sense, we recently advised a company whose main main purpose is to vertically integrate premium commodities, primarily cacao, enabling farmers to capture 40x the value of the raw crop by operating equitably across the value chain (fermenting beans, refining and producing cacao paste, butter through a premium brand). We have assisted our client in the structuring and setup of its operations in the Dominican Republic. Such assistance has included legal opinions in connection with the most beneficial tax and corporate structure to be implemented, set up of the Dominican branch, obtaining its classification as an export free zone company; as well as drafting and assisting in the negotiations of all the contracts to be executed to carry out our client’s operations in the Dominican Republic (farmers, service, employment, real estate, providers, etc.). This representation is relevant given the intricate structure proposed as well as the involvement and benefits that our client will grant to the local cocoa farmers and the non-profit organisation of which the farmers are members.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
We see Ulises Cabrera to play a role of a business partner to assist clients in strategic decision-making. Clients are looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms, if you fail on providing these aspects, I can assure you that the clients will change its perception of the firm and will seek another one who gathers these requirements. At Ulises Cabrera, a healthy work environment is vital, our work culture is based on this aspect. If your firm does not have an internal stability and strategic direction, is practically impossible to offer this to clients. In order to provide high quality services, you need to comply with your internal client needs first.