Interview with: Marios Sioufas, Deputy Managing Director
Sioufas & Associates Law Firm | View firm profile
Deputy Managing Director, Marios Sioufas explains the vision and challenges that the firm will face in 2020 and how the managing team will address them.
What do you see as the main points that differentiate Sioufas & Associates Law Firm, from your competitors?
Sioufas & Associates Law Firm has been providing, since its establishment, legal services to Multinational entities, Greek companies and the Greek systemic Banks. Therefore it has established an extensive expertise on most Law fields. Our dispute resolution and out of court mediation departments have been developing extremely well, both in the amount of cases and recovered fees. The first reason, our Law Firm managed to be positioned and recognized as a leading Law Firm in banking law is our in-depth knowledge and effectiveness. On the same coin, our vast investments into new technologies and integrated management systems enabled us to manage centrally numerous legal cases, monitor performance and ensure provision of top quality legal services along with accurate and rapid reporting.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Our Law Firm advises investors in connection with the acquisition and restructuring of non-performing loans (NPL’s). We expect securitizations to continue to play a critical role in the Greek NPL market. All Greek systemic Banks will try to reduce their NPE stock by 2021 by an average of around 20%. The Bank of Greece and the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund have publicly presented a solution combining securitization with state subsidy. In this context, we expect to continue to develop our banking law departments adding new tools and legal services in connection with NPL dispute and out of court resolution.
At the same time, we believe that restructuring business bad debt, will allow in the long-term the Greek economy to grow and help our corporate clients to rebalance their businesses towards export-oriented sectors and the Greek banks to focus on the new technological challenges ahead, including Fintech, Blockchain and the digital transformation of payment systems and subsequently this will pave the way for expansion of our legal services to this effect.
An additional sector we expect to continue to develop in Greece is the Real Estate sector. Our law firm has been advising foreign and domestic investors in the acquisition of real estate assets. Through our interdisciplinary approach, our teams of multi-lingual lawyers provide holistic legal solutions to our clients in relation to both property titles and corporations’ legal due diligence (for asset and share transactions), drafting of services agreements (i.e. construction, renovation, lease, allotment etc.), the establishment of SVPs, legal opinions on regulatory issues etc.
Additionally, we expect more big investments projects to take place in the next twelve months also in the energy sector. The Greek Banks are actively looking to finance Renewable Energy Projects and so thorough due diligence, prudent development and project bankability are key. Greece also expands its interconnected network with new cables connecting Crete and the Cyclades islands.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
In our Law Firm, we always inquire what more we can offer to our clients. The affirmation of our dedication to constantly improve our legal services is expressed on our established procedures to perform annually customer and employees’ satisfaction surveys. We try to always maintain feedback on our services, organize face to face meetings with our clients and continuously report back on cases.
We strongly value the importance of client relationships. In order to serve our clients’ needs, we try to understand their business strategy and goals providing them with tailored-made and cost-effective legal solutions.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Sioufas & Associates takes pride in the active development of platforms and tools enhancing the client experience and driving down costs on more standardized projects and legal assignments. Our Law Firm collaborates with renowned international IT firms that provide software solutions in relation to data security and automation of data filing, using A.I. technology. Our data management platforms help us to provide our clients with accurate and fast reporting, accompanied with visual data presentations in order for them to better evaluate case trends, forecast their outcome and take their business decisions in connection with their legal cases, based on data evaluation.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
Our law firm has long professional experience and expertise in complex high value disputes and transactions. We always strive to give practical and business-oriented advice to our clients in order to optimize their costs and give them a fair evaluation of the potential gain at the end of a court trial against the benefits of a settlement under certain conditions before the trial or through it. We consistently provide legal advice and offer transaction support and judicial protection to local and international clients and therefore the examples where clients added value to their business are numerous. These include the restructuring of many client groups and the configuration of their tax liabilities, ensuring their continuing survival and profitability. In the Dispute Resolution field we have successfully defended clients from alleged claims on their assets in many high profile cases.
We adopt as a guideline the deep knowledge of the client’s reality, which is a presupposition for our performance. Combining this with the specialized legal and technical knowledge we build solutions for critical cases, negotiated compositions and special projects.
Our advice to clients is not just legal, it is an advice directed at overall value creation and sustainability in its wider sense, especially at times of human crisis where organizations are expected to show their human side
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
I strongly believe that businesses and employees are more than never attracted to purpose. We built our law firm around a set of values that we share among ourselves and also with our long term clients that is kindness, respect for all, truthfulness and serving people in need.
Stability and business continuity is one of the core concerns for our law firm. We seek to guarantee a balanced, positive and productive professional environment for our team of lawyers, to attract and retain talents and establish a broad and diversified network of clients. Being able to affect positively with our legal expertise and experience the banking, energy and trade sector is how we envision our firm in the next three years.