Interview with: Péter Lakatos LL.M., Managing Partner

Lakatos, Köves and Partners | View firm profile

Dr. Péter Lakatos LL.M., Managing Partner of Hungarian leading law firm, Lakatos Köves and Partners (LKT) gives an impression how the firm is combining business solution with an innovative approach and local market knowledge with global expertise adapting to clients’ changing needs.

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

We believe that we occupy a small niche between the international network firms and local firms, and combine the best of each of those groups. Most of us trained in the international firms and work principally for international client and yet we have the flexibility and independence of a local firm and have been established in the local market for as long as anyone.

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

We have been expanding for several years and see that continuing, not necessarily specific to particular practice areas. However we anticipate increased demand in a number of areas, for example, in our M&A team with a particular focus on certain sectors e.g. energy, telecoms and healthcare. In finance we anticipate the fallout from the financial distress caused by the pandemic. The amount of work handled by our litigation practice continues to grow. Tax, labour law and consumer protection are also growth areas for us. The drivers behind most of that growth will be a mixture of positive and negative trends in the economy – on the positive side, the continuing attractiveness of Hungary as a relatively low cost base close to the main European markets, in particular for Asian companies as they review their supply chains. On a more negative side the stresses and strains caused by the pandemic and trends such as digitalization will be important.

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

I would highlight two changes, one specific to our firm and one relevant to all firms but which we believe we have handled well. This specific development is the continuing refinement of our Time Mind practice management system which unlike many such systems is tailored specifically to the needs of law firm. This system is a comprehensive “integrated” system embracing client and BD data base, time recording, document and e-mail management, multicurrency billing, and financial reporting system, which operates on a real time base information. Attesting to its value is the fact that several firms in Hungary and around the region have adopted this system. The more general change is the switch to online working which went extremely smoothly.

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

I generally believe that the tech capabilities determines the competitiveness of all industries nowadays, and the legal business is not exempted from that. Our efficiency and profitability are very much depends on the successful implementation and application of the information technologies in our practice, and it is also a requirement of most of the clients even during the day to day interactions. We must follow the latest trends as well.

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

In the last couple of years we have had several examples of introducing clients to transaction, which goes beyond the service normally expected of lawyers. Our creative thinking has often helped our clients find innovative solutions in groundbreaking transactions. Life in Hungary over the last thirty years has been interesting and often challenging, and it certainly continues to be so. Feedback from our clients confirms that our firm is seen as one of the leading law firms in Hungary. Using the knowledge and experience we have gained during the past three decades we look forward to continuing to respond to these challenges and working together with our current and new clients.

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

We certainly believe that our clients appreciate our track record and the fact that we have been active in this market on the highest level for many years. Equally I believe our clients appreciate our focus on assisting foreign investors in relation to their investments and activities in Hungary. We see that foreign investment into Hungary is continuing and we aim to be advising those new investors in addition to those already here.