Interview with: Piotr Augustyniak, Founding Partner
Piotr Augustyniak explains how the HNWI market is developing in Poland
What do you see as the main points that differentiate PATH Law LLP from your competitors?
The concept behind PATH Law and other firms is somewhat unique in the Polish market. When we established the firm in 2015, the Private Client market existed, and most of these clients used lot of different firms, but there were very few, if any, which differentiated themselves as private clients practitioners. Our goal was to dedicate our work and to build a team of lawyers who were able to help clients from various angles, which we succeeded in doing. Now we are a one-stop shop for any Polish HNWI who is usually also an entrepreneur. This is why we have strengthened our forces with an eminent M&A boutique firm . Today we can support our clients even more.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
This decade is a time of compliance. The EU, OECD and other organisations are trying to develop the transparency, reporting and exchange of information. Every entrepreneur and citizen of the world (and most of our clients are) has to comply on many fields. This helps to fight against tax evasion and money laundering. I do believe that this is the right direction, however the number of obligations may sometimes be very difficult to follow. Therefore, that kind of support is essential.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
We believe that more complex support is better for clients. As I mentioned earlier, we have strengthened our capacities through an important merger with a group of excellent lawyers. This gives clients a comfort of work with one organisation and one leading lawyer who is able to coordinate the whole work under one roof. We also see that Polish clients want to expand their businesses internationally, which means they need very strong support. On the other hand, they sell businesses in Poland, acquire new ones and are very active with succession planning. This is demanding process and and we are happy tobe part of it.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
We are very proud users of advanced IT tools. This is very fortunate, as we introduced a lot of them even before Covid. Also our clients are nomads; they work and take decisions from many places worldwide. It helps. We are able to conclude a lot of important agreements online using secure connections and safe signatures. It is amazing how technologies have changed the world, even the legal world. I am a big fan of it and hope that more processes will be automated and safe a lot of time for both lawyers and clients. It may also decrease a risk of errors.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
We face a lot of challenges in this respect. One of the most serious is intragenerational change. Our experience helped us many times to support clients in these sensitive processes. Moreover, we suggested some strategic changes which, at the end of the day, influenced a lot on the value and/or recognition of clients’ businesses by the stakeholders. I must admit that this kind of knowledge is an important decision-making factor when clients decide to work with us.
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 in long-lasting partnerships. This is particularly visible in private clients’ practice. While some of the practices will be partially replaced by technologies, the personal touch will remain crucial for private wealth lawyers. In my opinion, we are on the right track, are mandated by exceptional clients and do our best to deliver first-class products. Any firm which is flexible can be well-placed in the legal market. I believe that our ability to adapt will put us in pole position for the future. Onwards and upwards.