Interview with: SELDA TAŞYÜREK KÖKSAL, MANAGING PARTNER

KAYA KÖKSAL ATTORNEY PARTNERSHIP | View firm profile

Selda TASYUREK KOKSAL, managing partner of KAYA KÖKSAL Attorney Partnership, explains how their newly established firm takes on a new approach towards their clients in the current situation of Turkish legal market.

What do you see as the main points that differentiate [Kaya Köksal] from your competitors?

We have recently established our firm in 2021 with my partner Yılmaz Kaya who is both a certified public accountant and a lawyer. We have young and passionate team members who are very experienced and well-educated in their areas and keep themselves updated on the latest developments in their practice areas. I am very proud of our team and their approach towards their work and our clients.

We are a full-service law firm which not only provides service in main legal areas such as corporate, M&A, and litigation as most boutique full-service law firms in Turkey do, but also covers other areas such as tax, audits, human resources and project management.

Our employment department works closely with the human resources departments of our clients and provides service not only on employment law, but also social security issues as if they are a member of the HR department. Our construction team provides a project management service to our clients from the moment they decide to start a construction project until the end of such project, even after if there is any dispute. During the construction projects we work like a claim manager and support our clients’ project teams at all times.

In addition to having a certified public accountant as a partner in our firm, we have a wide team consisting of public accountants, independent auditors and counsels who are qualified as CPAs in various jurisdictions. This gives us a great power in tax department and mergers and acquisitions by allowing us looking at both sides of the same coin. Our team has great knowledge on legal, commercial and tax audits, and therefore, able to provide a full due diligence and conclude mergers and acquisitions in all aspects.

We do not provide only consultancy and advisory services to our clients. Each of our lawyers have experience and knowledge on the areas closely related to their department and work as an integral part of our clients’ organization as if they are a department in our clients’ companies. Our teams can work independently and together when needed. Since we are not a big law firm consisting of hundreds of lawyers there is a close connection between all departments, and this gives us an opportunity to take the issues as a whole.

In addition, our principle is to involve partners to all aspects of the services; our clients can easily reach to our partners for any issue directly and all works are carried out under a partner’s constant supervision.

To sum up, I believe all companies need a good law firm, a good tax advisor and a financial advisor. Our firm can provide all these important roles to our clients under one roof.

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

I believe IT law, cyber-crimes, data protection and e-commerce will be growing in the next 12 months. The world is changing, and this pandemic also made it change faster. The substantial increase on the usage of online programs and shopping via e-commerce websites during the pandemic made legal issues revolving around these areas much more popular. The circumstances and the developing world forces us to become “online”. Therefore, more cyber-crimes are committed each passing day. In addition, with the Personal Data Protection Law (dated 2016) entering into force, the companies are in the process of adaptation and implementation of new rules on personal data. These areas are all related, and I believe these practices are now growing and will continue to grow in the upcoming years.

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

Our firm is established in 2021, therefore we have not made any changes yet. However, learning from the systematical and organizational deficiencies we have formerly experienced, we implemented a new system and organization in our firm. The most important thing in our firm is that our clients can reach to our lawyers and partners 7/24 (hotline) and we get back to our clients fast because we know the business world is fast. We do not insist to write 20 pages of legal memoranda if the question can be easily answered on the phone or via an email. I believe this approach is more beneficial to our clients who need legal advice as fast as possible, and this is a more cost and time efficient way for our clients. Also with the technological support we can provide case, cost and time reports in seconds whenever our clients’ needs this information.

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

Yes, definitely! Especially during the pandemic, as all law firms, we have benefited from the technology and our services were never interrupted. We use online programs to hold meetings and videoconferences. We also use a few programs specially developed for lawyers to keep track of our cases, documents and provide regular case reports, time, and expense reports. We use technology so that all members of our team can simultaneously work on the same document all around the world, decreasing the time required within our firm to finalize an assignment. In this way, we can provide a faster service to our clients. We also check legal developments daily basis and send online newsletters, legal memoranda and articles to our clients so that they are kept up to date.

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

We have provided several benefits to our clients with our services. The most recent experience is the tax programming service that we have provided to one of our clients, where we have implemented a multi-year taxation plan which relieved our client from nearly half of its annual tax burden. We believe our tax department changed and provided great value to our client’s business. Having said that, I believe that the thing which adds value to our clients’ business is not a certain project or action, but our overall attitude and approach to their legal issues. We provide a proactive service to our clients, using our knowledge and experience on the sector where our client conducts business, we develop commercial, legal and strategic pathways for our clients even before they notice that there may be an issue. We also encourage our clients with our very cost and time efficient approach, to seek legal advice before taking any action. Our clients got used to obtain legal advice before entering any project, contract or business relationships, even though the issue at hand is a relatively small, such as entering into an advertisement agreement or obtaining a minor service for a website. As a dispute lawyer I can say that, sadly this prevents a lot of possible disputes where we would act as representatives for our clients. Jokes aside, our clients tend to resolve their disputes without going to courts/tribunals with our assistance and well-designed contracts.

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

Clients value stability and corporate memory and expects their law firms not only to give them legal directions, but also strategical and (sometimes) commercial directions as well. After working several years with a law firm, that firm become a part of the organization of the company and its value increases. Thus, even in cases where our engagement is a project based one, our purpose is always to establish a long-term relationship with our clients, by understanding and internalizing their structure, mentality, and goals. As I said, we are a newly established firm, but we have great lawyers who are hardworking, experienced and value their work. Therefore, we set our goal to be in tier 1 in Legal 500 in the upcoming years and gain international knowledgeability. The most important thing is not to lose the quality while growing. Unfortunately, we witness a lot of firms losing their quality, reaction times and partner attention while growing. Therefore, we aim to grow without losing our quality and boutique mentality. We also would like to add new practice areas to our practice with experienced lawyers in these areas to provide more to our clients.