Interview with: Şeniz Uluköklü, Managing Partner
Istanbul based law firm Uluköklü & Partners’ Managing Partner talks about how the firm provides tailor made solutions on key practice areas of Collective Labor Law, Media and Entertainment Law, Mediation, Litigation and Intellectual Property Law.
1) What do you see as the main points that differentiate Uluköklü & Partners from your competitors?
There are a few points that differentiate us from other Law Firms
- We believe that the success of every legal case depends on how the issue is defined and how client engagement is managed. We strongly believe in actively listening to our clients, as it helps us comprehensively understand their business environment, key challenges, and the legal case as a whole. This engagement is essential to us, and we dedicate significant time to it.
- Our team has extensive legal knowledge and expertise in various legal topics and disputes, including litigation and mediation. With a combination of legal expertise and commercial understanding, we offer personalized solutions to our client’s issues.
- Our law firm is unique in that we specialize in collective labour law. We have extensive experience representing all parties involved in collective labour relations, including unions, employees, and employers.
- At our company, we recognize that each client’s situation is essential and requires unique attention. Our approach involves a comprehensive assessment, thoughtful planning, and dedicated execution. Our team takes a proactive approach to ensure the best possible outcome for the client and assumes full responsibility throughout the process.
- We believe in long-standing relationships with clients. To achieve this, we prioritize engagement with clients at the partner level. We are committed to being accessible to our clients throughout every stage of the legal process
- We work closely with our international and local partners and academic consultants to ensure a strong support system for legal matters. We engage them as needed to strengthen our position.
- Our team takes pride in its diversity and is particularly proud to be led by one of Turkey’s few female legal managing partners.
2) You mentioned expertise on Collective Labor Law, can you please elaborate how you create value in this area?
Collective labour law is a complex process that demands a well-planned strategy and meticulous execution. We are one of the very few law firms in Turkey specializing in collective labour law. During their collective bargaining process, we supported one of the largest trade unions in the aviation sector, which had over 25,000 members. We also offered legal assistance and helped them expand their unionization efforts. In addition, we have provided representation for numerous employees and individual workers who sought to unionize or experienced violations of their union rights. We are proud of the win-win solutions we have achieved through multiple bargaining agreements and landmark court decisions that protect union rights and address violations.
3) Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
we have a crucial role to play in promoting a circular economy.
World is constantly evolving and forcing us to evolve. As a lawyer, I have been working hard to keep on with changes, not just in legal systems in my jurisdiction but also in the world we live in. I believe the most crucial initiative for everyone, including myself as a lawyer, is sustainability. I think that the first step towards achieving sustainable practices is to establish sustainability policies and regulations.
In my view, sustainability in the workplace is becoming increasingly important, and unions are likely to play a significant role in promoting this practice, particularly in Turkey. Sustainability in the workplace means creating environment-friendly workspaces and underpinning how employees work and the workspace they work from. The recent pandemic has already challenged our current ways of working, and with the worsening environmental challenges, labour law and, more importantly, collective labour law will be important in creating sustainable work environments.
4) What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
When I first established the firm, I was clear about what I wanted to build – a true specialized, focused and rigorous law practice providing a top nudge service to clients. I knew that to create the quality service and high client satisfaction, deciding on the law firm’s values was key. From the start, I decided that focusing on the human aspect of things and the value of people was a must. Also, focusing on how anything can be possible, instead of everything being impossible, was key.
Initially, I dedicated time to sharing the expertise I acquired during my 20-year career in law with my entire team and tried to help them to become the best lawyers they could be. In this sense, changing the focus of the law firm to be more people-oriented benefitted our clients, too, as we don’t see them just as a client. Instead, we see them as who they are, which provides us with a better understanding of legal issues that lies before us and navigates us to provide long-standing solutions to avoid further possible legal issues.
5) Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
We provide tailor-made solutions for every client. We consider the issue thoroughly with any of our clients, not just the conflict our client is facing. This allows us to see not only potential risks but also strengths and opportunities for improvement. Our objective and integrated perspective supports our clients’ understanding and acceptance of the solutions, and it motivates them to be part of the solution. I want to use a quote from a long-standing business partner;
“Uluköklü didn’t stop at just resolving the current lawsuits, and they also provided the current lawsuits, they
also provided us with strategies to avoid future similar lawsuits. To further benefit from their expertise, we
utilized their “HR Processes Audit” service. The results of this audit helped guide our development efforts i
preventing future issues.”
Another quote from another client,
“Above all, she makes you feel like you are part of her team rather than a client or a case file. Previously
a couple of times, she handled my legal problems regarding labour law and real estate conflict
resolution and managed to create the best outcome from impossible situations. She could pull off the
impossible from my hopeless labour law case.”
6) Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
In the next three years, we want to strengthen our leading position in the selected fields of expertise by further growing the firm. We currently focus on the satisfaction of our current clients and provide the best legal services. We are focusing on developing our personal and working environment to improve our client productivity and satisfaction.
We are focusing on using mediation as a more efficient alternative to litigation when it comes to settling our client’s disputes, as mediation is flexible, cheap, and quick. In addition, we are striving to make a greater impact not only on our clients but also on society and the world around us. Our goal is to reduce our carbon footprint by finding effective solutions. Moving forward, we plan to assist and counsel our clients in adopting sustainable practices.