SWS Law Firm: The existence of the legal office in the market given dramatic growth in competition

Contact: Bartosz Wachowiak, Managing Partner, SWS Law Firm
Posted Sep 27, 2017

The legal services market in Poland is almost 25 years old. As a result of resent changes (increasing number of lawyers and boutique law firms on the legal market) the number of law offices in Warsaw by prospect is tenfold compared to Scandinavian countries.

  1. Competition defines who we are

We compete with mid-sized law firms, boutique legal firms and sometimes with large international players. Hence as SWS Law Firm we had to combine different properties of legal products and services to ensure that we can stand up to market competition, including those peculiar to:

  • boutique legal firms such as: antitrust law, energy law, postal law, insurance law, telecommunications law;
  • large International law firms such as handling large investment projects and large litigation cases;
  • law offices providing standard legal services including verifying contracts, debt collection, day-to-day corporate law services.
  1. The Client is the King

There has been a shift in the perception of legal services. They are no longer seen as a Holy Grail but now have the status of a regular commodity.

Now it is essential to understand the client’s business and trends and focus on seeking new business solutions. Clients want to buy the solutions rather than legal advice .

As SWS Law Firm we had to change two things in our approach:

  • a customer-centric rather than a lawyer-centric service;
  • a part of low-level work for clients should be carried out as an added value (for free) to get to know our clients’ needs and offer them tailor made legal services.
  1. General Counsel – New Sheriff in Town

The position of the head of the legal department has recently been strengthened.  Over 50% of heads of legal departments report to Presidents of the Management Board and almost 20% to Management Board members.

Attuning SWS Law Firm to the growing importance of the General Counsel:

  • our lawyers had to learn how to apply the language of benefits used by corporations (providing business-oriented legal solutions);
  • due to DG’s expectations in regard of specialized expertise we were forced to carry out work in specific practice areas (e.g. competition law, postal law, intellectual property law,). We have been investing in post-graduate education for our lawyers in those fields.;
  • personal long-term relations based on trust;
  • getting to know and understanding our client’s business in order to become an equal partner to in-house legal teams.