The interview with Lukash Mazur, a cofounder of the Polish consulting company – the ECDDP group, opens a new column in the Yurydychna Gazeta where we will be covering peculiarities of legal business in other countries. Famous lawyers, heads of companies will tell us about basic principles of doing business in their countries, give their advice, and share their professional secrets.
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The legal services market in Poland is quite competitive. The number of new lawyers on the market is growing from year to year, and is several times higher than the number of lawyers who leave the legal arena. As a consequence thereof, law firms make regular efforts to improve quality of services provided to their clients, and at the same time they try to extend the range of their legal practice to meet various needs of their clients.
Today, our clients expect law firms to not only interpret articles of the law but also make concrete proposals and take certain actions that could be implemented in business strategies. In my opinion, this trend will be maintained for several years to come. Law firms specializing in one branch of law only would face difficulties in keeping their position on the market of legal services. The strongest positions and perspectives belong to the firms offering full range of legal services. For it, they hire experienced lawyers working in different law fields where they could prove themselves as experts and show their competence. Therefore most law firms hire “multifunctional” specialists from various law fields or increase their staff with specialists in one field, thus setting up numerous specialized groups of lawyers. To date, you can hardly find a lawyer specializing in one branch of law only, as the market requires us to be competent in many branches.
Besides, lawyers should have fundamental economic knowledge, including among other, in accounting and finances. Knowledge in additional areas today is a requirement to provide services not only to businessmen, but also private individuals. It is why the ECDDP group is working to extend the framework of its possibilities and offers its clients a wide range of services in the field of taxation and legal consulting.
Is the number of international law firms on the Polish market big? Do they represent strong competition to national firms?
Legal services should keep apace with the time and trends initiated in Western European countries. Setting up international law firms is one of such trends. Traditional market of legal services has been transforming for over many years now. Every year, a growing number of young independent law firms having intention to conquer the international market is launched. It would be an ideal start for many firms. Those who have succeeded on the international market become competitors not only to Polish law firms, but also to international counterparts.
It is commonly known that an international law firm has much more range of possibilities and clients. In his turn, an influential client has numerous advantages giving preference to the firm that is capable of providing really full support to his business on the territory of Poland, and, first of all, outside of the country.
Do law firms and consulting firms providing legal services act as competitors?
Competition between legal and consulting firms, first of all legal and taxation consulting firms, is verified by the staff of one or the other firm, their competence, experience, and demand for services provided by them. It should be stressed again that the market of legal services is looking for professionals who know well formal interpretation of law and understand economic principles. The cases we are often handling these days are mostly in the business context. For Polish lawyers to become really competitive, also on international markets, the educational programs should be modified so that their experience and skills outside of the law field could correspond to the experience of their peers from other countries who now besides their knowledge in the law field know fundamentals of economy.
How does your firm position itself on the market?
The ECDDP group was founded in 2005 and is one of leading international consulting firms among the firms that started its activity on the territory of Poland. Today, the group includes ten firms in the country and abroad that together offer full range of high quality services. We closely follow new needs appearing and changes occurring on the market. We provide services in the fields of law and taxation consulting, facilitate strategies development and selection of the best solutions for our clients’ businesses, optimize processes and operational costs, and support our clients at decision making on key issues in their companies. Besides, we organize various trainings for our clients – for hard and soft skills, hold audits and offer our accounting services.
Our firm guarantees the best quality of services that ensures success of our clients in their businesses. The ECDDP group team is foremost high-profile employees with good achievements and work experience. Our specialists are highly qualified professionals in certain branches of law and taxation, and the number of specialists in our team allows us to offer packaged services to our clients including in various business fields in Poland as well as abroad.
Consulting is our main mission, and packaged servicing is our objective. Experienced experts team sets the main objective to duly satisfy needs of entrepreneurs, share their knowledge and experience in various business fields with the clients. The ECDDP group means, primarily, professionalism in action that is striving to higher quality standards of services it provides. The best prove is the group’s annual high ratings in prestigious ratings in taxation consulting field. However, we continue pursuing our rapid development, searching for new objectives to successfully reach them. We try to go beyond expectations of our clients and offer them innovative solutions. The ECDDP team chiefly relies on accumulation of its competence and experience.
One of our main objectives is to build long-term relations with our clients and, we believe that due to our flexibility and openness in satisfying needs of our clients we successfully reach the goals set.
You have founded your firm together with your partner in 2005. Your firm has become the first consulting firm that launched its representative offices in other countries. What in your opinion was the main component of your success and had impact on rapid and positive development of your firm?
Our group puts reliability and transparency on the line. One of our key principles is clarity of information presented and evaluation given. Rapid response to issues that arise is considered a standard requirement, and flexibility and capability to adjust to changes and arising issues are our priorities.
The ECDDP group is foremost its people who are our main asset. Continuous improvement of qualification and skills development of our employees through attendance of high level congresses and conferences in Poland, participation in discussions and thematic groups is a basis of our group operation.
Solutions we offer are results of our long-term cooperation with experts; they are developed and verified by specialists from many fields. The diversity of the services we offer is based on that the OCDDP team includes experienced specialists competent in business and their branches. Engagement and close cooperation within the firm are extrapolated to our cooperation with our clients and our successful performance. Due to the above, our firm has won the trust of our clients.
To prove quality of our brand and guarantee security to our clients, the ECDDP group has the highest insurance on the market among consulting firms in the amount of 20 000 000,00 zloty. This way we show confidence and guarantee that the strategies and solutions offered are completely reliable.
Do your foreign representative offices engage local legal and consulting firms?
Offering its services, the ECDDP group ensures the highest level of services to its clients. We have always been working to meet interests of our clients aspiring to satisfy every client regardless of a place where the services are rendered. For better maneuvers with foreign legal tax related articles, we are always open to new contacts, cooperation and partnership with local offices. For the ECDDP group, it first of all means better understanding of legal tax related articles effective in a country or locality, and friendly relations with local law firms. As it is satisfaction of the client’s needs goes first for us, and not occupying the market. We are interested to know how local law firms act learning from our knowledge and experience during our cooperation with them. It represents consistent and infinite process of rationalization and enhancement of the services we provide.
What issues in doing business do Polish legal and consulting firms encounter more often?
Today, the most important for the market of legal services is that the community does not regard addressing lawyers for assistance as necessity. According to various studies, neither cost of consulting, nor value of a proposal, nor specialization of an employee are of any importance. And I ask myself: if an entrepreneur, owner of a small or micro business does not use our services, then what substitutes them? I can hardly imagine a small businessman living from his own business who had never had any problems with law, taxes, administrative bodies, unfair competition, suppliers, or payments. My reply is: it is the Internet and advice of relatives and friends he might be relying on. The same was stated by over 50% of small companies. I am mostly impressed that many businessmen study codes and comments to them independently to find solutions to their legal and tax issues. I would not comment on that as considering the way law is taught today and in the extent law changes regularly, such approach contains many risks.
What approaches do you use in your work?
The main principle of our firm is complete immersion in the case of our client. Our main task is to clearly understand the issue our client presents to us. We have a talk to mainly get comprehensive information on the case, with which the client addresses us, and then we try to prepare our proposal that would meet expectations and the goal of our client. We are always happy to provide consulting and offer the most advantageous and reasonable solutions for the case.
Have you or your firm had any experience of cooperation under joint projects with Ukrainian lawyers? If yes, what were the projects? How would you estimate the work of Ukrainian lawyers?
The OCDDP group cooperates with the Illyashev and Partners firm providing services to Ukrainian and Polish clients. More often the services provided for natural and legal entities lie in the field of tax optimization. Having completed several projects, we would like to stress that we have been impressed with high professionalism of Ukrainian lawyers, and moreover – by their loyalty and capability to protect interests of their clients. Ukrainian lawyers possess fundamental methodical knowledge. Under several joint projects we have noticed the strongest features of Ukrainian lawyers, such as openness, efficiency, communication skills, and responsibility. Taking into account variety of experience and interests of Ukrainian lawyers and their consistency, we can surely cooperate with them implementing joint projects in various branches. Our cooperation guarantees compliance with all standards and regulations of professional ethics of lawyers, proving that the profession of a lawyer is worth of public trust. As a result of joint experience and fundamental knowledge, we ensure efficient, safe, and practical solutions for legal and taxation cases.
What would you tell your Ukrainian colleagues?
I would wish them inexhaustible possibilities to improve their competence and experience, inspiration, motivation, and desire to further professional skills enhancement and further success in reaching new goals and completing their everyday tasks.