Tier 1 Law Firm Review, the independent annual survey of law firms by the Swedish company Kantar Sifo, has showed that Lithuania’s business leaders consider the strategic and legal competences of Ellex Valiunas as unparalleled. Based on the latest data, the firm has placed at the top in the categories of Strategic Speaking Partner and Legal Competence.
This is the conclusion from the summary of insights from over 100 heads of domestic businesses and legal departments that spend more than EUR 15,000 on legal services annually. In this survey, the respondents shared their anonymous experiences of working with every major law firm in Lithuania.
Ieva Dosinaitė, partner with Ellex Valiunas has observed that people usually tend to expect the best solutions from lawyers, and with Ellex this guarantee seems to be a given and the clients appear to raise their expectations as a result. ‘The working experience of the last few years has showed that our team continues to have the highest degree of competence on the market. The ability to see more than the letter of the law and to promptly generate apt solutions, and to do it overnight if needed. This approach of ours has borne fruit once again,’ Ms Dosinaitė says.
In the opinion of Miroslav Nosevič, another partner with the firm, this kind of recognition and appreciation from the market leaders is very important: every year, the firm tries to step it up in the fields that the clients see as critical. ‘It is really nice to read comments, which say that the author “feels confident working with us” or recognises our “absolute professionalism”. This is how we perceive impeccable quality; therefore, seeing the results, we are grateful to our clients for their confidence and we are very proud of our team that works in close harmony towards the same goal,’ he says.
Strategic partnership: leadership benchmark in legal services
Mr Nosevič is positive that the competences of a strategic advisor are a benchmark of leadership in the sphere of legal services. It is the ability to approach the matters of its corporate clients strategically that has earned the firm its top marks this year again. What is more, its rating now is higher than ever before, which suggests that the firm is developing its strategic competences faster than the clients’ needs are able to grow.
In the meantime, the firm’s partner Dovilė Greblikienė believes that it takes more than legal savvy to be ahead of the rest. ‘We are presented with business questions and therefore we must be able to answer them in a competent manner. Speak reasonably about business development model solutions, financial planning, and other matters. The latest experience is here to prove it. Also, in the face of COVID-19, we are often given strategic, rather than legal questions. Few people ask about how they could obtain a right to some privilege or another, or how they could change their internal procedures whilst managing the new risks. It is very often that the question from the CEO is broader in nature: What am I missing? What risks or opportunities am I failing to assess? You can only give the right answer to this question when you combine an understanding of the client’s business, legal knowledge, and strategic ingenuity. Still, doing it would be a near impossibility if we did not have a broad network of contacts, and a steady finger on the market’s pulse. These are the things that help us shrewdly envision the ways out and spot the possibilities. Sometimes, such solutions are conceived in our minds ahead of the client’s needs – all we have to do is offer the course of action that we have grasped. By doing so, naturally, we become a strategic business adviser for decades to come,’ Ms Greblikienė says.
This thought is also confirmed by Vladas Algirdas Bumelis, board chairman of Biotechpharma: “Ellex lawyers thoroughly scrutinize the client’s requirements and products, which has truly exceeded our expectations – it’s a rare case where you can expect the lawyers to know well your area and industry from outside and you do not need to devote time for explaining the details. Specialized knowledge of each business area, contact network and innovation language creates a clear added value, as eventually you want to have Ellex as a partner not only in law issues, but also in the integrated business development, finance and economic areas.”
Attaining top-notch professional competence requires looking ten years ahead
Legal competence is Ellex Valiunas’s backbone and priority No 1. In the words of Algimantas Markauskas, Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltic’s CEO, that where the payoff of his investment in the high-quality services of this law firm lies. ‘This firm offers both legal services and business-oriented solutions. They have a 360-degree view of my needs and requirements. I have always considered legal services an investment that pays off. Ellex Valiunas have met this expectation on multiple occasions. We have been working with this firm for over 20 years, and it is a partner I could wish on anyone,’ he says.
The firm’s managing partner Rolandas Valiūnas believes that to achieve professional competence, one must not stop; that is why Ellex is perpetually raising the bar in this regard. ‘To achieve it today means that you have to look ten years ahead and start gathering the knowledge and experience you will need in the foreseeable future right now. We at Ellex are uniquely positioned to do that: we learn from our clients to better understand their next-generation business models, we maintain a close partnership with the Magic Circle firms in London and the largest firms in megalopolises that bring forth the largest volumes of innovations just as they drive the need for new regulation. We bring this knowledge to Lithuania. That is why today, we are the ones that advance the matters of legalising medicinal cannabis and offer solutions grounded on the practices of other countries. We work with universities as we handle the legal aspects of preparations for the era of autonomous cars and unmanned aerial vehicles. We accumulate knowledge about the latest global technologies and web challenges so that we can understand the gaps of national cybersecurity and spearhead the development of regulation in this field – these are just a few examples. The niche competences can only emerge when the team is sufficiently big to pursue very narrow specialisation and insightful enough in its predictions of the future and investments in new knowledge,’ Mr Valiūnas says with a high degree of assurance.
The Ellex Valiunas team invests around 1,000 hours annually in new knowledge, and nearly 2,000 hours in pro bono activity. Today, the firm’s line-up includes eight PhDs in Law.
The acclaim from the Kantar Sifo survey is not the first extraordinary accolade that Ellex Valiunas, member of Ellex, the leading group of law firms in the Baltics, received this year. The law firm with its team of over 100 legal professionals has been awarded as the Lithuanian law firm of the year by the international market research company Who’s Who Legal and has claimed top ratings in international law directories. The firm has also received a nomination in the best Baltic firm category at The Lawyer Awards.