Grégoire Mangeat: “We have introduced legal project management to handle multi-jurisdictional and complex litigation matters”
The Managing Partner of MANGEAT and its Head of Risk Management and Compliance, who also heads the General Counsel Desk, talk to Leaders League about the evolving challenges of corporate compliance, the importance of soft skills, and the firm’s differentiation in the market.
MANGEAT X Leaders League
Leaders League: What is the vision and positioning of MANGEAT in the Swiss legal market?
Grégoire: MANGEAT celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2021. We are proud of our team’s achievements, and we have established ourselves as a reputable mid-size firm. The Swiss legal market is highly competitive with many firms of various sizes and practices. The legal profession has also been evolving and so have the needs of clients.
The addition of My-Hué TAN to our team contributes to the changes in our firm’s culture, competencies, and legal service delivery models which MANGEAT has initiated over the past year. The diverse background and language capabilities of our team members enable us to equally counsel domestic and international companies from various industries and sectors, as well as private clients. We want to continue attracting talents with international experience and developing our agility by offering alternative legal services that matter to our clients’ business and operating environments. Speaking the client’s language, meeting their needs, using active listening and pragmatism; these are among the soft skills that our clients appreciate.
Being a smaller firm is an advantage. As entrepreneurs, we enjoy pushing boundaries and trying new ways of thinking. For instance, we have introduced legal project management to handle multi-jurisdictional and complex litigation matters. This helps to increase efficiency and facilitate teamwork. In addition, we encourage our team members to give back to the community. We have been advising on a pro bono basis organizations such as Mission89.
MANGEAT has a legal operations department: can you tell us what this means to your firm and how it contributes to servicing your clients?
My-Hué: As Grégoire explained, our legal profession is evolving and so are our clients’ needs. This is an opportunity for us to shift gears and adjust our managerial approach. We are a law firm but also a business whose management is equally important to sustain its growth, reputation, value-add services, and attractiveness. I like to compare the firm’s operations to the human spine. Some vertebrae are more important than others. We have prioritized five pillars: people, client care, business development, marketing and communication, and technology.
For example, our people pillar includes the challenges of attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse pool of talent. We are convinced that it starts from the very first interaction with an individual; be it an employee or a client, the first impression counts! We have thus revamped our recruitment process and methodology. We care about bringing a human touch and offering constructive and personalized feedback to candidates.
It is paramount to continuously strengthen our organizational capabilities and foster feedback at all levels at MANGEAT to support client care and dynamics of our team. This directly translates to the satisfaction of our clients and the positioning of our brand.
MANGEAT is known in the Swiss market for its expertise in compliance and white-collar crime: Can you please shed light on the current markets for these areas and how you differentiate yourselves?
My-Hué: Our financial crime and investigations practice relies on the complementary competencies of six lawyers, including Grégoire. The team has developed a reputable expertise in representing domestic and international clients in high-profile, complex cases of white-collar crime, including those under media scrutiny. These cases have demonstrated the maturity of our team in mastering not only the legal technicalities and proceedings, but also our ability to counsel our clients through the entire legal cycle.
Grégoire: There are soft and technical legal skills. These soft skills include emotional intelligence, which is very important to better understand clients’ needs and manage crises in white-collar criminal matters. For example, litigators need to articulate a convincing story while defending a client in court. In my 20+ years of litigation practice, I continue learning new soft skills and appreciate the possibilities they have offered to my team and myself.
We also advise clients through preventive compliance programs. Compliance is constantly evolving and becoming more complex. These programs focus on fraud, anti-money laundering, and corruption which are essential to Swiss banks. However, new risks are emerging. Swiss companies in other industries, especially multinationals and those operating in regulated sectors, are more aware of ethics, compliance, and governance due to increased regulatory scrutiny.
Our new risk management and compliance practice aims at responding to these corporate challenges. Clients need strategic and multidisciplinary advice while establishing compliance programs, conducting legal investigations, and handling remediation processes. We have the leadership, business strategy, and operational experience to work with clients and offer tailored compliance programs that also integrate risk management.
You have recently strengthened your firm’s employment practice. Can you tell us about your team and its ambition?
My-Hué: Our ambition is simple: we want to do more than contentious work. We support alternative approaches, such as mediation, to de-escalate conflictual situations, as well as human risk management. A pragmatic approach is indispensable to reach clients’ objectives and reduce legal costs. In addition, the ability to work cross-functionally and understand the corporate environment allow us to anticipate day-to-day human resource risks and challenge our clients accordingly.
Grégoire: Whenever suitable, we join forces and create synergies across our respective practices to advise on prevention tactics and risk mitigation strategies. For example, we accompany clients in their reorganization projects relating to new policies drafting, risk assessments or operational restructurings. We also stand by our clients’ senior leadership team and work together to find solutions to organizational challenges. Finally, we leverage leadership and operational skills to help our clients align their organizational re-design with risk-based thinking.
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