Leading the Luxembourg legal market, Arendt & Medernach is not resting on its laurels and is constantly contemplating the profession of lawyer and the value it can create for its clients. Managing Partner Jean-Marc Ueberecken analyzes in-depth the secrets of their success.
It’s a classic success story: since its creation in 1988, Arendt & Medernach has never stopped growing. Today it is the largest full-service law firm in Luxembourg with over 300 professionals, all specialized in cross-border application of Luxembourg law and located in six different offices throughout the world: Luxembourg, Dubai, Hong Kong, Moscow and New York. A seventh branch office in Paris is about to open to offer more services for French clients.
What is the next step for a firm in such a leading position? Merge with another firm, recruit massively or open even more offices?
Arendt have never been afraid to go their own way. The passion of its partners for contemporary art undoubtedly reflects the attitude injected into the firm’s strategic reasoning: “Law, like art, is a discipline that has to be questioned regularly. Everything you take for granted can change, evolve, and undergo modification.” So instead of just focusing on the legal world, it has found other drivers of growth.
Interview with Jean-Marc Ueberecken, Managing Partner, Arendt & Medernach
Leaders League. What is your organizational model?
Jean-Marc Ueberecken. Unlike the widespread practice wherein each partner handles his/her own cases, we organized our firm into fifteen areas of expertise. In this way, we were able to develop our multi disciplinary approach, and deepen our economic, financial and legal knowledge in each specific area while simultaneously increasing our performance on complex cases as a result of this cooperation. The specializations accommodate increasingly complex laws. For example, the insurance industry is currently subject to the same laws as the banking industry. While boutiques are traditionally competent in the insurance industry, they will have a lot of difficulty monitoring the evolution of the law, because from now on they will need specialists from the banking industry, which they don’t necessarily have.
Leaders League. How do you identify your new growth component?
J.-M. U. We considered opening new offices abroad and merging with other firms, but we chose to remain an independent firm on the Luxembourg market. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, we decided to provide our clients more than legal assistance by going beyond the legal sphere and addressing broader and more complex needs associated with the establishment and development of their business. In this way, the diversification of professions resembling that of a lawyer seemed like a natural choice, as evidenced by the creation of Arendt Regulatory & Consulting in 2013, a consulting company that specializes in the establishment of all types of regulatory procedures.
Nowadays, being in compliance with laws, regulations or simply a company’s internal rules is still a key element for our clients. During internal transformations, they need legal support as well as assistance with implementation. In this context, in addition to providing simple guidance with implementing these complex and comprehensive regulations, they expect strategic reflection and operational solutions. Therefore, we offer an approach that integrates our two activities, which are perfectly complementary.
Ultimately, our growth driver is our position as a full-service law firm on the Luxembourg market. From a financial standpoint, this choice is less profitable than excessive specialization, but we would like to provide our clients a full range of services, as they often require side services that are inseparable from the heart of their business activity, such as accounting law, employment law, state aid, intellectual property and litigation. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive offer, which means responding to clients’ needs at all times. It’s not just rhetoric. It’s an uncommon approach in Luxembourg, and this is where our strength and growth will reside.
Leaders League. What advantages does Luxembourg have compared to other European financial hubs like Frankfurt?
J. -M. U. First and foremost, Luxembourg’s financial market has developed international cross-border expertise that benefits from its position as a founding member of the European Union/the euro zone, and operates in a multilingual environment.
The financial market was built on three complementary pillars: investment funds, banking services and wealth management. In addition, the neutrality of the government, the stability of the legislative and regulatory environment, the international nature of the country, as well as genuine financial expertise are the assets that attract foreign investors, particularly from Asian countries, to Luxembourg. In terms of attracting corporations, Luxembourg is on par with some other European cities, but our country is clearly the gold standard for international bank headquarters. The six largest Chinese banks have already chosen to set up their European centers here.
Jeanne Yizhen Yin