Catalin Micu, Partner ZRVP
- What was the most challenging thing your company, people, and you, personally, had to face in 2020?
The pandemic year keyword is ADAPTATION. And we all had to react, reset, and restore. That was the challenge of a changing world. Our law firm had to adapt the business model to the new pandemic circumstances and implement all set of measures almost suddenly. We had to identify “socially distant mechanisms” to connect with our clients and our colleagues. Of course, going online was the solution, but it was not easy in the beginning: organizing online negotiation sessions, online arbitration hearings etc. However, we adapted quickly, and the business was not affected.
Also, we had to deal with an avalanche of new rules generated by the pandemic crisis. Our role was to analyze and to provide useful guidance to our clients for implementing those new rules. And this had to be done fast, very fast. We succeeded in doing a great job for our clients, being at their disposal almost 24 hours a day.
Nonetheless, we had to balance work and housework. Even if it was not simple, our people turned into successful virtual employees who found ways for household and work duties to coexist peacefully.
- What pleasantly surprised you last year? / What are you grateful for?
I am constantly amazed by the power people have to adapt and I am grateful that we have in our organization resourceful and dynamic people that shifted quickly and with no difficulty to the “new normal” while maintaining performance throughout the year. Clients are going digital, and so must the lawyers. We must embrace digital transformation, and by doing this we have to reinvent ourselves and our culture. What last year has taught us is that change comes literally overnight and we must be prepared to adopt new working practices.
We succeeded in conducting our law firm continuously and with good achievements. In mid-March 2020 this was questionable due to the pandemic evolution.
- What are your plans and expectations for 2021?
In 2021 we will continue to remain “alert” –and, most probably, mainly online, ready to switch between working practices until the pandemic circumstances cease. However, at this stage, our business model is a hybrid one and it will probably remain the same for the rest of 2021.
We plan to develop new areas of business. The COVID-19 crisis has revealed many opportunities for lawyers, and we are prepared to take the plunge and make ourselves useful on the market in new ways for the benefit of our clients.
We expect to slightly increase the volume of our business in 2021, but growth depends on the general market evolution and the way the Romanian State will encourage market reinvigoration mechanisms.
- What do you foresee it will be different this year and what impact it will have on our industry/Romania/your company/your people?
This year is probably more challenging than 2020. Business growth and investments require a “certain” environment. Unfortunately, 2021 is not ready to provide a “certain environment” at this moment and, even worse, is not able to provide visibility on the pandemic evolution considering the new coronavirus variants and mutations.
Consequently, 2021 will be an “up-and-down” year, probably with a certain positive evolution during the third and fourth quarters.
- What is your message for the ABSL community?
Stay alert and active! It is not yet the time for long-term decisions, but for flexibility and adaptability.
- What could we do to grow stronger as a community?
In the short run, we should focus on securing the medical protection of our employees by involving them in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The safer the work environment, the greater the power to grow. Without safety, a normal/sustainable growth is out of the question.
- A message for ABSL or a suggestion.
Be prepared for anything and always ready to embrace change. Let us hope that the most difficult period has passed and that, in the third quarter of 2021, we will be able to start returning to the prospects from the beginning of 2020.