2015 Legal Awards

M&A awards Legal Awards 2015 57 LEGAL awards Company: Decisis Limited Name: Michael Bilewycz Web Address: www.decisis-law.co.uk Email: iplaw@decisis.co.uk Address: 5 St John’s Lane, London EC1M 4BH Telephone: +44(0)20 7250 4732 Decisis was founded in 2007 by Michael Bilewycz, who was previously Managing Director of the Omnicom boutique IP firm, Markforce Associates, until its sale in 2007. Types of clients now include law firms/legal services businesses (both within the UK and internationally), global marketing businesses, management/ training consultancies, food businesses, branding/design consultancies, IT businesses, investment/financial brokerages, beverage businesses, telecommunications businesses, media, entertainment and TV production businesses, as well as the automotive and horological industries. At present the London legal market is very much a market in constant flux. Trainee opportunities are fewer than they were, as are the number of partner-level positions and opportunities. My perception of the London legal market is that the growth of small independent specialist law firms is its most striking feature. They are flexible, provide a high standard of expertise and specialisation, and manage their costs very effectively. Simultaneously, medium-sized firms without a strong specialism are finding themselves under ever increasing pressure. The challenges are multifarious, including an ever-changing regulatory environment (and the chang- es that brings), greater competition, ever increasingly expensive overheads and professional indemnity insur- ance, and more demanding clients. These challenges seem to affect medium-sized law firms more adversely than the rest of the legal sector. This has led to increased outsourcing of some key functions. In order to become truly successful as a company a great deal depends on the types of clients involved. Business owners in SMEs and their senior personnel want someone to speak to and correspond with, and who will handle personally or at least be intimately aware of their particular issues, whilst applying a high level of expertise. At the same time, those types of clients will appreciate an understanding of their business issues and where possible, the provision of a business-workable solution. In terms of the firm’s approach the client’s business should come first. The aim is to provide commercial and business insight as well as significant cost benefits to the client. Decisis places an emphasis on flexibility and the benefits of providing a personal, bespoke and expert service to its clients and to deliver, wherever possible, solutions to those clients’ issues. Results should be reflected in the achievement of the clients’ business objectives and the adding of value to their businesses. The majority of our work concentrates on helping clients to establish their rights and putting their brands, their business models and innovation on sound legal foundations. Intellectual property is becoming increasingly important in today’s business environment, particularly given the ever-growing digital/online environment. I learned of its importance during my experience as an in-house lawyer with a major FMCG multinational. The digital environment then was not as prevalent as it is now. To remain on the cutting edge of new developments it is important to stay in touch with people from all types of business sectors (not just legal services), and to remember that we are always on a learning curve. The technology solutions for “keeping track of our client’s IP needs” are out there and we use them all. However, relying just on technology to keep track on a client’s IP needs is a mistake. Human interaction must play a key role. To benchmark the business we try to apply solutions that other businesses (including non-legal) find useful. At the same time we do not seek to imitate other legal practices whose circumstances may well be very different. I really do not pay much attention to what my competitors are doing unless they are being completely radical. As for measuring success, we ask the questions “Have we achieved the desired result for our client?” or “Have we provided a solution to our client’s needs?” We differentiate ourselves from our competitors through branding, being flexible, commitment, and my per- sonal approach to clients and their needs. We are currently developing a new website, and I am looking forward to working on this project. The aim is to clarify our marketing message to our clients, and prospective new clients, as well as associates both in the UK and internationally. The intention is to combine the latest technology and communications methods with human interaction wherever possible. Without human interaction, advanced technology and the use of digital social media will fail. After all, technology and all technology related methods should be servants or tools, not the be all and end all. As we head into 2016, technology, the Internet and social media will present both a challenge and an oppor- tunity. They are critical to conducting business. Against this background it is clear that Intellectual Property rights should be the main business assets category of the 21st-century. Branding and innovation are repre- sented in Intellectual Property rights. If you strip out from businesses depreciating assets (e.g. equipment, leases), cash (always fluid), and (where appropriate) stock which is worth nothing until it is sold, you are left with intangible assets, with innovation and branding at their core.

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