Insight

Welcome to our platform for insight into all the latest in law and business. We hope to inspire and share big ideas that make the difference driving your business forward.

insight
Servant Leadership with Low Organisational Structures
22 May 2018 Our Managing Partner, Anders Carlberg, was interviewed in the Finnish Bar Association's ADVOKAATTI Magazine 2/2018 in an article "Servant Leadership – to Lead Others You Must Serve Others". Below is a translated excerpt of the article. In the 2018 Great Place to Work® Finland Survey D&I landed the fourth place of all medium sized firms. The Managing Partner, Anders Carlberg, is proud of the achievement. "It is a big deal for us. Everything begins from a business culture in which we guide people towards a common goal. Top-down commanding does not work. We strive to introduce some of the best practices of various fields to our operations. We follow the example of successful companies, such as software houses. Above all else, practicing law is a team effort. Furthermore, the nature of the work resembles the work of software houses to a great extent", Carlberg notes. According to him, leadership is a combination of listening, dialog, communication and explaining your actions and opinions. Leading professionals is more of a sparring experience and more inspiring than commanding. “Hierarcy hinders learning. Better results are achieved with low organisation structures for they enable people to use all of their resources.” "We believe, that leadership is not based on rank. For example, I can be a part of a team led by someone else." Carlberg has worked for Dittmar & Indrenius for 20 years and witnessed the changing of the field. Before law firms were highly hierarchical, chain-like or pyramidal organisations. Today, law firms resemble more closely an ameba, which can adapt itself in accordance with each situation. "We do not have strict manager-employee relationships. Instead, we work in ever changing teams that are combined of people with necessary skills and interests." "It has been studied that hierarchy hinders learning. Better results are achieved with low organisation structures, for they enable people to use all of their resources. Our task is to offer and create arenas in which experts of various field can exchange their thoughts." Carlberg points out, that sometimes it can feel like commanding is the fastest way to get a person from A to B, but this is not the case. "It is my job to get people excited about their work and to encourage them to operate in a self-directed and appropriate manner. It is always rewarding when this happens." According to Carlberg, leading should be seen as a service occupation. One way of leading does not suit for all. For example, a 24-year-old novice needs to be lead in a different way than a veteran who has worked for years in the company. "A leader’s job is to remove obstacles and facilitate working." Self-management is also an essential skill in an autonomous working environment. Everyone should be able to lead and manage their own work. Leading and leadership has been developed at Dittmar & Indrenius by offering various expert viewpoints of leading. "Our common ways of thinking and leading have been built through conversations. Individuals have also attended Harvard’s leadership courses and trainings." "In order to become a great leader, one must have self-awareness, humility and a willingness to explore the outside world and different ways of leading", Carlberg lists. His own leadership style is constantly evolving. "I aspire to be a facilitator. Others can evaluate if I have succeeded."
insight
Digital Disruption Creating Opportunities
22 Jun 2017 "Understanding the impact of the changing world to our clients has always been at the core of who we are", says Managing Partner Anders Carlberg. During the last couple of years there's been a strong increase in demand for D&I's strategic services relating to digitalization. Behind the increased demand are our clients, in particular every third Dow Jones Industrial Average company having significant operations in Finland and half of the 50 largest publicly listed companies in Finland. All of these clients lead their businesses in a digitalized world but their legal needs are almost never identical, Carlberg says. "We have the leading digital disruption team in Finland." The common denominator for today's clients is their need to capture opportunities of emerging business models and create baseline for future digital solutions within their industries. According to Carlberg, these are not routine tasks, but tasks that require the ability to perceive unstructured problems, create new ways of legal thinking, analyze critically various alternatives without unequivocal criteria for decision-making and, ultimately, the capacity to produce innovative solutions withstanding the test of time. When stakes are this high, it's a tall order for any legal advisor. "Not everyone can rise to the challenge. We, however, have the leading digital disruption team in Finland, winning Powerhouse operating model and highly satisfied clients", Carlberg says. AI Ross, I Presume? Executing digital transition in working methods and service experience is non-negotiable for any first-class law firm, D&I included. Just recently, Carlberg was interviewed for YLE Svenska on the future of legal services. Besides making the public promise of D&I being one of the first law firms in Finland to utilize AI-based software in due diligence reviews, he also predicted the legal market to divide even further. "I'm on a mission to leverage our customer experience for competitive advantage." Carlberg feels passionate about capturing added value in D&I's services through superior service design tied with digital innovation. "I'm on a mission to leverage our customer experience for competitive advantage", Carlberg says smiling. "It means discovering the right ways to lead D&I's team of 80 professionals through the digital transition, into a service mindset", he continues. However, Carlberg emphasizes that for high-end advisory firms such as D&I focusing on the most demanding cases for the most demanding clients, the key is not in "becoming a technology company" but excellence in new ways of legal thinking and in human-to-human interaction. "That's the kind of excellence our clients value most at D&I". Rethinking Legal Services The key for developing and designing their digital services is the perceived customer value. "I strongly believe in customer co-creation of services for improved customer experience", Carlberg explains. Just recently he invited clients who'd been attending D&I's Technology Revolution Roundtable -series to attend the first Legal Tech Conference organized by the Legal Tech Lab, University of Helsinki. D&I was the sole sponsor of the conference where D&I's partner Hanna-Mari Manninen acted as the moderator of the panel discussing the future of legal services. "I'm a big supporter of bringing the academia and practical world closer to each other." According to Carlberg, Legal Tech Lab's forward-looking mindset, topical research on blockchain, robotics and AI, as well as their network ideology are bound to have a positive impact on the future of our society. "Personally, I'm a big supporter of bringing the academia and practical world closer to each other. In an era of pervasive and ultrafast development, the way universities are raising our future lawyers must develop too." Most Recently D&I Has: Assisted Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications by conducting a preliminary background research for the preparation of the Transport Code that aims to improve the Finnish transportation system and to pave the way for the development of the Mobility as a Service concept. Advised one of the largest Finnish companies on the digitalization of its retail business. Provided strategic advice in large-scale international data protection and data security compliance projects for large Finnish listed companies such as UPM Corporation, Uponor Corporation and Valmet Corporation. Provided strategic advice in Intelligent Building and Smart Cities engagements for Tieto Corporation and SRV Corporation. Advised PE house Ratos in the sale of Nebula to Telia. Nebula is a market leading provider of cloud services, managed services and network services to SME customers in Finland. The transaction is the largest PE deal so far this year in Finland and it involved topical legal questions related to cloud services, data protection, intellectual property and information technology.  
insight
The Age of Common Sense
3 Nov 2015 Diverse life experience is an increasingly important asset when preparing global transactions, says Anders Carlberg, Managing Partner of Dittmar & Indrenius. Don’t do anything stupid. Even though something is legally allowed, it is not necessarily wise. This advice given by a seasoned lawyer years ago was strongly imprinted on Anders Carlberg’s mind. Carlberg, Managing Partner at Dittmar & Indrenius, asserts that common sense is becoming an important asset in international business. “Decisions need to be backed up by views that stem not only from a solid legal background but also from diverse life experience. Ethical perspectives are playing an increasingly important role. Lawyers executing cross-border transactions must know what corporate social responsibility means in different cultures.”The tough times that started with the financial crisis have increased political and business-related tension in almost all Western countries. Politicians, authorities and civil organisations would rather tighten the operational leash of major corporations than give them more freedom. The pressure related to tax planning is only one example of this.The majority of Finnish companies has done a good job in predicting tax risks, some have identified risks but probably relied on maintaining the status quo, but some hit the mine field at full speed. “It is an obvious fact that overly aggressive tax planning is not ethically sustainable, even when it is within the limits of the law”, Carlberg says. “Recommendations based solely on the legal perspective are not sufficient in these cases. Our clients need insightful advice on what is in the company’s best interest over time. Structures that are planned today will be tested in, say 10 years, and the prevailing moral standards will have changed. We need to look beyond the apparent facts and address issues that haven’t occurred to the client.” “Ethical perspectives are playing an increasingly important role. Lawyers executing cross-border transactions must know what corporate social responsibility means in different cultures.”   Pursuit of sustainable solutions During a moment of silence, Carlberg looks out of the high window. The sturdy Tilia trees in the Esplanade park represent the same generation as the law firm run by Carlberg. Dittmar & Indrenius has been serving customers in Helsinki since 1899. Times have changed, but many principles have remained steadfast and true. One of these principles is the pursuit of sustainable solutions. “Traditionally, lawyers concentrate on identifying risks and frightening the client”, Carlberg says. “Instead lawyers should try to find innovative solutions that open up undiscovered opportunities.” Dittmar & Indrenius’ business has grown faster than the industry average during the 2010s. Carlberg and his colleagues have been particularly successful in handling difficult international transactions. The newest case is the Nokia–Alcatel-Lucent combination. “Traditionally lawyers concentrate on identifying risks. Instead lawyers should try to find innovative solutions that open up undiscovered opportunities.” Behind the scenes of Alcatel-Lucent deal Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent and their respective counsels did their utmost to keep the combination secret. The risk of a premature leak to the media was high, since the preparations required extensive investigations in both parties’ home countries, as well as in their primary market regions. “All parties wanted to publish the combination in a controlled manner. Nevertheless, I was surprised that we actually succeeded in that”, says Carlberg. “The project was successful because Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent had an exceptionally good dialogue and because all preparations were made very carefully both in terms of authority relations and communications.” Dittmar & Indrenius has served as Alcatel-Lucent’s legal counsel with regard to the preparations and execution of the combination in Finland. The team comprised 10–15 lawyers, depending on the situation. Due to the complexity and importance of the transaction, partners assumed an exceptionally large role. Carlberg says that the combination was prepared very thoroughly and for a long time. “I’m not at liberty to comment on the duration of the process, but I can tell you that it was more than a couple of days.” Cross-border mergers have proven to be difficult due to such factors as cultural differences. Success stories are few. Carlberg believes that Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent will succeed with their joint effort. ”Nokia’s President and CEO Rajeev Suri has prior experience from the intersection of Nokia’s and Siemens’ network operations. I believe that it was a great lesson learned for him and that Nokia has its feet on the ground. Both Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent have been through a lot, and they hardly have any overlapping products or services.” According to Carlberg, one of the key questions in the combination of the two giants was deal security. Alcatel-Lucent needed precise information on such matters as the powers of a Finnish company’s Board of Directors. For example, in the United States, company Boards have much more authority to agree than their Finnish counterparts. In Finland, the Annual General Meeting has the final say. Further big questions dealt with taxation, labour law, intellectual property rights, disclosure obligation, and the specifics of corporate cultures. “Knowledge of the corporate culture is extremely valuable in these situations”, Carlberg says. Carlberg believes that the firm’s strong role as Alcatel-Lucent’s legal counsel will generate interest among potential Finnish clients. “We have extensive experience and accumulated insight into foreign parties’ ways of thinking. This expertise will surely benefit also our Finnish clients.” Finland is an interesting target for buyers In the past, business transactions between Finland and Sweden have been very common. Now, Carlberg believes that the wave of cross-border transactions in which a Finnish company joins forces with a European, American or Asian partner will continue or even increase in Scandinavia and Finland. Foreign buyers are interested in innovative and efficient Finnish companies, and the Scandinavian business environment is relatively stable compared with many other regions. “Finnish companies are in good shape and specialised. They have cut out all non-core assets. However, this is not a one-way street. Dynamic Finnish companies are actively looking for foreign targets to buy, and they are looking further than Sweden. “Recent developments in Russia and China have had a surprisingly small impact on corporate transaction activity in Finland. Some mergers may be delayed, though, due to the increased volatility and general caution in the markets.” Always do your homework According to Carlberg, clients are facing increasing challenges especially in the fields of environmental law, intellectual property rights and labour law. Typically, the biggest realised risks are related to tax issues and environmental responsibilities. When a company transfers its production to another country, it needs to know the consequences of lay-offs in different countries. In addition, many industries are becoming increasingly information-intensive, which emphasises the importance of privacy protection. “For example, if a company was to buy a Finnish gaming company, it would need to thoroughly investigate matters related to the management and hand-over of information collected by this company of its customers”, Carlberg explains. The likelihood of success increases when both parties do their due diligence. Carlberg favours an open process in which risks and benefits are balanced so that both parties can happily sign the deal. However, this is a rarely achieved ideal. “It is more typical that some homework is overlooked and the situation leads to a dispute.” The causes of disputes are quite human. Those making decisions on behalf of a company usually try their best, but they can also make mistakes due to pressure, hurry, carelessness or lack of expertise. Utilising the other party’s weakness can also prove to be a mistake. Learning five years in three years Dittmar & Indrenius currently employs approximately 50 lawyers distributed across 13 practices. Carlberg sees the company growing to comprise approximately 60–65 lawyers in two to three years. “We want to offer our clients consistent quality with the one-stop shop principle, when dealing with transactions, dispute resolution, demanding financing arrangements, or compliance.” According to Carlberg, the firm nurtures a company culture that emphasises consistent high quality. In order to achieve its ambitious quality targets, the firm needs an open sparring culture, the right balance between responsibility and freedom, and clear goal-setting. The firm strives to offer its juniors opportunities to grow quickly. “We like to say that at Dittmar & Indrenius it takes you three years to learn what you would learn in five years elsewhere”, Carlberg says and adds “but this does not mean that you’d have to put in more hours. We just believe that professional competence grows faster when the person is trusted with responsibility and inspiring tasks.” Dittmar & Indrenius fosters a good working climate by maintaining open internal communications and flexibility, among other things. The firm pays particular attention to ensuring that it can offer the industry’s best prerequisites for young lawyers to develop and further their careers even in the most hectic phase of their lives. Carlberg finds it important that every employee feels able to influence their own working environment and everyday work at the office. “This is why we always engage the entire staff in all internal development projects. We want this firm to be the best place for all of our employees to grow, both professionally and personally.” “We believe that professional competence grows faster when the person is trusted with responsibility and inspiring tasks.”

Dittmar & Indrenius