Bye Nicole, bye Joy. To start, please introduce yourself briefly.
Nicole: “I am a partner at Monard Law and have about 20 years of experience as a lawyer. In recent years I have mainly specialized in M&A (acquisitions) and corporate and commercial disputes. Monard Law was my first job at the time, I was allowed to start immediately after my internship.”
Tell us how you’ve been lately Monard Law day (team day). That one was pretty special, wasn’t it?
Nicole: “Yes, we’ve held similar Monard Law team days before, but this time we really wanted to involve the employees themselves in shaping our strategy and mission.
For the first time, this team day was not organized by the partners, but by Karen and Evelyne from HR. As a partner, that took some getting used to, away from the familiar environment. This time there was a lot of focus on the human aspect, where in previous years it was mainly about strategy and organization.”
Note: View the video of this Monard Law day.
Is it actually characteristic of Monard Law that you attract a lot of young people?
Nicole: “Yes it is, we attach great importance to young intake. For example, we will set up our office in Antwerp open every block period for law students. Because in an office you need solid values with experience (I’ve been with Monard Law for almost 20 years) but also young starters. That dynamic is very important.”
“Our earlier mission statement was exactly the same as our competitors”
Can you name that, why young people are important?
Nicole: “Young people have a different form of energy: they are open-minded, yet very driven. They are in a very different moment in their careers and in their lives. That gives us a nice dynamic.
In addition, it is not always easy for them as a starter in the legal profession. It has been and continues to be hard work. And that is why it gives us great satisfaction to be able to guide them.”
I often see the word ‘customer’ in the mission statement. How do you see that relationship?
Nicole: “As you know, customer focus is sacred to us. And that should also be the case in the legal profession. We try to speak the language of the entrepreneur and not to let them get lost in all kinds of legal rules. They have nothing to do with that.
In that respect, I see us as more than just a legal advisor. We also act as a sounding board for our customers and help them think about the strategic choices they face. Engagement is very important to us. Actually, I see us more as a guide, a ‘companion de route’, if you like.”
Nicole: “We also do not like to give advice on a piece of paper. Together with the customer, we defend our proposals in court. And if you know that in advance as a lawyer, you also think twice before writing something down. It obliges us to be realistic and involved. We strongly believe in this practical approach.”
To finish. What is your favorite quote from the new mission statement?
Nicole: “My favorite is ‘Lie down on the grass’! Because it is also just striking that it is among us. You can be very ambitious and result-driven, but that is a characteristic of almost all law firms. We are results-driven, but we are a real people company. And that’s why that’s my favorite quote.”