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Strategy and Law | Activity as an attorney


Under the motto "The Art of Creating a Life while Making a Living", the underlying idea of my decision is to use the time gained to carry out further theoretical work in an attractive environment, and to some extent to provide a different kind of consultancy in the time remaining. In all consultancy activities I undertake, I find "the law" and "the lawyer" represent the focal point.

After 25 years of largely traditional activity as an attorney, "the cat cannot stop chasing mice". I will dedicate part of my consultancy time to the practice of law, but only in particular areas with particular clients, and on particular matters. I carry out this activity under my existing professional title under the name of Prof. Dr. iur. Jens Drolshammer, MCL, Rechtsanwalt on a limited scale at the Susenbergstrasse address through the sole practice Drolshammer, Strategy & Law - Advokatur.

New set of requirements for lawyers

Nevertheless it is not in dispute that the paradigm change we have referred to in the "international practice of law", characterized by legalization, the increasing use of information technology, interdisciplinarity, professionalization, specialization, market orientation, proceduralization, institutionalization and organization, together with the “tendency towards Americanization”, will become established in all relevant areas of any modern commercial law firm in one form or another, and thus could bring about profound changes in traditional organizational forms, and in particular in the form of the services provided, including the set of requirements of lawyers.

I will only undertake the delimitation in respect of “strategic legal consultancy” which has been specially adopted by me insofar as this becomes necessary for good reasons, in individual cases. In my view it is important that the discourse between professionals on those matters which are of concern to them should be carried out in a professional way, on a human level, with great tolerance and magnanimity. Here also, various (but of late no longer all) roads lead to Rome. With my newly gained freedom I have the opportunity of experimenting in establishing new and supplementary dimensions to legal consultancy and to try to integrate them in cooperation with fellow attorney and General Counsels.

Besides, it was professional irritations that led me, during and after the Fellowship at Harvard, to select the themes relating to the effects of globalization on legal systems, the legal profession and legal education in such a way that I was able in particular to reflect on these irritations, and not only to describe them but also to some extent to diagnose them. My deliberate choice to reflect on “international legal practice” instead of working in “international legal practice” on a daily basis, naturally creates a distance which renders the continuation of the “practice of law” more difficult, but which increases the pleasure to be had in opening up new dimensions in legal consultancy – which in part, whether I like it or not, are not concerned with the legal consultancy of an attorney. The constricting of one’s personal “independence” associated with the institutionalization of law firms, and the constant and limiting scruples about damaging the “appearance” of established correctness, are not good for everyone.

Integrative, interdisciplinary and international consultancy

With a view to certain instances of resistance to change in the traditional legal profession, and the pressure for and selective preferences attributed to a so called market for certain activities of lawyers', in particular also certain markedly technocratic methods I was always an adherent of a fraction which advocated the provision of integrative, interdisciplinary and international consultancy by lawyers, in which a balance should be maintained, certainly in a large law firm, between "generalism" and judgment, and specialization and technocratization. An innate inclination towards the integration of processes into consultancy and an extension of consultancy into "issue management" as a whole were thus becoming increasingly "at odds". Academic arguments, from the jurisprudence of decisions to "creative" jurisprudence and from creative jurisprudence to an action-oriented jurisprudence were of little help. Neither was the spirit of the times such as to encourage talk of the "art of law" as well as of the "science of law", and certainly not, to paraphrase a famous advertisement slogan for a bank, of the "fine art of lawyering". Recent trends in the sphere of professional ethics and in the sphere of dealings between colleagues have also had an effect on the atmosphere in certain parts of the legal profession which are in a state of flux. Professional reticence, the lawyer's code of secrecy and a delay in the coverage of the legal profession in the media may have had a retarding effect here. The basic fact that, where paradigm changes are taking place at a time of transformation, the professionals themselves usually do not have sufficient time for or interest in generating the necessary "expert knowledge" themselves, is increasingly recognized by the professionals also. The self-justifying internal view of those who have always known success certainly does not prevent one from indulging one's imagination.

Against this background, I intend to continue to practice as an attorney in a limited way in the following areas.

Competition law

I am continuing to concern myself with the sphere of competition law in the wider sense, particularly in its international frame of reference. I have been designated as a "leading lawyer" in this area by the much criticized and (to me) unpopular professional media; I have practised over the years in difficult cases; and I have also labored as a publicist in this field for many years and worked towards its further development. Thus I was a co-commentator on the section on mergers control in the leading commentary on this subject, I have covered all that is known of cartel law as a whole over the last century in a special publication, and I write an ongoing commentary for the Schweizerische Juristen-Zeitung, and also, since last year, I write on the latest developments in Swiss cartel law for Recht der Internationalen Wirtschaft.

Corporate Governance

I am interested in questions of Corporate Governance and in a selective involvement in a very small number of boards of management. In this area also I have been designated as a “leading lawyer” in the relevant specialist press. Questions of Corporate Governance relating to company law require above all a viewpoint that takes in the whole picture. For example, the creation and maintenance of the reputation of a company is an important component in establishing a State of the Art Corporate Governance (see "Strategy and Law", "Issue Management").

Arbitration

I will continue to act, in individual cases, as an arbitrator in international commercial arbitration, since I enjoy the variety and the contact with colleagues provided by a balanced panel of judges, and because unconventional and solution-orientated matters appeal to me.

Complex issues

In a very general sense, I am concerned with the processing of complex issues such as mass industrial risks and American class actions such as those in respect of the Holocaust or South Africa, taking account of law, communications, politics and other relevant determining factors. I have an affinity for topical and interrelated modes of thinking and working and for the kind of legal imagination that comes up with a solution. What really matters is the result, and the satisfaction of the client. I enjoy working as a coach for General Counsel that wish to work on issues critical to companies and on issues of carrying over legal consultancy into Issue Management, taking account of the strategic dimension and the growing influence of the Anglo-Saxon conception of a General Counsel . On the basis of my many years of experience in working on and with Professional Service Firms, I will, on a selective basis, advise Law Firms and other Professional Service Firms in questions of strategy formation, organization, training, market orientation and international networking. With selected law firms and colleagues with whom I have established friendly relations, I will jointly develop, experiment with and practice the combination of strategic legal consultancy with legal services, where this is appropriate and the client wishes it. My initial experience in this areahas been very good. Wherever possible, I do this as a platform and gateway to and from Switzerland with a view to dealing with America and with the EU and their specific legal systems and legal cultures. Ultimately, I believe in the significance of and the provocation implied by the saying "Imagination is more powerful than knowledge" (Einstein), even in the practice of law in the narrower sense.


© Jens Drolshammer
Prof. Dr. iur., MCL, Rechtsanwalt
Jens Drolshammer, Prof. Dr. iur., MCL, Rechtsanwalt
CH-8044 Zürich, Susenbergstrasse 157
Tel. +41 44 363 81 11 · Fax +41 44 363 80 83 · E-Mail office@drolshammer.com · Internet www.drolshammer.net