GLASS half full

The Business Year Special Report - - Interview -

What has been YFLG’s response to to­day’s chang­ing busi­ness and le­gal en­vi­ron­ments, and how have you in­no­vated to en­sure clients re­main the pri­mary fo­cus?

The busi­ness and le­gal en­vi­ron­ments are con­tin­u­ously chang­ing, with cat­a­lysts rang­ing from in­tro­duc­tion to new laws and reg­u­la­tions, to ex­tra­or­di­nary events such as the COVID-19 pan­demic. As a law firm, our mode of do­ing busi­ness has al­ways been based on a ‘part­ner­ship’ model, where we part­ner with our clients to pro­vide them with the right le­gal sup­port that al­lows them to adapt quickly to these changes, un­der­stand how their busi­ness is af­fected by it, and how to nav­i­gate their com­plex­i­ties. The Covid-19 pan­demic will un­doubt­edly cre­ate a new his­tor­i­cal di­vide in every sphere of hu­man ac­tiv­ity. The le­gal sec­tor is no ex­cep­tion to this seis­mic change. Be­ing a lead­ing all-ser­vices law firm, YFLG has swiftly changed the whole of our le­gal ecosys­tem for re­mote work­ing and vir­tual ser­vices. In short, we have shifted to vir­tual op­er­a­tions. De­spite the govern­ment shut­down and cur­fews in Kuwait, our team re­mained avail­able to our clients for full le­gal sup­port in these crit­i­cal times through vir­tual meet­ings, elec­tronic doc­u­ment col­lec­tion and send­ing reg­u­lar up­dates of the lat­est le­gal devel­op­ments in Kuwait. The pan­demic has un­for­tu­nately caused a rise in the num­ber of dis­putes. Given that the Kuwaiti courts have been closed since the be­gin­ning of March 2020 and are due to open at the be­gin­ning of July 2020, we have al­lo­cated this time to our lit­i­ga­tion clients to pre­pare for any new law­suits, or re­visit sus­pended law­suits in terms of maximizing its po­ten­tial or ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of an am­i­ca­ble set­tle­ment.

As a global firm with a sig­nif­i­cant re­gional pres­ence, what is your out­look for the re­gion as we be­gin to bounce back and en­ter a new world of busi­ness?

De­spite the mo­men­tous chal­lenges of the last few months, we re­main op­ti­mistic on the re­gion’s abil­ity to re­cover from the sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tions of the pan­demic. It would be naïve to say that the world will go back to what it was be­fore the pan­demic, as cer­tain as­pects of so­cial dy­nam­ics and eco­nomic frame­work have and will re­main changed for the long term, which will con­tinue to im­pact our day-to-day lives, the way we do busi­ness, and le­gal frame­works. Un­doubt­edly, these changes will all trig­ger a much larger macro-eco­nomic change. How­ever, not all changes will be for the worst. For ex­am­ple, this may pave the way for lo­cal govern­ments to change their modus operandi and find ways to ease the way govern­ment pro­ce­dures are car­ried out. It is pos­si­ble for cer­tain com­pa­nies to re­al­ize the ben­e­fits of hav­ing cer­tain func­tions or em­ploy­ees work­ing re­motely, thus cre­at­ing more jobs for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and other work­ers whose per­for­mance can be max­i­mized through such an ar­range­ment. We can also an­tic­i­pate a shift in man­power to the tech­nol­ogy, me­dia, and tele­com sec­tor, which has served as an ex­cel­lent foun­da­tion for sur­viv­ing the pan­demic and will con­tinue to sup­port the way we do busi­ness. The ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor may also ex­pe­ri­ence a much-needed change in their cur­rent model and nour­ish elec­tronic-based ed­u­ca­tion that may be more af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble. In or­der to re­al­ize the pos­i­tive im­pacts of these global changes, we must re­main op­ti­mistic and keep a strong mind and em­pa­thetic out­look go­ing for­ward. There must be a clear un­der­stand­ing that we can only move for­ward by work­ing to­gether, and align­ing all stake­hold­ers’ in­ter­ests.

What are your strate­gic pri­or­i­ties mov­ing ahead and what is your fi­nal mes­sage to stake­hold­ers as Kuwait looks ahead to new op­por­tu­ni­ties?

The strate­gic pri­or­ity for Kuwait is re­cal­i­brat­ing and re-cre­at­ing a vi­sion plan visà-vis its com­mer­cial and eco­nomic tie-ups and co­op­er­a­tion with na­tions. We must es­tab­lish and foster re­la­tion­ships with trusted and open and lib­eral economies over highly-reg­u­lated and self-cen­tered ones. This pan­demic must be a rev­e­la­tion for all na­tions in­clud­ing Kuwait to re­visit their pro­grams, poli­cies, and pri­or­i­ties of na­tion-to-na­tion co­op­er­a­tion in­clud­ing com­mer­cial mat­ters.

“De­spite the mo­men­tous chal­lenges of the last few months, we re­main op­ti­mistic on

from the sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tions of the pan­demic.”

Khal­i­fah Al Yaqout

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