Trust, a Key Factor in a Law Firm
Interview with Jeroen Ouwehand. He is Global Senior Partner of the international law firm Clifford Chance. In this role, he not only represents 580 partners but also chairs the Partnership Council but he is above all the ambassador for the firm externally. The work of lawyers is all about trust, reputation, and quality. Once competing for instructions, during the pandemic there has been a flight to trusted relationships and quality and clients revert back to those relations that are strongest, which have the most trust. Trust is about being honest, about integrity, about doing the right thing when no one is watching, and about keeping promises, managing expectations, and being honest about what you can do and can’t do. Within the corporate culture Clifford Chance trust-building is essential, the firm trains legal and non-legal skills, negotiation skills, presentation skills commercial awareness skills, but also many parts of curriculums are focused on trust and interpersonal skills. Internal networking is also important. Jeroen talks about his litigation practice and the mentoring program the firm built: a reverse mentoring program whereby partners are mentored by more junior lawyers or by business professionals who have a different background. He talks about second opinions, the corporate culture where trust-building is essential, Fons Trompenaars’ high and low trust cultures, and the role of intimacy between client and the lawyer.