PLG Firm in Focus: LegalKraft, Poland

  1. Could you very briefly summarize the history of the firm?

LegalKraft is a modern independent boutique law firm focused on helping foreign investors doing business in Poland. Our main areas of activity are: Real Estate including transactional work and project finance, M&A, Commercial and Corporate, Tax, IT, GDPR and Employment.

LegalKraft was founded in November 2020 by three partners: Dawid Demianiuk, Tomasz Rysiak and Artur Swirtun, who prior to launching LegalKraft, were all partners at the international law firm – Magnusson. Initially, we were a firm of 5 lawyers but started to grow relatively fast. Today the firm consists of some 20 lawyers and is still growing. One of the reasons for the firm’s growth is a stable base of loyal clients, most of which consist of large international corporations.

In autumn 2022, LegalKraft joined forces with the Corporate and M&A team from top tier Polish Tech Law Firm Maruta Wachta, including its head, Partner Daniel Jastrun.

What makes us really proud is the fact that only one year after the firm was founded, we were ranked among the 100 best law firms in Poland, according to Forbes Poland ranking – “Poland’s Best Law Firms”, a ranking which is created on the basis of recommendations from lawyers practicing in law firms and in-house corporate lawyers in 24 practice areas. In the 2022 Forbes ranking, LegalKraft was also recognised as one of the 11 best Real Estate law firms in Poland together with some of the largest and most renowned international law firms. In 2023 Forbes ranking, LegalKraft was again listed among the 100 best law firms in Poland and additionally recognised in three categories: Real Estate, M&A and Tax.

  1. What makes your firm different to others?

LegalKraft aims to become the first-choice law firm for the cross-border business operating within the Baltic sea region, with special focus on the Nordic and Baltic countries.

LegalKraft was founded by people who like to work with each other, who have the same ideas and goals and where you don’t have to take on a job just because it’s lucrative, but because you feel you’re the right person for the job. This  mindset is something which we strongly believe in and which has been one of the drivers in our operation.

Moreover, we dare to do things differently and we do not perceive ourselves purely as the clients’ lawyers but rather as part of their team, with whom they consult on legal matters and business decisions.

One of the things which makes LegalKraft special is the combined experience of Daniel, Karolina, and Artur Swirtun, who is a Swedish lawyer operating in Poland since the mid-1990s, all of whom have been ranked for years by Chambers Global as experts in Sweden and Poland, including the 2023 edition. This unique niche probably makes LegalKraft the strongest team focused in servicing Scandinavian entities in Poland.

  1. Why do clients choose your firm?

We truly believe that our combined experience gained over the years of advising top-tier investors acting on the Polish market gives us a unique opportunity to fill a niche of demand for law firms that are capable of managing large and complex transactions, but at the same time offering a one-stop-shop approach in response to the various needs of their clients. As an independent boutique law firm we are free to cooperate with other Polish and international law firms, either in the areas we do not focus on or in cases where it simply is in our clients´ best interest.

We advise clients who are often leaders in their fields. These clients range from real estate developers, large international manufacturing companies, stock listed companies, banks, large IT vendors and leading software houses to smaller startups of family owned foreign investors.

We can certainly compete on competence in the areas in which we specialize and have many years of experience. And this does not at all mean competing on price, as clients engaging boutique law firms do not expect in the first place that it will be cheaper, but above all that their case will be prioritized from start to finish. The legal market in Poland is mature and clients have a really good understanding of the market and turn to us for help because they simply know we can handle their case in a best possible way.

  1. How do you define a successful result?

Happy clients and happy employees.

 5. Are there any specific regulations or laws in your country/region that would surprise readers from other countries?

Poland has been a member of the EU since 2004 and the Polish legal system is harmonized with EU regulations. Hence, in general, readers from other EU countries, will most likely not face any major surprises while doing business in Poland.

On the other hand, according to the latest surveys on the largest barriers for doing business in Poland, entrepreneurs of the SME sector put legal instability as one of the main barriers, followed by excessive bureaucratic obligations. This relates mainly to constantly changing and sometimes poorly drafted laws, including in particular tax related regulations, but also the uncertainty regarding the judicial system in Poland following some controversial laws passed a few years ago by the current Polish government. These undermined the rule of law by strengthening the governmental control over the judiciary system, including the Polish Supreme Court and Constitutional Tribunal, the composition and independence of which continues to be politically compromised, leading to a major political and legal crisis in Poland’s relationship with the EU.

Speaking about surprising and controversial laws one should also not forget recent attacks by the Polish government on independent media which led to the fact that in 2022 Poland dropped from 18th to 64th place in the international media freedom ranking. Another example is the wildly discussed and controversial decision by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, from October 2020, which virtually banned access to legal abortion in Poland. One could of course argue that the above does not influence doing business in Poland, which to a large extent is true, however it cannot be denied that the consistency, transparency, and stability of law bear fundamental importance for economic growth and the development of business.

6. What do employees value about your firm?

Employment branding is very important to us and the concept of work-life balance is something we take seriously. Our philosophy prefers the employment new staff members over making our team work long overtime hours, all this to enable them to have a real work-life balance and not just something one puts on the home page. We have also adopted a flexible work policy, allowing everyone to work from home and leaving our team members 100% freedom to decide whether they want to come to the office or work from home.

As a curiosity, each Tuesday morning, in true Scandinavian spirit, we meet with our staff for something which in Swedish is called FIKA (coffee and snack) to discuss news, workload, new assignments and any ideas one may have.

  1. If you organise a team building / motivation event, what sort of things do you do?

Each year we organise an integration trip for the entire staff. We have already been in Mazury (a lake district located in Northern Poland) three times and this year we plan to visit the historical city of Lublin. As another curiosity, we have our own beer produced for us by a small local brewery, something which is extensively consumed during our integration trips 🙂

 8. What does it take to go from being a good lawyer to an excellent lawyer?

Besides the obvious skills making a lawyer successful, such as communication skills (both in writing and oral), analytical skills, responsiveness, great knowledge of law etc., what shows a lawyer is going the extra mile is their focus on and care for the client, including understanding the business of the client and the sector and industry they operate in, in a manner which allows the lawyer to provide them with proper legal advice.

Being an excellent lawyer also means being more than just a lawyer and being able to display a great deal of creativity in problem-solving, always within the frame of law, where a best solution is not always the most obvious.

  1. Could you pick three words which summarise your firm’s values?

“Less is more”, “True Legal Craftsmen” and “Independent Boutique Law Firm” are our slogans. They are much more than slogans which we use in our marketing materials – we try to live by them each day.

 10.What do international clients find the most challenging when they approach doing business in Poland?

In general the Polish market is very competitive. Many foreign investors may be surprised how tough the competition actually is. It is also still quite a price sensitive market.

The Polish business environment often has strict hierarchical structures in place, and negotiations can be conducted slowly and formally at times. Also the language may sometimes be a barrier, although Poles and especially business people speak in general very good English. Nevertheless, when dealing with Polish authorities one should bear in mind that all communication and documents must be submitted in the Polish language, only.

Another challenge in doing business in Poland, are complex and swiftly changing laws, which can sometimes leave businesses struggling to find the time to implement required changes. This relates in particular to tax related regulation and labour law regulation.  According to the Global Business Complex Index 2022, Poland rates tenth in the world for having the most complex business regulations.

Another example of a rather minor difficulty, which however often causes distress, is that although companies are now allowed to submit financial statements electronically, many electronic signature providers are not automatically accepted which can cause delays.

However, overall Poland is considered to be one of the most economically-stable and one of the fastest-developing countries in the world which makes it a perfect investment location, especially when using the right advisor, such as LegalKraft 🙂