For lawyer Dominique Lecocq, the chance to work in his own unique way was incentive enough to set up his boutique law firm, lecocqassociate in Geneva.
“When I started out as a lawyer in 2002, I worked for very large law firms in Switzerland, Brazil and the US,” Dominique recalls. “But I found that working in those sorts of organisations didn’t give me the freedom or the time I needed to work in the way that I wanted, so in 2008 I set up my boutique law firm in Geneva: lecocqassociate.”
Dominique was determined that his fledgling business would set a new standard in the way in which law firms operate. “I wanted to develop a certain way of doing business in the legal practice that was more solution-orientated. A good lawyer not only knows the law, but also takes the time to understand his clients and learn the facts. Only when you work with the facts are you able to find solutions.”
Although lecocqassociate utilises this unique approach and specialises in regulatory banking and corporate finance, Dominique understands the importance of maintaining some similarities with larger firms.
“I took my chance setting up the firm, and I brought in clients I had at the time,” he explains. “We’ve always made sure to work in the same way as a big law firm; that is, offering standardised, high-quality services, but working in a way that I find fun.”
In fact, having fun on the route to personal success is a key part of the way the team at lecocqassociate operates. “Every year we assess every employee, with a 360-degree assessment, measuring not only their productivity but also their overall behaviour - it’s also how they achieve their objectives that’s critical,” Dominique explains. “Our philosophy is very linked to team spirit, mutual respect and teamwork, so that everyone feels valuable and can grow, and no one is experiencing too much stress. I want to make sure that when I arrive at the office I find everyone happy. We are a community.”
This team dynamic at lecocqassociate has also inspired Dominique’s approach to being CEO – a title that he also does not believe fits his role at the firm. “I’m not sure about the CEO title,” he says. “I am a Partner. CEOs are for big corporations. I don’t think or dream about titles, I care about the success of the team, the firm and the Group. I don’t have need of a big CEO desk or office either – I prefer sitting at any table I find, surrounded by good people and providing good service to our clients.”
His role is not without its challenges, however. “Being a CEO means doing things that you don’t learn at university, such as how to manage people. This is a challenge every day, especially if you’ve set up in different countries, so you have people with different cultures, ages, approaches and personalities, for example. A good CEO is the first one to understand how to bring all those different backgrounds together, put them in the same pot, and make sure the soup tastes good!”
Once he has brought all the right people together, Dominique points out that the need for internal organisation only grows. “The more your team grows, the more you need to be standardised. There must always be one way to do something, with everyone working in the same way, otherwise it’s a mess. Once we’ve achieved that, the challenge then is how to move forward and help the client to grow, while pushing for the partners to move from behind the scenes to the forefront. I must take introverted lawyers and make them showmen.”
It is this atmosphere of encouraging success and personal growth that Dominique feels is the key to the ongoing success of the firm. “I admire people who are successful. Success usually attracts jealousy, and society tends to be happy to see failure. But I’m happy when I see success. I love to take care of clients, and with happy clients, the team members grow and so the firm grows. I love seeing that, but it takes hard work.”
“The business – and life – model I try to follow is that if you believe in something and work for it, success follows. Don’t let life pass without trying hard enough. Improve yourself and don’t give up. The road to success is always under construction.”
Dominique also hopes that this philosophy will guarantee the longevity of lecocqassociate in the years to come. “Every day I work towards building a sustainable team that will continue the firm after me. If the clients keep coming back for the brand, the team and the atmosphere, then the firm will remain.”
MaltaChamber.org.mt is proud to be serialising MaltaCEOs 2019, a high-profile publication consisting of 50 in-depth interviews with leading CEOs in Malta. Celebrating the most influential business minds in the country, two different interviews will be featured on this business news portal week by week. MaltaCEOs was created by Content House Group in collaboration with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise & Industry.