In an ultra-competitive market, client service delivery is a decisive factor for buyers of legal services in choosing which leading law firm and lawyers to instruct.
For the asialaw Profiles 2021 edition client survey, Yuen Law received consistent positive feedback for delivering high-quality service in Private equity.
Yuen Law shares the firm's success at delivering client service excellence with asialaw.
How does your firm add value to your clients?
As corporate legal practitioners, our role is to ensure that our clients have access to practical and professional advice; and robust legal documentation for "business as usual" work and major transactions. It is important that they are aware of any legal pitfalls, as there is no point in putting their entire business at stake if the transaction or target business breaches statutory requirements.
We always seek to understand our client's interests and intention, and context of the transaction. We ask the right questions to appreciate the nuances that shapes or influences the transaction.
What is the key to maintaining long term client relationships?
Every client wants their problem to be heard and properly addressed. Being a keen listener and frank with clients, helps build trust. Having been a startup ourselves, we understand the challenges our clients face, and we are committed to journeying alongside our clients in their growth.
We prioritise clients’ needs. We are keenly aware of the needs of entrepreneurs and private equity firms, who work in fast-paced, ever-evolving commercial landscapes. We strive to provide our clients with prompt responses, so they can seize opportunities. This work ethic sometimes requires us to work after office hours and on weekends at the height of a transaction.
This is in line with the firm's values of honesty, integrity, compassion and excellence.
What internal training services do you provide to your lawyers to ensure they maintain high standards?
Our work culture comprises constant mentoring and correction of work by seniors. Juniors are provided with a safe environment to learn from mistakes.
We have weekly team lunch meetings to ensure consistent alignment of our firm’s values and sharing of our aspirational standards in service excellence. We also use this time for knowledge transfer, where one lawyer will present recent and pertinent topics of interest. The lawyers learn from peers or seek out experts to fill in gaps in their own knowledge.
What do you think differentiates your firm’s services from your peers?
In essence: servant leadership. Humility governs our relationship with our clients. We are charged to serve our clients, to enrich their lives and build better organisations, sincerity, and desire to uphold highest standards of service excellence.
When working on a matter, we are very much focused on the practical. This means listening to our client's desired outcomes, and providing them with customized and practical legal solutions. We offer comprehensive advice to point clients in the appropriate direction. We do not practice law in a vacuum after all.
Has your firm implemented technology to meet your clients needs? If so, what did you introduce?
We have used a paperless file system since the firm’s inception in 2012 to reduce disbursement costs such as printing and storage. Our cost savings are passed on to our clients. This digital system also allowed us to work remotely during the pandemic.
How do you ensure you stay relevant to your clients?
Our lawyers are encouraged to engage clients to better understand market trends and industry practices. Our senior director Kevin Chua devotes time each week to get updates in his area of sub-specialty — the dynamic world of payment services and cryptocurrencies. He focuses on regulatory changes in Singapore and beyond our shores.
Are there any changes you are considering implementing in the near future to better serve your clients?
We view the legal practice as a journey in excellence, and we are constantly reviewing and finetuning our processes based on feedback from clients (both good and bad).
In recent years, our firm has seen an increase in Chinese speaking clients, to better serve them, we encourage team members to develop their language abilities through courses and continued practice of the language.
How do you manage the costs and budgets of your clients?
We do our best to work around our client’s budget. However, we have standards to uphold and we do not race to the bottom to compete on fees to bid for a project. We are mindful not to spend more time than what is needed and racking up time costs, where possible, we offer fixed fees for a project. When clients requires cross-border advice, we negotiate for cost effective fees when engaging foreign associates.
How does your firm allocate staffing resources for your client’s work in terms of seniority and/or budget to meet the client’s needs?
Each client matter, no matter the size or who the client is, is attended to by no less than 1 senior director (≥7 years in practice) and 1 junior associate (<7 years), supported by the non-practice team. All matters flow through the business team and are overseen by the Managing Director.
What different payment models or schemes do you offer (eg. Hourly basis, project basis, etc.).
We offer clients three engagement options at pre-agreed fees/rates:
1. Project basis: Fixed fee for a pre-defined scope of work; best if the volume of work is sporadic, and the project does not exceed 2 months.
2. Time-cost basis: Hourly rate(s), payable on a monthly basis.
3. Retainer basis: Discounted monthly fixed fee for a pre-defined scope of work, payable in advance; best if the volume of work is consistent.
Where does your firm or lawyers demonstrate leadership thinking or insight pieces to show it’s on top of legal and business updates?
Two published books:
• Lasting Power of Attorney: A Guide to the LPA and How to Set It Up (by our Director Lim Fung Peen).
• Funding for Start-Ups: A Guide to Fundraising (by our Managing Director Samuel Yuen).
Our senior lawyers speak at webinars/talks by trade, government and academic organisations, and have appeared on TV and radio to share insights on legal matters.
How does a firm handle conflicts (like work conflicts, between clients)?
Whenever we onboard a new matter, we cross-check the parties involved with our client database. If a potential conflict arises, depending on the nature of the conflict, we may request for client consent to act in the matter or decline the new matter to safeguard our client's interests.
About the Author
Samuel Yuen is the Managing Director of Yuen Law LLC, an award-winning Singapore law practice. Samuel is a leading legal practitioner in Singapore, with a strong focus on corporate and commercial matters relating to start-ups and emerging companies. Samuel He has in his career advised also various businesses entering the Singapore market, ranging from small family-owned companies to large organisations. His sharp business acumen and mastery of the law has allowed him to provide innovative and practical solutions to his clients. Samuel worked with publisher, Marshall Cavendish to authored the book “Funding for Start-ups: A guide to fundraising” launched in 2020, the first in a three-book series, to help entrepreneurs understand the legal aspects and approaches to fundraising.
Yuen Law's firm rankings can be viewed here.