Outstanding law firm for Client Service Excellence: Q&A with UMBRA, Indonesia



How does your firm add value to your clients?
We do this through our three core principles of services: we master the game, we speak your language, and we get things done. This means that clients should feel assured that they will receive: (i) the best quality of service from lawyers that know precisely what they are doing (in both legal and technical matters), (ii) tailored advice that is drafted in a language that can be easily understood by non-lawyers, and (iii) innovative and pragmatic solutions that will help them to complete their proposed deals regardless of the potential challenges.

What is the key to maintaining long term client relationships?
First class service, being contactable, fast turn-around, and personal touch. Obviously, no long-term relationship can be built by providing a mediocre and unsatisfying client experience. We charge a premium of our service, the least thing that we could do is to ensure that clients get what they expect, and they expect the best.

Being contactable and fast turn-around are interrelated. In this age of hyper-connectivity, clients want to be able to contact us at all times, and with working-from-home being the new normal, it seems that this need is doubled. Thanks to our huge investment in technology, meeting such demand is not a problem for us.

Finally, giving a personal touch to each client matters a lot. This is something that can only be done through years of working together, we pay attention to how our clients view their legal problems, how their management and bureaucracy works, their corporate culture, their billing system, and many more. We want them to feel that whenever they work with us, they work with someone who is already familiar with the nitty gritty of their company. This smooths the working process, ensure that communication can be done efficiently, and gives a sense of business continuity between us and our clients.

What internal training services do you provide to your lawyers to ensure they maintain high standards?
From day one, each of our lawyers must follow an induction training program to familiarize themselves with our working system, culture, and technology. This is because in UMBRA, we adopt a fast pace working environment and frankly speaking, this might not suit a lot of people, especially those who are not committed to a full life of lawyering (we introduce work-life integration instead of work-life balance).

We also provide regular weekly training programs that deal with both legal and soft skills for lawyers to ensure that they are being updated with the latest trends in the industry and legal world and that they have the capability to deliver the first-rate services that our clients expect from us.

What do you think differentiates your firm’s services from your peers?

We actually put a specific section in our website to answer this question: https://umbra.law/why-umbra-is-different/. In short, we are a synergy of passion, excellence, and tenacity. All our lawyers are young, all the partners are still in their thirties, and we are burning with passion for building a first-class legal institution (that is why there are no names on the door). We know what we want and will work extra hard to achieve our goals

Has your firm implemented technology to meet your clients’ needs? If so, what did you introduce?
Absolutely. We have already used a document management system that allows our lawyers to work securely and in real time, wherever and whenever. This incredibly helps us in maintaining the same quality of service to our clients despite the social distancing and work-from-home policy implementation.

We also use proper and reliable video conferencing system that allows us to be able to meet our clients and counterparts in multiple sessions (in fact we think now we have more meetings in a day due to the increased efficiency as we do not have to spend any travelling time). Finally, we are the first law firm in Indonesia to introduce the use of AI technology for assisting our lawyers in doing due diligence (Luminance Technology).

How do you ensure you stay relevant to your clients?
First by maintaining all the above commitments and technology support. Second, and this is a reiteration of our commitment of getting things done, to always be innovative, pragmatic and solutions oriented. We like when our clients come to us and say, “UMBRA is committed to always getting things done, right? So how should we do this legally?” This means that our clients know very well the extent of our commitment and they come to us whenever they feel they are facing an insurmountable challenge in closing their deals or a make-or-break situation. While they are maybe panicking, we want them to feel assured because by the end of the day, this is just a Tuesday for us. We go through these kinds of issues daily. This is our specialty and we think this is something that cannot be easily replicated by our competitors.

Are there any changes you are considering implementing in the near future to better serve your clients?
It is in our blood to always be innovative and that means we always think on how to improve our service for our clients. We are thinking of creating a better feedback system for our clients each time we close a deal for them. There is always something new to learn from each deal and with solid database, we believe that we can create an even better client service experience for all our clients. Stay tuned.

How do you manage the costs and budgets of your clients?
In most cases, we charge fix fees to our clients on a project basis. We want them to feel that as their lawyers, we align our incentives with them. Their success is also our success and we do not want them to wake up at night thinking of the massive hours that they will have to pay once the deal is closed. The era of throwing all the fees risk to clients is over. And trust us, this system also allows lawyers to work better. No inefficient and long hours meetings or clients getting angry seeing junior lawyers charging them for basic research in their time sheet.

Our fees are transparent and, in most cases,, given our experience in handling similar deals, we are able to set proper assumptions as the basis of our fixed fees which we think is fair for the services rendered for our clients. Even when the assumptions are breached, we often sit together with them and inform them before hand before we move with the usual hourly system. Again, we want to avoid ugly surprises for our clients.

What different payment models or schemes do you offer (e.g. Hourly basis, project basis, etc.).
Please see our previous answer.

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?”
In UMBRA, our partners are working partners. We do not have senior partners that just sit in the office and do nothing. As such, in terms of allocation of resources, our clients are happy with the fact that they will see our senior partners often taking care of their work directly and maintaining close communication with the client. This is part of our personal touch approach.

Where does your firm or lawyers demonstrate leadership thinking or insight pieces to show its on top of legal and business updates?
We have our own client newsletters that we share to our clients whenever we think that there are important legal updates to be shared. And so far, this has become an effective medium of communication with our clients. We also provide seminars (and now webinars) to our clients in various hot topics from time to time. Most of our seminars are free for our existing clients.

How does a firm handle conflicts (like work conflicts, between clients)?
We follow the ethical standards applicable in Indonesia. We take this conflict issue seriously because there is obvious legal liability for breaching rules on conflict, but more importantly, this is a reputational matter and without good reputation, there could be no long-lasting institution. In practice, every time we see a potential legal conflict, we will ask our affected client(s) and discuss whether exemptions can be given. Sometimes, the conflict would be extremely clear, and in such case, we will reject the case immediately.

UMBRA firm rankings and leading lawyer list can be viewed here.