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Understanding Client Objectives is Key

Harrisons attribute their exceptional reputation to a unique blend of extensive international experience and deep understanding of local conditions and laws in the region

As the only English Solicitor practicing in Serbia and Montenegro, and the first European Lawyer to be registered with the Serbian Bar, Mark Harrison explains how his firm has ensured that the legal services it provides meet the diverse and complex needs of high-profile clients.

How do you leverage your 25 years of experience in Central and Eastern Europe?

― In these competitive times, with more legal firms and a leaner market, we leverage our 25 years to make both international and domestic clients feel very comfortable working with our team, as they know we have seen it all develop from 1998 in a particularly difficult area to practise law and that we have experienced what such a market has to throw at us.

Once you have their confidence, they feel secure and safe.Likewise being the first and only English Solicitor/Law Firm to practice in Serbia, Montenegro and the region (also with respect to local lawyers), is a fact that clearly gives us a competitive advantage in that we are registered and regulated by a body independent of the local bar, the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, who are very strict in how we work and operate in areas like Anti-Money Laundering, Know your Client, Conflicts of Interest, Confidentiality etc.

We are additionally insured through Lloyds of London, which is another major factor that make clients feel confident in engaging us. You advise leading global companies, financial institutions and governments of the region.

How do you ensure that the legal services you provide meet the diverse and complex needs of your high-profile clients?

― I treat them all as if I were them. I know they want me to be on call 24/7; providing clear and precise answers that they understand, and responding quickly. I understand how the matter is particularly important to them personally. The client is always right. You need to understand their objective and be mindful of costs.

We are an English law firm who have had offices in the region for over 25 years

In litigation, we have a professional duty to advise them not to throw good money after bad and to settle if we believe that is in their best interests. Being commercial is key. A good lawyer is not a brilliantly intelligent academic. A good lawyer has common sense, empathy and an open mind able to think outside the box. You are learning constantly. How do you perceive your role and influence as a leader in the legal field?

Have you instilled a competitive drive in your colleagues, who describe you as fun, witty and a good boss?

― Individual footballers never make a team. I objectively believe Harrisons has got where it is today because all my colleagues have fostered a true team spirit and have taken on board various professional values from an English practitioners’ perspective. I am proud that around 75% of our firm are still with Harrisons after 20 years. I enjoy seeing everyone each day. My door is always open. Be as kind to everyone as you would like them to be kind to you. We are competitive, but we have honest, decent values. Harrisons has the exceptional reputation – our team, not me!

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