Q&A with Pramudya Oktavinanda, managing partner of UMBRA – Strategic Legal Solutions
Q: Congratulations on being named as Indonesia’s 2019 Best New Law Firms and TMT Law Firm by Asia Business Law Journal. It is quite amazing that your firm has shown tremendous growths in less than 2 years since its first introduction to the public. Care to elaborate your strategy in achieving these important milestones?
A: Thanks so much. First and foremost, we owe our success to the amazing lawyers and staff of UMBRA who work relentlessly to bring into reality the visions that we set during our firm’s inception. Second, I would say that timing played a huge role in supporting our extraordinary growth (probably the fastest growth to ever happen in Indonesian legal industry to date). It was simply the right moment and the right place to establish a new law firm that could capture the burgeoning needs of our clients who wish to secure first class legal service but with a more competitive price. We are also thankful to the Government of Indonesia’s ambitious development projects through state-owned enterprises which allow us to tap into amazing new opportunities and mandates. And finally, planning, planning, planning. You can’t build a long-lasting organization on a whim. So, we put a lot of thought in designing our firm’s name, relationship among the lawyers & staff, institution’s vision and culture, required technological support, business development strategy, and most importantly, clients’ service standards.
Q: Seems that you have got it all figured out. How about your firm’s name, any philosophy behind such idea? A law firm that does not use its founders’ name is indeed a rare breed, especially in Indonesia.
A: Preparing a plan that could capture all possibilities would be cool, but we all know that this is impossible. Nevertheless, we find planning activities to be incredibly useful in growing our business. Frankly speaking, we are very surprised with our own achievements. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think that the firm could grow from 3 to 35 lawyers handling more than 200 transactions with a total deal value of more than US$24 billion in such a short time. Timing matters as I said above, but without proper planning, we will not be able to ride the momentum.
On the philosophy behind our name, we designed UMBRA as an open partnership, an equal opportunity fully meritocratic and egalitarian firm. Wasting our time deciding whose name on the door is counterproductive to such idea. We also want to have a name that could reflect our philosophy of service and UMBRA fits that purpose perfectly. The longer details can be found in our website, but in short, it means that we serve our clients’ best interest with due care behind the scene.
As for having Strategic Legal Solutions in our name, it’s about having the “getting things done” mentality in whatever we do. Lawyers are often accused of acting as a “No Police”, saying no to everything and preventing clients from obtaining their desired commercial results, which is a pity. Given the accumulated knowledge and insights within this profession, lawyers should have been known as a strategic enabler! We want to bring this paradigm as the new mantra in legal service and we simply can’t see any further way of practicing law other than being a problem solver, a value that we maintain with the highest sanctity among our lawyers.
Q: That sounds like a huge commitment. Do you think that it is a sustainable goal? What kind of institution that you envision for UMBRA in the next 5-10 years?
A: That is absolutely correct, it is a huge commitment, but it’s also a challenging goal that makes our life more interesting. When we founded UMBRA, we already envisioned that this should be a firm like no other, a fresh concept that could bring positive energy to both the clients and lawyers in such a crowded industry.
Our long-term vision is basically to establish UMBRA as the Indonesian version of Wachtell Lipton. Known as the most profitable law firm in the world and also one of the most elite firms, Wachtell maintains a relatively small size of team (compared to other US major law firms) that focuses on running high stake and sophisticated mega deals. This comes back to our initial commitment of getting things done and bringing strategic legal solutions for our clients at all time. We want to be known as the go-to firm in Indonesia whenever you are facing seemingly impossible barriers in closing your deal, a make-or-break kind of situation, and I think we are on the right track to achieve that goal. Exciting time indeed!