Eurojuris News


The spirit of the age: why trust and agility count

When the coronavirus pandemic struck in spring 2020, law firm leader Joanna Affre worried for the future of her 10-lawyer practice in Poland, as projects were frozen for the firm’s internationally focused client base. But within just a few months, the firm was increasing staff numbers to cope with the new opportunities it had created.  

Based in Warsaw, Affre i Wspólnicy specialises in competition law and intellectual property. “We get involved in other matters for clients, because they trust us and don’t want to go elsewhere, but these two sectors had been our main focus until 2020,” explains Joanna. 

The firm works with major international companies, including big retail chains and food producers. They have special expertise in automotive markets and closer to home they work with local Polish companies working internationally, such as automotive supply companies.  

“I believe a relationship between lawyer and client based on trust and shared values is the most important you can have - so this is where we focused our attention to ride out the pandemic,” explains Joanna.

“We decided to concentrate on how to use our local knowledge of jurisprudence and of state aid, to create new opportunities with our existing clients. All our lawyers, at every level, have been very creative, giving ideas for new business by identifying what may be important for clients.” 

As well as building on existing relationships of trust, the firm recognised its size and structure made it more competitive and more responsive. “We have lower rates than big international law firms, and in times of uncertainty that plays to our advantage. Also, the areas of work we identified were ones where our agility and local knowledge would set us apart,” adds Joanna. 

“For example, with state aid, the authority will observe and analyse whether money is circulating in the economy. Much of this involves aspects which are new for lawyers, being more about economics or finance, requiring us to open our minds, get out of our comfort zone and learn. We could demonstrate the flexibility and skills to deliver on that.”

Another developing area of work is preparing for national legislation coming into force later this year, following EU directive 2019/633 to manage unfair trading practices in the relationship between producers and retailers in the agricultural and food supply chain. “Many retailers will need to review their processes and policies to satisfy our Polish authorities, who are powerful and active enforcers,” explains Joanna. 

Said Eurojuris president Olivier Vibert: “It is inspiring to hear how our members around the world have taken on the challenges of the last year to make positive changes for the future. The ethos at Joanna’s firm is a great example of the spirit of our network in being innovative in delivering quality legal services to clients. I see that concept of trust and putting clients first echoed by so many members, despite their different cultures, which is so important in today’s environment.” 

Joanna Affre

Affre i Wspólnicy Sp K



Telephone: +48 22 100 47 71

Languages spoken:  Polish, English, French

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