Call for Leaders | Sebastian Gutiu (Schoenherr): I feel we have a responsibility to support the business environment in general

Newsroom 02/04/2020 | 16:08

Call for Leaders – 3Q is a new category where Business Review features our 3 questions with some of Romania’s top business professionals, bringing a positive, insightful, or otherwise constructive view of their markets in the context of the current crisis.

 

Current conversation: Sebastian Gutiu, Managing Partner at Schoenherr

 

What measures have you taken to protect your business during this period?

The health of our team, clients and business partners is and has been our main concern ever since the first signs of the COVID-19 outbreak. The majority of our team members have been working from home and  switched from face-to-face client meetings to phone and video calls even before the state of emergency was introduced in Romania. We were actually among the first of Schoenherr’s offices in the CEE region to shift to this new working structure. We have been able to keep our business and infrastructure up and running, and we continue to deliver client service to the highest standards. I would like to thank each and every one of our team members for that.

Our motto at the moment is “together against COVID-19”. I believe we can only protect our business by helping our clients protect theirs. That is why we are communicating with them almost daily.

I also believe that in these times lawyers can play an important role. We are in a position to help companies navigate the myriad of legal changes, and to react to the disruptions caused by the pandemic in the best possible way. That is why I am convinced this is a time to stay close to clients and help them anticipate how their business will be impacted. Juridical solutions do exist, and with an early start in assessing the various possible scenarios for the future, it is possible for companies to be prepared.

Further, I feel we have a responsibility to support the business environment in general. Our lawyers and consultants are actively involved in legislative drafting and advocating for legislative changes relevant to this end. This covers all recent hot topics, whether we are talking about the payment of rent, tax measures or state aid, we are at the forefront of providing input to legislative drafts.

In addition, we have offered pro bono advice to start-ups and SMEs interested in applying for the European Innovation Council’s funding round for technologies and innovations that could help in treating, testing, monitoring or other aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, by keeping our coronavirus info corner and CEE legislative trackers up to date on the Schoenherr website, we aim to help companies stay informed about what is happening in our jurisdictions.

 

What is your advice for business leaders for this crisis?

Get ready for the worst and hope for the best. I believe leaders and companies that have already gone through the economic downturn will be ready to cope with this crisis. Of course, things are happening at a much faster pace now, but we are more flexible, better prepared to adapt to times of change and unpredictability than we were 12-15 years ago.

This is a time for each company to run various short- and medium-term scenarios and define action plans for each of them. No matter how volatile the current environment, inaction is the worst enemy.

 

What is the most positive business news you have read today and want to share it?

I have been reading a lot of positive news lately about measures taken by companies active in Romania to support the fight against the effects of the outbreak or to help the business environment in general. I believe this benevolent sharing of resources and ideas will help not only through these difficult times, but also in making the upturn more straightforward than in other types of crises.

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