Dr. Mohamed Idwan (‘Kiki’) Ganie
A: Menara Imperium 30th Floor
Jl. H. R. Rasuna Said Kav. 1
Kuningan Jakarta 12980,
T: +62 21 831-5005, 831-5025
F: +62 21 831-5015, 831-5018
LGS recently completed its 30th anniversary. What are some of your memories from the early days of the firm, and how do they compare with how the firm is today?
Lubis Ganie Surowidjojo (LGS) was founded in 1985 by Timbul Thomas Lubis, Mohamed Idwan (‘Kiki’) Ganie and Arief Tarunakarya Surowidjojo. Since then, LGS has grown into the largest corporate transactions and corporate litigation firm in Indonesia. LGS specializes in both Commercial Transactions and Commercial Disputes, including criminal law. As well as helping to put the deal together we can also help to prevent or solve problems in its implementation.
Our lawyers are specialized in confirming what the legal problem is, but do not leave the solution to the client, they are also trained to suggest commercial solutions to what has started as a legal problem or legal solutions to what has started as commercial problems.
There is no “one fits all” method. Every client is different, with different requirements and preferences. We try to address changing requirements of our clients and their different requirements. We are skilled at servicing both existing and anticipated client needs. Whilst we provide commoditized as well as bespoke legal products, the service in both cases is always tailor made to fit the specific requirements of the respective client.
Providing “more for less”. We believe in “value for money”. We are continuously trying to increase value and to be more effective and efficient and to apply economies of scale to decrease individual legal cost. To do the walking and not only the talking, we have obtained an ISO 9001/2008 accreditation issued and regularly audited by Lloyds, the objective of which is continual improvement in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and client satisfaction. Whilst mere client satisfaction is the aim of law firms generally we also want clients to return to us in the future.
What have been some of the firm’s key achievements in the last three decades?
In our more than three decades of service, we are experienced in representing a diverse range of clients from domestic to multinational corporations, public and private companies, to government instrumentalities and state owned enterprises. We work with our clients to understand their problems, determine their needs, and arrive at a practical solution that is both cost-effective and viable over the long term.
Our unique selling point is the combination of our long-standing practice of commercial law and our premier litigation department that has extensive experience in dealing with commercial disputes in the context of arbitration and alternative dispute resolution as well as litigation in the Indonesian courts. This allows our corporate transaction departments to benefit from such litigation experience, and from their own compliance work, to ensure that any transactions handled by the firm are carried out with a view to the potential for future disputes, to this end we review transactions and business relationships of our clients for potential issues.
Similarly, in what ways do you think the Indonesian legal market has evolved during your time as a lawyer?
Clients are increasingly looking for stability (or better: sustainability) and strategic direction. We have made it our mission not only to service existing but also anticipated client needs. We are therefore skilled not only to advise what the “the law says”, but also what the clients could or should do to solve the legal aspects of a legal or commercial problem or to support our Clients’ strategic direction. In three years’ time we see the firm to have achieved its mission to be the Indonesian firm with the largest transaction and dispute resolution division and with the largest network of branch offices throughout Indonesia to provide not only expertise on central government laws, regulations and policies, but also regional laws, regulations and policies, and to provide assistance wherever the legal issues arise within Indonesia. All that with a view to increase value, to be more effective and cost efficient for the benefit of our clients and also to assist other firms who require legal services in the region (provinces) of Indonesia.
What have been some of the key practice areas for LGS in the past year or so? Are there any work highlights that you are particularly proud of?
LGS acts as the lead legal advisor to the IIGF, which is an Indonesian government framework that insures risks of PPP projects stemming from a variety of sources, including unfavourable policy changes and other political risks. This replaces the previous practice of government guarantee notes that were issued on a per-project basis and creates a robust framework within which all future PPP projects in Indonesia will operate. This has also involved LGS acting as the lead Indonesian legal advisor for the Government of Indonesia (Ministry of Finance, the national electricity company (PLN), the Indonesia Infrastructure Guarantee Fund (IIGF), and Regional Governments hosting infrastructure projects) in formulating and executing the legislative and contractual framework underlying Indonesia’s current infrastructure development. Recent projects have included: Central Java Power Plant ($3.4 billion), Muara Laboh ($661 million), Bandar Lampung (first large PPP water project), and Central Kalimantan Coal Railway (approx. $2.3 billion).
Tell us about your alliance with Clyde. What are some of the benefits that the two firms have derived from the alliance?
We have entered into an association with Clyde & Co., a major international law firm based in the United Kingdom with offices throughout the world. The goal of the association is to serve the firms’ clients throughout Indonesia, to attract new international clients, and to cater to Indonesian businesses that conduct business abroad and those whom are looking at opportunities abroad.
Experience in working with International firms is the critical element, as well as lawyers’ international experience and ability to work with clients and counterparts from other jurisdictions, which usually means different legal systems and different expectations than those prevalent in the home market. Our association with Clyde & Co. provides out lawyers with this invaluable experience as well as providing our clients with a fully integrated service that has both unparalleled local Indonesian experience and outstanding international expertise.
What would you say are some of the key attributes that set LGS apart from other Indonesian law firms?
Adding value depends on the specific circumstances and requirements of the client. We start from the assumption that there is no universal way to do that.
For example, where several clients had the same legal problem caused by new laws, regulations or policies they agreed to jointly instruct us and shared the legal cost. Where we have initially proposed that, now this same or even wider group of clients comes together upon their own initiative on the understanding that our cost will be shared among them.
Another example is where the client has a legal problem which requires various specializations, which no single local firm can provide and we then build a dream team of only the best lawyers this country can provide. Clients trust that we know who are the best in the legal industry and that we can negotiate a better deal in terms of legal cost and level expertise than they could themselves. All within the shortest period of time. Our main objective is the best interest of the client.
We strive to understand a client’s needs and the legal complexities faced by them in Indonesia’s highly dynamic legal and business landscape, translate this into a solution, and then see the successful outcome. To this end, we approach our clients’ assignments with a pragmatic view that is driven by a deep understanding of their business needs and of the surrounding practicalities of the legal and business landscape that they operate in. This means that it is essential to keep abreast of the latest legal developments and how they are likely to affect business operations, and have a view of both the challenges that such developments present and of the opportunities that may emerge as a result.
What does the next year look like for both Indonesia’s legal market, and your firm?
Firstly, debt restructuring (mainly in the mining and shipping sector because of falling commodity prices and freight cost), secondly infrastructure including power plants, toll roads and ports because of the government’s focus on long overdue infrastructure, thirdly anything directly or indirectly connected with the tourism sector because of the government program to increase revenue from tourism and fourthly, Compliance, because of increased compliance requirements.
In the longer term, we foresee an expansion of the practice area to include work with clients whose businesses are not at risk of financial difficulty, but who decide to involve counsel with bankruptcy experience to ensure that any contracts and arrangements are sufficiently resilient in the face of either party’s financial non-performance.