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Interview with Joachim Kaetzler

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Joachim Kaetzler
Dr. Joachim Kaetzler
Partner
Rechtsanwalt | Head of Banking & Finance

What will the law firm of the future look like?

It will be a managed powerhouse platform run by a few “super lawyers” with a stellar reputation, brand experts, IT and highly qualified support staff. Future law firms will be 30% of today’s size and based on consent, engagement and personal contributions with compensation paid on merit only. The firm will be a small and speedy “helicopter carrier” and a platform for individuals, rather than a 19th century-style partnership of hundreds or even thousands. Leverage will be below 1:1 as routine work will be outsourced.

What has been your most memorable moment as a lawyer?

In 1999, I visited prisons in Rwanda on behalf of a humanitarian organisation to review adequate legal representation of around one hundred detained children who were accused of serious crimes during the genocide. Being a commercial lawyer in a large firm often makes us forget what an important job we have. We should get up and do some more of the important stuff, not only for our memories but also for the Rule of Law and access to it for all.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

After the Bank of New York and Mellon Bank merger in 2007, I saw and heard (the then CEO) Bob Kelly concluding a town hall meeting by saying, “Life is short”. We forget that too often.