After 30 years of existence and growth, Simon Associés now relies on a full-service team of over 80 lawyers across 12 areas of expertise: Real Estate & Urbanism, Social, Restructuring, Commercial Litigation, Life Sciences, Media & Entertainment, Corporate Criminal Law, M&A , financing, international, IP & new technologies and distribution, competition & consumption. Simon Associés is driven by an entrepreneurial DNA, deployed around a national network in 15 cities and internationally in 63 countries. The future of Simon Associés is resolutely focused on value-added services, new niche expertise, the development of sectoral centers of excellence, interprofessionalism and above all innovation, which is expressed both externally (for the benefit of customers and in its communication) and internally (on behalf of the members of Simon Associés).
Innovation in file approach and communication
First, innovation must be present in case management. Considering new and innovative solutions, going off the beaten track to meet customer needs, this is the approach we have to problems. In this view, we have made specific legal arrangements, intended to enable certain brands to cope with the pandemic or even to differentiate international development plans.
We strive to move away from traditional solutions to see situations from a new perspective, with the intention of developing new and innovative arrangements that directly serve our clients’ strategy.
Then innovation manifests itself in certain themes that we chose to highlight, when they were never the focus of reflection or documentation. This is especially the case for the legal supplement to the 2021 Annual Franchise Guide, published with Franchise Magazine, which we devoted to customer reviews; we will also be publishing a white paper on customer reviews shortly to complete and update our reflection on the recent sanctions for false customer reviews. We also wanted to work on the KPIs1 by writing articles and in particular intervening with the French Franchise Federation. We strive to question ourselves about the topics that have an increasing business and operational function in business.
“We are convinced that it is essential to innovate in the exercise of our profession”
We believe that legal communications media should adapt to the new way of life, with podcasts, videos and interactive training. That’s why we’ve modernized our communication tools to offer customers more modern, useful and functional formats. With this in mind, in 2020 we brought legal podcasts to the attention of distribution networks, on innovative topics, and in early 2022 we launched “La Minute des Réseaux”, one-minute videos broadcast every Friday on a legal topic related franchise networks.
We have also equipped Simon Associés with new tools for customers: on the one hand, we are currently finalizing the implementation of a client interface tool to optimize exchanges and give customers independent access to files, to meet the requirements of transparency and speed. On the other hand, we have set up a monitoring tool to identify companies in difficulty in order to inform customers operating in the same sector who would see a development opportunity. In addition, we have created a specific, tailor-made digital tool for the training of our customers. The training is focused and fun for legal services.
To meet the need for simplified access to legal services, we also launched two websites dedicated to the network in 2022: a site aimed at French brands planning to launch a franchise in France; another site – translated into 7 languages – showing the attractiveness of the French market for foreign brands. These two websites are part of the innovative communication methods employed by the company to highlight Simon Associés’ distribution skills.
Internal innovation for Simon Associés members
Finally, we have internally implemented innovative services and tools with the aim of improving the working conditions of the members of the Simon Associés office. We are always eager to train teams: this point is fundamental to us. We are now capturing our in-house training delivered by associate professors who work alone or in pairs, depending on the theme, and are then accessible in replay to as many people as possible. The most recent training courses focused on the reform of civil procedural law and the consequences of contract termination. We have also recently redesigned our intranet space to become a real tool for coherence, sharing and transferring information: offering refresher training, news from Simon Associés, documentation management, access to internal tools.
The well-being and cohesion of teams must be protected and strengthened. Also in the belief that the profession must be practiced differently in order to provide the teams with better conditions, we are currently setting up activities for the teams: sophrology, muscle-strengthening courses, English and races.
For several years now, we have decided to celebrate the members of the company by setting two dates: one intended to thank the administrative staff, the other to honor the employees, also expressing our concerns together with the cabinet members of the customer focus.
THE IMPORTANT POINTS.
• Anticipating the future of the legal profession and client needs
• Understand new ways of communicating
• Put the customer at the center of the system by offering them tools for exchange and transparency
ON THE AUTHORS. François-Luc Simon has built up extensive experience in commercial and distribution law, in litigation and in advising on behalf of brands and institutional groups, in France and abroad. He is the author of numerous publications in the field of economic law and contract law. Sandrine Richard has gained experience in distribution law, advice and litigation on behalf of renowned brands.
1 Key Indicator Performance refers to a company’s indicators that measure its performance.