Law without language barriers
TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTO © FORUM ADVOCATEN
While dealing with legal issues, it can be difficult to find a lawyer who speaks the same language as you do. Forum Advocaten likes to be the exception. Not only do they speak in human terms instead of in legal lingo, they also offer legal assistance in six different languages.
“We see our clients more as people,” Jana Kern says, who is the spirit of her office. As partner at Forum Advocaten, based in Belgium, she and her team try to change the tide in the rigid world of advocacy. In its six years of existence, Forum has developed a clear view on how to practice law: with a horizontal structure and without borders.
“We approach our clients in a very personal and comforting way, closing the gap between the two parties,” Kern continues. “By cooperating with them in a direct and accessible way, we look further than the legal side of the case and take the economic and social context into account as well. This way, we estimate which options are the most interesting for the client.”
Yet, the secret weapon of the firm is polyglot Jana Kern herself. By providing legal assistance in six different languages, she pushes Forum to an international level. “I’m fluent in Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. Since I’ve picked up most of these languages by living abroad, I’m familiar with the cultures behind the words as well.” Upon request, Kern and her colleagues can translate all legal documents in the language most convenient to the client. Even if that is ‘simple human terms’. “We know how complex legal documents can be. That’s why we often summarise the essence of it in simple words as well. We like to have transparent and comprehensible collaborations with our clientele.”
Considering these qualities, Forum Advocaten is a great choice for international individuals, companies and government bodies who have issues to resolve on Belgian soil. With four partners and nine other lawyers, the firm’s expertise is spread widely. “Our main focus is administrative, corporate and labour law. Yet, we are very qualified in multiple other fields as well.” Befitting of Forum, all cases are dealt with in meetings with the entire firm. This cross-pollination of different minds and expertises is their golden key to finding a fitting solution. “We don’t tolerate egocentricity here. We all work 100 per cent for Forum, and the happy ending of your case is our sole priority.”