An interview with Dilek Zeybel & Aylin Şener
Aylin Şener and Dilek Zeybel, two fighters who made it to the Top 5 companies in the nation. It only took them 10 years to do this. Dilek is living in Turkey for 15 years and moved to Turkey after her life and study in Germany and found herself directly in the IP business. Aylin is actually from Bulgaria, and the office is multilingual and multinational in Turkey lead by these women.
How do women manage to become so successful in such a short time and in a time when it is not easy for women? “It’s no secret; we just did our best without thinking about how much effort it would cost and how much sales it would bring. We never gave up and processed each case as if it were the most important files in the world. ”
“It was a hurdle that we overcame quickly with solidarity,” says Aylin. “We have never had a moment in which we were desperate although there were enough moments”.
“We are actually two very different characters, as different but also as well-attuned like ying and yang,” adds Dilek. “We had a vision of the perfect team, and now we have an excellent team of 30 people in the office, and we are reflecting the interaction that Aylin and I have in this team. The whole team is simply a reflection of the way we work and the vision we have for IP,” says Dilek. “It is very important to us that each member has very good knowledge and that the strengths of each member are well analyzed in order to use this person well within the team. The person-oriented management is our key because if you value your staff, know each members’ abilities, you automatically value your clients and do a good job” reports Aylin.
What is it like as a woman to establish an IP law firm in a male-dominated world of business? “We never had a major disadvantage,” reports Dilek, “but women have to work harder and prove themselves more. It’s not a magic formula, but women have it a little more difficult than men, and we had to achieve a lot to have success, also in our private life. I have to admit that we were also very much supported by women who were assistants, paralegals and legal staff at the beginning of our careers in IP and are now heads of IP departments in large international companies. The cohesion of women within IP was also very supportive. Indeed, the strength of women in IP should not be underestimated. We know incredibly successful women who are really “wanted”. IP is an industry, in contrast to other industries, in which it is easier and clearer for women”.
What is the key formula? “There is no specific formula,” says Aylin. “But we always feel very close to the client and always do our best. If you report more to the client than necessary, it will end up in a useless flow of information. If you tell less to the client, the client is simply not “involved” and they will see unsatisfactory work. It is therefore always very important for us to provide precise and clear information without leaning on the classical copy-paste work”, reports Dilek.
You recently moved. Congratulations on your new law firm location. We see a “Google-like” structure. Why did you choose this open office design? “It has always been our goal to be transparent and clear about everything, about our staff, our clients and our partners. We have almost no walls in the office. The ones we have are made of glass. This architecture symbolizes transparency. There is an incredible flow of information in the law firm. Your staff just always feels ready to get back to you and are working in good teamwork. We have a bar table, so we have the opportunity to eat together and have a cup of coffee in a café-like atmosphere. A table-football corner with a Playstation is also available and does a really good job”, laughs Dilek, “you can’t believe how relaxing it is for people, after the lunch break you see smiling faces that are full of vigour for the second part of the day”. “If you are close to the staff and show that you are always available and interested in their motivation and mental health, things simply run very smooth. Only our legal department and management are separated by glass walls so that we can still be reached visually. Noise-protected workplaces guarantee a quiet space when someone is working on an important case and needs absolute silence.”
Do you have any recommendations for IP law firms and their management? “Stay close to the client, never lose the thread to your staff as management and make sure that you always work together without retiring to single rooms. If you do it right, your staff will reflect you and your vision by acting like you”, emphasizes Dilek.
Source: This is the official article which will be published in Women’s IP World 2021 annual issue