Headquartered in the inland city of Tampere – Finland’s second largest urban area after the Greater Helsinki conurbation – and with a new branch office in Hämeenlinna that opened in 2020, Tempo Attorneys at Law is one of the leading law firms in the country’s industrial heartland.
Today, the firm employs eight lawyers and four support staff, providing legal advice to businesses – with particular expertise in corporate, contract, labour, taxation, insolvency and company restructuring practice areas – and private clients, comprising criminal, family and inheritance law. Some of its more senior lawyers hold positions of responsibility in the Finnish Bar Association and have experience in arbitration and mediation.
“In Finland, we have some large law offices with more than 100 lawyers, but about 80% are one or two lawyer firms,” says Tapio Pihlaja, one of Tempo’s four partners. “We are a medium-sized firm on a national scale, but one of the biggest in the local market. Tempo is known for its long history, customer service and our strong expertise in a wide range of legal fields. We have specialised lawyers for every customer and every problem.”
At the same time, Tempo counsels company and private clients and takes on cases that involve every aspect of real-estate law, including construction, conveyancing, land use and property development, as well as dispute resolution. Both specialisms fall under the remit of Pihlaja, who has been with the firm since 2016 and became a partner in 2019.
“In the Tampere area, the property market is booming right now,” Pihlaja explains, “We have several massive projects going on like the new light rail system and the Tampere Deck and Arena development. As a result, we’re doing a lot of contract-related work at the moment. We also help clients, such as housing authorities, to resolve disputes via negotiation where possible, and also represent them in court when required.”
Rather than arguing over theories and principles, Pihlaja takes a very pragmatic approach to the law and always aims to find the most economically reasonable solution for his clients. Back in high school, Pihlaja set his sights on becoming a lawyer and went on to study law in the University of Turku. He qualified close to a decade ago and previously worked at a financing company and in other law firm. He joined Tempo because of the possibilities it offered to develop his career; the fact that he knew and liked many of the firm’s professionals was also a big draw.
“I never thought about doing anything else,” Pihlaja admits. “In terms of job satisfaction, I really enjoy solving problems and winning cases. Every client and every problem is different. And every passing day makes me more convinced I made the right choice.”
Tempo joined TEN, the European Network of Law Firms, in the 1990s and Pihlaja took on the responsibility for his firm’s relations with peers across the continent three years ago, stepping into the shoes of his colleague Hanna Räihä-Mäntyharju. In that time, he’s attended three of the network’s annual general meetings and is now looking forward to travelling to Romania in 2020.
“For us, TEN is very important network,” Pihlaja affirms, “where we are able to interact with colleagues abroad, educate ourselves and gain information about other countries legal systems. As a member of TEN we can help our clients and also the other members on cross-border cases. We have co-operated with several other members like Sweden, Sylwan and Fenger-Krog, as well as Constitus in Lithuania and Kanski Kapczuk Kniat-Borsut in Poland and have found the cooperation very important.”