For Malcolm Mifsud, taking the leap from the security of working with a large law firm to cofounding a new, specialised boutique law firm was an act of courage that would mark the beginning of more than a decade of success at Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates.
“I was working as an associate with a large law firm, enjoying the role and gaining a lot of experience but I questioned whether I could do it myself, and move from the safe, cocooned environment of a fixed salary and select responsibilities to the perceived uphill struggle of setting up a new firm and overseeing all aspects of the company.
“Then, in 2007, alongside my brother, Cedric, I decided to take the leap and set up Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates, specialised in business law. We dived in at the deep end, so to speak, but it helped me professionally to toughen up, and has taught me to trust in my own decision-making,” Malcolm says.
That trust was soon reflected by the firm’s clientele, whose repeat custom led Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates to grow from a two-lawyer outfit to a specialised team of 25 people in just 12 years, maintaining its boutique status and prioritising quality, personal care and attention to clients.
“Our values revolve around being straightforward with our clients, offering a very fast response, seeking to fully understand their needs, and giving them the best advice possible with honesty and empathy, even if sometimes they may not wish to hear it,” he continues. “Building a good rapport with each client is extremely important to us and, through that, we are more equipped to come up with creative, tailor-made solutions to whatever issues they have presented to us.”
Combined with this focused approach upon the individual needs of clientele, Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates grew steadily and diversified over the years, particularly becoming more robust in the maritime and yachting sectors. “The key to our success has been focusing on the competencies that we have: either we know what we’re doing, or we don’t,” Malcolm asserts. “Besides our corporate and litigation clients, our niche area has become the maritime and yachting fields, and we now offer a one-stop shop in this area covering everything from boat employment law to crew payroll administration in Malta Maritime Payroll Services (MMPS). We have also established AEGIS Corporate Services to assist foreign companies in all aspects of setting up in Malta, from visa applications to work permits.”
With so many niche strings to the firm’s collective bow, Malcolm also places the company’s success squarely at the feet of the select team driving it forward on a daily basis. “A typical business day for me as a co-CEO involves a lot of time management and relies heavily on the strong team ethic that we have. It’s by no means a one-man band: we assist each other as a team, with hard work, long hours, and dedication. We also headhunt rather than advertise for new talent so that we stay at the top of our game and can bounce ideas off each other to give the highest quality of service and expertise to our clients.”
The firm’s cornerstones of honesty, empathy, and a strong work ethic are also somewhat inspired by Malcolm’s own experience as a politician, having been elected five consecutive times as mayor of Pietà, president of the Committee of the Central Region in 2009, and appointed member of the EU Committee of the Regions.
“I was very proud to have taken on these roles, and they were another learning experience for me. Politics teaches you how to deal with people, and to be sensitive to their issues, problems, and concerns, while creating a vision, persuading people to get on board with it, and implementing it. Conversely, it also teaches you that, although you’ll try to change things, you won’t always succeed in doing so, and that change doesn’t happen at the click of your fingers.”
Over the past year, Malcolm continued to focus on growing the firm’s relatively new MMPS department, building the team and promoting it further. Support to AEGIS Corporate Services is also ongoing as the firm would like to see it become self-reliant and its own entity. In fact, he points out, the idea is to make it practically independent from Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates.
Brexit and financial services are other issues on which Malcolm and his team also focus on. They also keep their eyes wide open with regard to both legal and political developments on a global scale, with the firm always laying stress on its signature attention to detail and passion to maintain its specialised expertise.
This is a serialisation of the publication Malta CEOs 2020. All interviews took place prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.