Lawyer profile : Valérie Reynaud

Written on
29 November 2023
  • What was your experience like as a law student, and what type of student were you?

I was a serious student by day… less so by night.

  • How did you know you wanted to become a lawyer?

Is this decision still without regret today? I come from a family of jurists, some of whom are magistrates…but I had some difficulties with authority from a very early age. I took my oath at the age of 25, and every day I realize how lucky I am to be able to practice a profession of passion and freedom!

  • Have you ever had the opportunity to teach law or conduct legal research, and if so, how did you feel about it?

We work in a demanding and competitive profession, which requires not only in-depth knowledge of our fields of intervention, but above all the structuring of this knowledge. In an age of rapid change, training is obviously essential to stay on top of our game, but in my view, transmission is still fundamental. I taught at the STRASBOURG Law School for 6 years. During this period, I endeavored to bridge the gap between the academic world and the professional approach to law, which requires not only analysis and in-depth study, but also communication skills and creativity. I was also a member of the jury for the grand oraux d’admission at ERAGE (école d’avocats) last week… and unfortunately I was able to see the gap between the way the profession is portrayed by many of the candidates and the reality. The importance of internships cannot be overstated. I strongly advocate increased collaboration with universities and schools to develop apprenticeships and sandwich courses.

  • Do you think the legal profession has changed significantly in recent years?

It’s a no-brainer. And that’s putting it mildly. The legal profession has undergone real upheaval. It is confronted with both economic and political issues, and the constraints of a justice system with limited resources, often at odds with the demands of the business world for speed and confidentiality. The integration of “legal design” as a communication medium, and Artificial Intelligence tools for research and drafting of deeds, the mobilization of alternative dispute resolution methods, or more efficient and “business friendly” procedures – in particular Arbitration – are all levers at our disposal, which we mobilize for the benefit of our customers. In addition, as a company, we are faced with profound changes in the world of work. Adaptation and agility are essential, and remain our daily concerns, but our profession remains unquestionably a profession of the future.

  • How do you react to failures or undesirable results in the businesses you manage?

Justice remains human, and setbacks are part of the battle. That’s why it’s essential to take a step back. I often use the example of chess with my customers: strategy is essential and must be rethought at every moment.

  • Could you share a memorable travel experience and explain how it influenced you?

My visit to Iceland last December had a major impact on me, as we were already working on our CSR strategy and drafting our pre-report. Heavy snowfalls had made communications difficult, but the volcanic landscapes were simply breathtaking, and the spectacle of the northern lights magical. The force of the elements on this island is impressive, and the climatic challenge palpable. By contrast, the warmth of the Icelandic people is moving, and their ability to adapt to their environment, as well as their social values (equality between men and women is a given), are instructive.

  • Why is it crucial for NMCG to be part of an international network?

International openness is essential, and we’re obviously sensitive to this in Strasbourg. In 2023, the world is digital, our customers are often based abroad and disputes are frequently cross-border. Joining the Law Echange International network gives us access to a network of qualified contacts who can deal effectively with issues arising under national law and combine their expertise to support our clients.

  • What is your view on the growing integration of artificial intelligence in the legal field?

This is obviously a major challenge for the coming months, and one that is driving us to reinvent ourselves and adapt our approaches, both in consulting and litigation. We already work with a number of legaltech platforms that facilitate and accelerate access to relevant data. The integration of AI-based tools will obviously expand and optimize this access, but it will then be a matter of exploiting it. This integration will also make it all the more essential to listen to customers and analyze their problems, particularly when formulating the prompts (queries) on which results will depend. To date, I see AI as a formidable tool for in-depth analysis and decision support, which obviously needs to be mastered.

  • Is there a place or area of Strasbourg that you consider to be your favourite haven or secret spot?

Strasbourg is multifaceted, and Alsace is full of beautiful villages… But I must confess I have a particular fondness for the Tomi UNGERER Museum. It’s located on the road between the Cabinet and the Courthouse, and its humor and poetry are a never-ending source of relaxation and inspiration.

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