One on One with the Great One: Bintang Hidayanto – Founding Partner of Guido Hidayanto & Partners (GHP)
The Luxuvere team recently had the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview to know more about Bintang Hidayanto as well as his career in law sector.
Bintang Hidayanto is one of the founding partners of an Indonesian law firm called Guido Hidayanto and Partners (GHP). Founded three years ago, the law firm as well as Mr. Hidayanto has received multiple prestigious awards that further strengthen their foothold in Indonesian law industry.
Mr. Hidayanto reminisced the time in the past when he would always have an argument to counter his parents scolding as a kid and also act as the council to defend his sibling if he got into trouble. He would always win to the point of his mother saying that he should just be a lawyer since he talked too much, without knowing fully well what it entails as none of the extended family pursued the profession.
With no interest in any other major and wanting to avoid doing any subject with numbers, Mr. Hidayanto decided on a law major at university. Now, Mr. Hidayanto is one of Who’s Who Legal Indonesia’s Top 13 lawyers in the oil and gas sector, and is definitely the youngest. After starting his own law firm back in 2016, Mr. Hidayanto actually wanted to diversify his practice into other areas that is not only limited to oil and gas.
With his vast knowledge and experience in the oil and gas industry he had obtained from his first internship in a boutique oil and gas firm, Mr. Hidayanto was awarded with Who’s Who Legal award a year after the firm was founded. Another factor that contributed to the award was the fact that there are only a few Indonesian lawyers that specialise in the area, with him mentioning the sector is usually being taken care of by foreign lawyers.
“Having a role model to me, is a double edged sword, because the danger for having a role model is that you tried to emulate yourself to become like your role model, which I think may not work all the time because what happens to that person was very unique to that person’s life.”
On whether or not he has a role model in the industry, Mr. Hidayanto emphasized that he does not have one and is not trying to. Although he respects his seniors, who are all great lawyers, but there is no one that he particularly look up to the point where he wanted to be like that person. He does not want to get fixated on a character or a persona and subconsciously try to become that person as he believes that everyone as an individual is unique to each their own.
The most important thing as a partner is the ability to generate business, win the trust of the client and bring in business to the firm, Mr. Hidayanto stated. There is no wrong or right way to do it but he believes that there are two types of partner: the Rainmaker and the Surgeon.
The Rainmaker is someone who is charismatic and would always attend parties to socialise, build a bond and trusting relationship with the customer meanwhile the Surgeon is the complete opposite of that. The Surgeon would just do the technical work of actually being a lawyer, but he would be super expert at what he does that he need not promote himself as he is renowned for the quality of his work.
For many young lawyers nowadays, although they are very promising and are more advanced by 10 to 20 years compared to their seniors, they’d feel lost after being promoted to a partner and would feel not good enough for the job. According to Mr. Hidayanto, this problem comes up time and again, but the root of the problem actually lies in their misunderstanding of what being a partner means and what type of partner they are.
It is very psychological, Mr. Hidayanto mentioned. Seeing how a lot of university fresh graduate joined a law firm right after they graduate and they worked in all these technical cases for 10 years and never having to deal with the business side or the developmental side of things. And after 10 years, they are promoted to a partner and expected to do the things that they never do during their time at the firm, of course it only made sense if these new partners feel lost.
That is why in his firm, Mr. Hidayanto and his team are always looking at each of their lawyers and tried to identify which character each of them are and then guide as well as support them to realize which type of partner they are. These young lawyers would get to go to events and marketing events, should they want it, to help them realize their own potential.
“I think the law practice has evolved very much so, with the advent of technology. I think the number one aspect that has changed so much is the speed of delivery, but also at the same time, the expectation of the client with respect to the speed.”
Mr. Hidayanto indicated that he was fortunate enough to have worked in a firm whereby the internet was not as fast. Because now, with the advent of technology, his clients would just email or Whatsapp him and due to that, he has ever had to work at odd hours. Another thing is, he mentioned, law practice has long been a very exclusive practice for many years. It was deemed as costly and difficult to approach that only certain types of companies or individuals could benefit from a legal service.
But that has changed now, it is already less exclusive. Now, he said, you would see a lot of mid-size business as well as regular people who would probably never consider using lawyers 10 years ago, consider getting a legal consultation as the importance of law has increased in Indonesian society.
“Growing up I thought there’s only one lawyer, the one who goes to the court and argues, but there’s another side of it, which is the type of lawyers who can try to help you, prevent you from actually having to go to court. So to illustrate, corporate lawyers are probably like Dietitian. So they’d tell you what to do so that you don’t get a heart attack. Some people follow, most of the times they don’t. And if they don’t, they get lucky, fine. But if they get a heart attack, they call the heart surgeon. And those are the lawyers that go to court. So, they fixed messiness and corporate law lawyers tried to prevent messes from happening.”
Although the concept of corporate law side is considered still relatively new in Indonesia, it is expanding more and more due to the society’s understanding of the importance of law. They would want to make sure that everything is done properly to avoid getting into a legal mess. The reach of legal services have expanded and Mr. Hidayanto concluded that he thinks it is going to continue to expand in the coming years.
The satisfaction of getting a job done is what puts a smile on Mr. Hidayanto face at work. He mentioned that a lot of the time they would deal with complex transactions that they do not know if it’s ever going to be solved. But when the team thinks they do a good job and if they also got to see the results and know that they are a part of that, gives him and the team a feeling of satisfaction that is quite incomparable.
Seeing how small business grow exponentially since the last time the company help them with their expansion as well as legal matters also gives Mr. Hidayanto and the team happiness since they know that they have delivered their best and now as a result, the client’s business is thriving.
The team is very close-knit and we would always joke around, Mr. Hidayanto mentioned. He also stated that the company almost have no rules that are not very important such as having to arrive on time and many more as he believes being sensible will translate to better working environment and people would react better if they have a choice to be sensible.
He wants to develop and cultivate an environment where people are sensible because they have to be and not because there were rules, rewards and punishments. Knowing that doing this can be quite a challenge if the company grows, thus Mr. Hidayanto always try to keep the size of the company healthy and reasonable.
Mr. Hidayanto admitted that he is very lucky to work alongside people who share the same desire of delivering the best to the clients. But he realized that the main demotivation at work is a toxic work environment. Thus, the company worked very hard to eradicate toxic work environment as well as office politics by having an open space that makes it hard to gossip as well as a flat organization where the partners are approachable thus the young lawyers can learn a lot from the expert. The company also treats everyone equally with no favoritism as well as do random but fun things together to keep the working environment good and healthy for everyone.
And lastly, for any value that he held from the start of his career until now, Mr. Hidayanto concluded beautifully with having integrity as the number one quality to have as a lawyer.
“To me, integrity simply means you don’t cheat people, you’re honest, and you do your best. Sometimes of course people have limitations and you try your best but it’s still that. But what can you do, that’s that’s your best. The clients can be happy or upset, but if you’re honest with them and say, look, this is the best I can do. In my experience at least they are more, not forgiving, but they can accept.”
By being honest and revealing your vulnerability that you did a mistake and you tell the clients of that, the relationship would be stronger as they know that you would be honest, he said. Mr. Hidayanto also added that sometimes in the industry, what the client need is not quality but comfort. And to be that type of lawyer who can give comfort to the client, a lawyer needs to have an integrity.
“In order to be that lawyer who can give comfort to your client, what you need to have is integrity, it’s number one. Without integrity, it doesn’t matter. If the outcome of your work is excellent, but if the client is not comfortable, or happy with you, then what’s the point?”