“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.”
These wise words have succeeded in sparking the enthusiasm of Veby Hasibuan, one of the young ADCO Law lawyers, to continue studying culture, including languages, especially Korean. For her, expertise in understanding the culture of the interlocutor is important because, in the process of communication, feeling comfortable and fully understood is a very valuable thing for the communicant to feel.
“Because in the end, the client will choose a lawyer who can make him/her comfortable, right?” said Veby with a smile in our interview session.
Veby Hasibuan: ADCO Law’s Korean-Speaking Lawyer
Joining ADCO Law in early 2023, Veby, as she is usually called, immediately dedicates herself to every client with a Korean cultural background. It is undeniable that Korean language literacy for lawyers at a law firm is becoming increasingly urgent, including at ADCO Law.
This is because South Korea’s investment in Indonesia is known to increase rapidly, making Indonesia an important partner for South Korea in the ASEAN region. The Federation of Korean Industries notes that Indonesia is an important supplier to Korea, mainly due to Indonesia’s status as the world’s largest nickel producer. This indicates that Indonesia’s economic significance is expected to increase in the coming years. This has prompted the Indonesian Embassy in Seoul and IIPC Seoul to actively encourage South Korean businesses to invest in Indonesia in three main areas: global health architecture, digital transformation, and energy transition. This is in line with Indonesia’s presidency in the G20.
Through collaboration with business stakeholders, ADCO Law is dedicated to encouraging cooperation with South Korea and also encouraging South Korea’s efforts to make Indonesia an industrial center and a new ASEAN production base because it has broad access to global markets.
Not surprisingly, Veby’s presence clearly strengthens the firm’s commitment. As a corporate lawyer, Veby is often assigned to negotiate directly with Korean stakeholders.
“The profession of a lawyer is basically concerned with accommodating the needs of our service users, namely clients. In this interaction process, judgments will emerge regarding which lawyers they feel more comfortable with and which ones they don’t; or which lawyers, in their view, are able to fully understand them and which ones are not,” said Veby. Of course, clients have a tendency to choose lawyers who are able to understand their culture because it is easier for them to feel emotionally connected,” continued Veby.
For Veby, the ability to directly understand someone’s culture can also represent respect. “Who wouldn’t be happy when speaking in our own native language, the person you are talking to responds in the same language while at the same time knowing that the person from the other side part of the world,” said Veby, laughing. “Well, there must be appreciation from them, making the process of communication or negotiation easier, more validating, and of course, warmer,” she continued.
Be Observant in Seeing Prospects
Choosing Korea as a culture to be her focus, of course, is based on a reason. Veby admitted that she had a keen eye for the prospects for Korean investment in Indonesia, which are increasingly mushrooming.
“I see that the Indonesian Government is working towards making investments in Indonesia more attractive for foreign investors, especially in the EV, infrastructure, and green technology industries. Thus, this is the right time to invest in Indonesia in those areas, to drive sustainable growth and to find the best Indonesian business partners to create joint ventures,” said Veby. “This is certainly a prospect. I believe exploring Korean culture and language is the right decision,” said Veby.
Continuing her Masters’s degree at Chung-Ang University, South Korea, in the Department of Law, sharpened Veby’s knowledge of Korean culture. Moreover, the education she received was a special scholarship from the Korean government. “Well, because my education was fully funded by the Korean Government, I was even more motivated to study harder, to understand everything more deeply,” said Veby. “And since it was funded by the Korean government, there was a sense of shame in me if I didn’t study hard and do my best,” Veby continued with a chuckle.
It was her ability to adapt to the local culture that finally succeeded in making Veby have a deep curiosity about Korea and achieve various achievements to be proud of.
“Almost every moment about Korea brings its own memories for me, one of which is a collage moment when I met many lecturers and students from other campuses in a ‘travel’ program to Dokdo, the outermost island of Korea. The program was organized by one of my lecturers, who was the head of the Korean Society of International Law. What made me very proud was that my lecturer often introduced me to various audiences using Korean, and I responded in pure Korean without mixing it with English. To me, that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” continued Veby.
Now, working as a corporate lawyer, Veby has experience in settling various transactions in corporate and M&A, energy, mining, construction, major projects, business competition, bankruptcy, PKPU, legal compliance, and employment.
Within this cross-sectoral corporate practice, Veby has successfully completed various transactions, such as assisting the Indonesian State Gas Company in terms of employment, industrial relations, and infrastructure projects; assisting clients with intellectual property disputes against foreign entities; assisting Indonesian public companies in business acquisition transactions and corporate actions; assisting foreign clients regarding settlement with Indonesian companies; assisting clients with intellectual property due diligence; assisting foreign clients regarding business establishment in Indonesia; assisting clients in criminal proceedings at the Jakarta Corruption Court; and others.
Motherhood for Veby Hasibuan
Having a toddler while pursuing a career as a corporate lawyer is clearly a series of adaptations that Veby has gone through.
“Lack of sleep, lack of rest, lack of healing,” said Veby, laughing. “But that’s the consequence, and I’m sure that’s the sacrifice a mother makes. The most important thing for me is to be good at time management,” she continued. Veby shared how the serious demeanor she showed in the office resulted from the level of focus she applied during working hours.
“Focus is one of the main things I learned from Korean culture. I’m used to getting one thing done before moving on to the next job, and this includes dividing time between work and taking care of children,” said Veby. “Practicing focus has proven to help me finish things on time,” continued Veby.
Veby realizes that now she not only serves as a mother but also as a wife, an associate at ADCO Law, and a colleague for all of her colleagues. “All I do is focus on living my life in every role I play today,” said Veby. “I hope that everything I do today can serve as a good example for my son, for example, my journey in learning cultures and respecting differences, making him understand how important it is to have empathy for everyone, without exception. This will in turn have a positive impact on his perspective on interpersonal relationships as humans who live side by side,” concluded Veby.