By DIDEM ERYAR UNLU
TO HAVE A SUSTAINABLE impact on one’s business requires a multi-disciplinary perspective, especially in a digital world where cross-cultural boundaries are nonexistent. Burcu Acarturk Yildiz, the founding partner of KYB Law Firm, is a lawyer, collector and investor who has managed to develop this holistic perspective both in her personal and professional life.
Born and raised in Samsun, Yildiz studied in Hong Kong for a year through a Turkish Cultural foundation scholarship. After graduating from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Law, she began working for one of Turkey’s largest law firms before partnering with two of her colleagues and establishing their own firm.
After working at one of the biggest law firms in Turkey for over 10 years and becoming a partner in one, Yilzdiz says she wanted to take on a new path professionally. “Although you are a partner, you are limited to the law when you are working for a company,” she says. “But now, we at KYB Law Firm partners are investing in startups and bringing young people together with different investors and platforms. Young people are very creative and their most important need is legal infrastructure and financial support. Through our network, we can help other people more than on our own. Aiding a project, thinking about it, seeing it grow gradually, introducing it to foreigners and helping it go global is so much better. I have control over how I use my time and I love this freedom.”
ROLE MODEL FOR GIRLS AS WELL AS BOYS
Speaking of her influence as a woman on young girls, Yildiz look back at her past. All the successful lawyers at her office were women, but being married with children changes everything she says. “I advise young women who work at my office not to leave their jobs for their children,” she says. “I saw a bunch of talented co-workers leaving. They all put their careers on the backburner when they became mothers. But if you set the right balance between the two, you can easily manage your personal and professional life without making sacrifices. I believe it’s very important for children to see a professional mother figure and take her as a role model. I’m setting an example for both my daughter and my sons. My sons will not expect their wives to become stay-at-home moms because it’s not what they see from their parents.”
Burcu Acarturk Yildiz, Founding Partner of KYB Law Firm“We provide legal support for startups, invest in them and bring young entrepreneurs together with different people and platforms. We can reach out to more people through our network.”
Taking on Turkey’s biggest fraud case
Although there were some sectoral differences, the investment ecosystem in Turkey compared to the rest of the world experienced a contraction during the pandemic, according to Yildiz. While the company expected to see a decline in business, it instead received one of the largest fraud cases in Turkey and kept people working on it during the pandemic. “Due to the nature of this business, the whole international media, from Bloomberg to Reuters, Financial Times and The Telegraph, followed and aired the case,” she says. Even the Harvard Business School wanted to use our case in their classes.”
Legal infrastructure is a must for AI
An autonomous vehicle from Uber hit and killed a woman during a test drive in Arizona in May 2018. In 2021, an autonomous vehicle that belonged to Tesla had an accident and two people died in Texas. “As you can see from these experiences, the necessity for a legal infrastructure regarding autonomous vehicles and other artificial intelligence products is increasing day by day,” Yildiz says.
Experience is essential in law
Hard work is necessary for success, Yildiz says, adding that her younger friends are eager to say that they made it. However, it’s different for Yildiz, who worked for 10 years at her previous job. “We would work on a billion-dollars-worth of projects back then,” she continues. “After working on such projects and managing others, I decided to establish my own company, I remember wondering if I am good enough. It’s good to be selfconfident, it’s important; but too much of it is dangerous. Being an attorney is an important job, there is very little room for mistakes and there’s rarely a way to correct them. Experience is essential in law. I advise my young colleagues to be patient.”