Interview with Maître Olivier Ferraz, lawyer & notary at the Ferraz Law Firm

Please introduce yourself briefly ?

My name is Olivier Ferraz. I am 34 years old. I am married and have four children. I moved to the canton of Fribourg from Valais when I was a university student, and I settled here permanently almost 10 years ago at the end of my legal training. I am a lawyer and a notary in the Ferraz Law Firm that I founded in Fribourg and we are active in the whole French-speaking part of Switzerland.

2- What are your areas of expertise?

As a notary, we provide all usual notarial services such as real estate, succession, family, company, etc. As a lawyer, we intervene in all areas of law, with a marked specialization in construction law, family law and inheritance law.

The specificity of the Ferraz Law Firm is its constant will to develop the access to law through new technologies and digitalization in order to gain in efficiency, simplicity and speed for our clients.

3- What are the main issues in your profession?

The biggest challenge for the lawyer and notary professions at this time is to open our eyes to the economic reality of our era, so that we can evolve in time.

I have noticed that notaries are more and more actively seeking to understand what is at stake in the current technological developments for our profession.

4- What impact will technology have on your business in the next 10 years?

In my opinion, technology will not have a great impact on the legal profession over the next ten years. However, the image of the dusty notary, who remains hidden in his books, is, in my opinion, a thing of the past. Technology is making the notary’s job easier every day. Global systems, EDM, centralization, etc. are all tools that optimize advice and speed up processes.

In the long run, this means gains in efficiency and performance for everyone, service provider and client. I am increasingly approached by colleagues in French-speaking Switzerland and certain entities mandated by cantonal orders to digitalize the notary profession, facilitate access, centralize information, etc.

I am therefore convinced that things will change and I am determined to remain a central player in this evolution for as long as I am allowed.

5- How do you imagine the real estate transaction of the future?

In my opinion, the real estate transaction of the future will be the one where all the information will be interconnected through the blockchain, between registries, banks and administrations…

The transaction itself will be 100% dematerialized in a few minutes and the role of the notary will be that of adviser, supervisor and above all auditor in charge of ensuring the durability of transactions and the respect of the law.

6- What is your opinion on real estate crowdfunding?

Whether it is real estate or not, crowdfunding is for me one of the most powerful tools born of our interconnected society. It is the materialization of “unity is strength” in the economic world. The majority of crowdfunders would have strictly no economic impact alone.
However, when they get together, they move mountains or, in this case, buy buildings and raise millions. The principle is just great. Now, it is not my place to judge whether or not it is a good idea to invest in real estate in this way. I leave that to the specialists.

7- Can you describe the collaboration with Foxstone?

Today, we handle all legalizations and online certifications for all crowdfunding operations conducted by Foxstone in Switzerland. At the same time, we handle all real estate sales in Fribourg. In addition to the technical challenge, there is a real human adventure behind it, because selling to one buyer has absolutely nothing to do with selling to a hundred people at the same time. It is exhausting but exciting, we always find solutions, even in complex cases, by discussing and collaborating actively.

8- How would you define the Foxstone spirit?

What they do themselves, they know how to do and they do it well. For the rest, they rely on service providers capable of accompanying them to achieve their goals (lawyers, notaries, banks, etc.). Isn’t this the very definition of team spirit?

9- A word to conclude

I am a lawyer and a notary by passion. I love what I do and I thrive with my clients. So how can I not be excited to be a part of something as exciting as watching Foxstone and its clients constantly evolve?

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