CEELMDirect Profile Pick: A series of interviews with partners and firms with Premium profiles on the CEELMDirect legal directory. Today’s interview: Gjorgji Georgievski, Partner at ODI Law in Skopje.
CEELMDirect: Hi Gjorgji, and thanks for speaking with us. Let's start at the beginning. What led you into the law in the first place?
Georgievski: It was my mother who sparked my interest in law. She worked as an in-house legal counsel at the Macedonian Natural Science Museum for her entire career. When I was in high school, she would occasionally bring her work home, and I found myself drawn to the piles of documents scattered across our dining table. However, it was her involvement in litigation that truly piqued my interest in law. As she represented the Natural Science Museum in multiple court cases, she would share the details of the trials with me. Her passion for the law was infectious, and she was always willing to answer my questions, no matter how trivial they seemed. Through these conversations with my mother, I became captivated by the intellectual challenges of practicing law. Then, during my sophomore year, my fascination transformed into a fierce determination to become a lawyer. Watching the movie The Devil's Advocate had a significant impact on me. I was mesmerized by the character of Kevin Lomax, played by Keanu Reeves, the ambitious young criminal defense attorney who is recruited by a prestigious law firm headed by the charismatic and diabolical John Milton, played by Al Pacino. He quickly becomes the best lawyer in the firm and works on high-profile cases.
CEELMDirect: Once you began law school, what was your favorite course and professor?
Georgievski: As someone who imagined myself becoming a criminal defense attorney, Criminal Law was easily my favorite course in law school. And of all my brilliant professors, Gjorgji Marjanovic stood out as my absolute favorite. With a long and distinguished academic career, Professor Marjanovic taught criminal law and related subjects at various universities across Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia. He had also served as a visiting professor at esteemed institutions in Germany, Italy, Austria, and the US. But what really set him apart was his ability to make complex legal concepts easy to understand and downright entertaining. His lectures were the most sought-after in law school, and for a good reason. His passion for the law was infectious, and he had a knack for injecting humor into even the driest of topics. He was a true gem in the world of legal academia, and I feel grateful to have been one of his students.
CEELMDirect: So, as a lawyer, how would you describe your job? What is it, at a fundamental level, you do for your clients?
Georgievski: In my opinion, at the core of the legal profession lies the responsibility of lawyers to ensure that clients receive a sense of security and clarity in a world often rife with ambiguity and uncertainty. This is achieved through a combination of legal risk management techniques, which involve identifying, mitigating, and resolving potential legal issues before they escalate into major conflicts. However, when legal risks do arise, a lawyer's duty is to act on behalf of clients and represent them in disputes to ensure that their interests are protected, and their legal rights are upheld. Ultimately, in my opinion, the objective of the legal profession is to help clients navigate the complex and ever-changing legal landscape with confidence and clarity and to provide them with the certainty they need to move forward with their business, personal, and professional goals.
CEELMDirect: Now a personal question. Let's say I'm coming to Skopje for a weekend. What one place or activity should I absolutely not miss?
Georgievski: When you're in Skopje, one place you simply cannot miss is the Old Bazaar. This vibrant marketplace is a true gem of the city, boasting a rich history that dates back centuries. In fact, it is one of the largest and oldest bazaars in the entire Balkan region. The bazaar is a bustling hub of activity, with a wide array of shops and restaurants offering everything from handmade crafts and jewelry to traditional Macedonian cuisine. When it comes to Macedonian cuisine, the Old Bazaar is an absolute treasure trove of delicious dishes and local specialties. The bazaar is home to a number of restaurants and eateries that specialize in traditional Macedonian cuisine, with menus that are sure to leave you feeling satisfied and happy. One such dish not to be missed is the famous Macedonian kebab, a grilled meat dish typically made with pork or lamb and served with fresh bread and a side of ajvar, a savory red pepper and eggplant spread. If you're looking for something sweet, be sure to try some traditional Macedonian desserts like tulumba, a sweet pastry made with fried dough and soaked in syrup, or baklava, a rich and decadent pastry made with layers of phyllo dough and honey.
The Old Bazaar is also home to a number of cultural landmarks that are well worth visiting. One such landmark is the 15th-century Stone Bridge, which spans the Vardar River and serves as a symbol of Skopje's rich history and cultural heritage. You can also explore the Daut Pasha Hammam, a stunning Turkish bathhouse that has been fully restored and now serves as a venue for cultural events and exhibitions. Another highlight of the Old Bazaar is the Kapan Han, a historic caravanserai built in the 15th century to provide shelter for travelers and merchants passing through the region. Today, it has been restored and transformed into a charming complex of shops, galleries, and cafes.
CEELMDirect: I think I already know the answer to this, but just in case: What's your favorite book or movie about the practice of law, and why?
Georgievski: Without a doubt, my favorite movie about the practice of law is the one that ignited my passion for becoming a lawyer: The Devil's Advocate. The film tells the story of a driven young criminal defense attorney who finds himself grappling with a series of ethical dilemmas upon joining a prestigious law firm. Exploring themes of ambition, morality, and the nature of evil, the movie is anchored by a powerful performance from one of my all-time favorite actors, Al Pacino.
One of the most unforgettable quotes from the film comes from Pacino's character during a pivotal scene, where he delivers the line: "Vanity, definitely my favorite sin." It's a line that perfectly encapsulates the film's central themes, as well as the allure and seductive power of the legal profession.
As someone who has been deeply inspired by the world of law, The Devil's Advocate continues to hold a special place in my heart. The film features some of the most iconic depictions of legal practice ever captured on screen and offers a nuanced exploration of the complex moral and ethical issues that lawyers often face in their work. For anyone interested in the law or simply looking for a great film, The Devil's Advocate is an absolute must-see.
CEELMDirect: I'm sold. Thanks so much for speaking with us!