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Know Your Lawyer: Katarina Kresal of Senica & Partners

Know Your Lawyer: Katarina Kresal of Senica & Partners

Issue 10.2
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An in-depth look at Katarina Kresal of Senica & Partners covering her career path, education, and top projects as a lawyer as well as a few insights about her as a manager at work and as a person outside the office.

Career:

  • Andersen Global Management Committee, Member, 2022-present
  • Andersen Global Country Managing Partner and EU Board member, 2019-present
  • Senica & Partners, Managing Partner, 2020-present
  • Senica & Partners, Partner, 2016-2020
  • European Center for Dispute Resolution, Founder, 2012-present
  • Ministry of Interior of Slovenia, Minister, 2008-2011
  • Parliamentary party, President, 2007-2012
  • Senica & Partners, Deputy Head of Office, 2003-2007
  • Western Wireless International Ltd., Director of Legal Department, 2001-2003

Education:

  • University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law, Law Degree (cum laude), 1996

Favorites:

  • Out of Office Activity: To round up a day, I like to go for a nice dinner, meet with friends, or watch a movie. To stay sharp and focused, there’s a daily workout routine. With a few days off, I like to travel, explore new lands and cultures, and read as many books as I can.
  • Quote:Quidquid agis prudenter agas et respice finem.”

Top 5 Projects:

  • Local legal advisor to Binder Beteriligungs AG in an M&A transaction. With the acquisition of BSW, the client became the largest company in the sawmill and solid wood processing industry in Europe (valued at EUR 460 million);
  • Local legal advisor to Graphic Packaging International in the process of acquisition of AR Packaging Group. The deal was complex and involved 15 countries (valued at EUR 1.2 billion);
  • Legal and tax support to Arnold & Porter and its group of lenders on the bankruptcy procedure over Cineworld Group PLC, the world’s second-largest cinema chain. The case required coordination between eight countries in the EU and Middle East (valued at EUR 1.9 billion);
  • Representing ASCENT Slovenia Ltd. in negotiations with the Republic of Slovenia for the payment of damages due to the unlawful decision mandating an environmental impact assessment related to a natural gas extraction project (valued at EUR 109 million);
  • Local advisor on the buy-side of Lumen Technologies’ divestiture of its EMEA Business to Colt Technology Services Group Limited (valued at EUR 1.7 billion). 

 

What would you say was the most challenging project you ever worked on and why?

Kresal: My biggest challenge was transforming our firm from a traditional local law firm into a full-service advisory firm present globally. Identifying membership in Andersen Global as the key turning point for our long-term business development strategy, restructuring our services and professionals to offer clients a full range of tax and other advisory services was a one-of-a-kind challenge.

And what was your main takeaway from it?

Kresal: The world is globalizing, and so is the legal profession. As Andersen Global CEO Mark Vorsatz says, “if you believe that the future looks like yesterday, you have already lost.” Global clients, which dominate the world, search for global solutions, i.e., global providers that can offer best-in-class, seamless, complementary services anywhere in the world. Law firms are no longer competing just among themselves but also with Big4 firms and other service providers with a one-stop-shop model. You cannot progress and grow if you don’t evolve and adjust to these new circumstances.

What is one thing clients likely don’t know about you?

Kresal: Probably – that I always wanted to be a medical doctor, not a lawyer, and when I last minute changed my mind and went to Law school, it was to become a judge, not an attorney. Evidently, my plans didn’t really work out.

Name one mentor who played a big role in your career and how they impacted you.

Kresal: Miro Senica, Founding Partner of Senica & Partners, significantly influenced my development as a lawyer, manager, and person, with his brilliant legal mind, excellent business development capabilities, and soft skills from which I could learn throughout my career. Leading by his example or helping in complicated legal challenges, he is always open to sharing knowledge and passing on skills to colleagues. His “we’re professionals, we do the work 100%, anything less is amateurism” and “there’s no shortcut to success” resonate with me in everything I do.

Name one mentee you are particularly proud of.

Kresal: In 2016, I started working closely with Maja Subic, Associate at Senica & Partners, as I’ve seen a lot of potential in her. We have worked together on the most demanding legal cases, focused on learning soft skills and developing leadership abilities. Maja has proven a ferocious learner, always eager to upgrade, which resulted in her promotion to Partner in 2022.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give yourself fresh out of law school?

Kresal: There’s a rationale behind every legal norm. Find the rationale, and you’ll find the solution. That’s the difference between understanding the law and memorizing it.

This article was originally published in Issue 10.2 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.

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