In The Corner Office we ask Managing Partners at law firms across the region important questions about their unique roles and responsibilities. The question this time around: What was your favorite course in law school, and why?
Zoltan Faludi, Managing Partner, Wolf Theiss Budapest
Among many interesting disciplines, I always find the History of Law very interesting. I was impressed by the dynamics and the long-standing values featuring the evolution of law across the ages. Twenty five years ago I felt this kind of knowledge was something paving the way for legislative efforts even in modern society. Now when I, as a legal practitioner, look back to the past 10-15 years, I see that recent legislation has already become a history of law in itself. Just in the very recent past the Civil Code, all the procedure laws, and most of the sectorial legislation has completely changed. Hardly any substantial piece of law can be called contemporary and adequate for daily legal work. Today, in the competitive and fast-paced world of business, the skills and systems of effective monitoring of fast changing legislation provide a competitive edge. In today’s world even material from five years ago can be processed, analyzed, and researched only at a historical level. On a daily basis, following and continuously monitoring the development and the changes of legislation requires serious dedication from lawyers. Being able to understand and cope with these challenges is a different task for an office managing partner than it was 20 years ago. To be well-tuned, a new system had to be developed – and again teamwork comes into play: young colleagues are monitoring legal changes on the basis of a systematic allocation of legal fields and are sharing the relevant information with the whole team from time to time. By now this type of information source is integrated into their legal training. Though the fast-changing legal environment provides opportunities for us all to explore, some stability and transparency in legislative efforts are required to obtain technically mature and well-founded pieces of legislation.
Erwin Hanslik, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing Prague
Although I do not practice criminal law, I liked this subject in law school very much. It simply was not as boring as all the other courses. And it had a lot of practical content. I studied in Salzburg, where it rains a lot, and I often rode my bike whilst holding an umbrella with one hand. When I learned how easily one can end up in prison due to a bodily injury caused by negligence, I decided that I would rather get wet …
My favorite course at law school was Corporate Finance, taught at Georgetown Law Center by Professor William Bratton. The subject was quite tough for me at that time (especially the part on valuation of companies), but I loved the way Professor Bratton explained it with all practical examples from real Delaware court cases. He put it in the context of famous takeovers that happened in 70s, 80s, and 90s, and added small factual details that made each case really interesting and relevant. The teaching style was the Socratic method, which provoked heated debate among students, but required rigorous preparation and tons of reading each day.
Uros Ilic, Managing Partner, ODI Ljubljana
My favorite subjects include corporate, commercial, civil, and tax law. Choosing the most useful one – the course in civil procedure however seemed the most complete and immediately applicable in practice. It consisted of three parts, of which one was entirely theoretical, while the other two were practice-based. We learned the substance of the Contentious Civil Procedure Act by solving real-life examples with professor ex cathedra and at the same time we learned how to use the substance in practice, through the production of various pieces of legal writings from the field at weekly seminars in smaller groups. This well-thought system combined with regular attendance enabled me to learn civil procedure in a relatively easy way, while maximizing my comprehension of important questions and retaining a high degree of practical relevance.
Gelu Maravela, Managing Partner, Maravela | Asociatii
I thought this over and, although initially impressed with forensics and white collar crime, my final answer is logic. Logic and legal reasoning is one of the courses that I consider most useful, as in my opinion it stands at the very core of the clear and concise analyses and assessments we make in our profession. Although it is our aim, it does not suffice for an argument related to any legal matter to have or make sense. It must have pristine logic. I really enjoyed this course, from syllogisms with their premises and conclusions to inductive generalizations, fallacies, and the uses and abuses of analogies. It helped me a lot in structuring speech, ideas and strategies. On a related note, here is a quote by Blaise Pascal: “When intuition and logic agree, you are always right.”