In The Corner Office, we ask Managing Partners at law firms across Central and Eastern Europe about their backgrounds, strategies, and responsibilities. As the summer is likely to bring a brief lull, this time we asked: How do you tend to use the general downtime during the month of August?
Kostadin Sirleshtov, Managing Partner, CMS Sofia: With the general caveat that my personal utilization has been much higher every August for the past 20 years, and despite the fact that we see a similar trend with the entire CMS Sofia office, I am happy to share some of the “downtime routine” that we apply.
As CMS is offering a free-of-charge service for regulatory alerts called Law-Now, the team is usually busy putting together such updates in less busy times. Furthermore, as we aim to be what we call the Leading Relationship Law Firm, we are very often offering secondments to our clients, especially in situations where the need for extensive legal support is temporary. As collaboration between CMS offices is really deep, in periods of downtime, we also often provide assistance to our colleagues abroad. For instance, when the war in Ukraine started, our team there made itself available and we managed to complete many successful and challenging cross-border mandates. We also encourage additional qualifications for our lawyers, as well as ESG/CSR activities.
Andrej Leontiev, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing Slovakia: To secure continuity for the next decade and to cater to the needs and legitimate expectations of the next generation of lawyers, we commenced a major reconstruction project in our premises. The works on our new office will culminate in August and if everything goes as planned, we shall move into the refurbished premises in mid-September. We believe it will provide an amicable and comfortable, yet stimulating and environmentally sustainable workspace for our team and clients.
Gabriel Zbarcea, Managing Partner, Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii: When the present time is uneventful, I usually do two things. On one hand, I analyze the past – I check graphs, revenues, and expenses, compare them with past years, look at the lawyers’ efficiency, etc. On the other hand, I look at the future – I make plans: what projects, which clients, what new marketing strategy, etc. Then, as August is a summer holiday month, and I am an absolute fan of the Black Sea, each year I spend a part of my holiday on the fine sand of the beaches close to Constanta. I love the salty fragrance of the sea, the smell of fish, and the way the breeze feels at our seaside.
Ewelina Stobiecka, Managing Partner, Taylor Wessing Poland: In recent years it has been difficult to predict the intensity of our work during the summer. But it is important for us, first and foremost, that our lawyers and staff take time off during the summer to recharge their batteries. This allows them to rest and maintain a healthy work-life balance, which ultimately promotes overall well-being and productivity.
In addition, when workloads allow, we try to use the downtime in a variety of ways to add value for our clients. This period provides an opportunity for professional development, where our lawyers and staff can participate in training programs (now available even during the summer) and continue their education to keep abreast of the latest legal developments.
We also use this time to identify potential new clients, nurture existing ones, and explore new opportunities for collaboration. Knowledge management is also an important aspect, as this is the time when we update internal databases and create practice guides to improve knowledge sharing within our teams, and also with clients.