Interview with former trainee: Czech lawyer Jakub Harasta is about to finish the last year of Master studies in Law. He joined our firm in Latvia for 4 months and gained knowledge in international commerce law.
Q: Jakub, could you please brielfy introduce yourself?
A: I am Czech citizen, currently student of Masaryk University in Brno. Just about to finish the last year of my master studies. I work since 2010 as advisor and legal assistant in accounting firm and couple law firms. I have spent also some time in Lithuania as intern on Czech embassy in Vilnius, where I also studied law on Mykolo Romerio Unviersitetas. I am very keen for ICT law, I published several articles regarding this topic and attended conferences both in the Czech Republic and in Lithuania. Currently finishing my thesis on Cyber Security in Czech Republic and also applying for Ph.D studies.
Q: Sounds like your field is very specific. How come you ended up in our firm?
A: It is indeed, but legal education in the Czech Republic is very general. We can choose whatever we want, but the core stays the same – civil law, corporate law, penal law, administrative law, intellectual property and so on. I wanted to work in law firm abroad before my graduation and as long as I really enjoyed staying in Baltics I was looking for a high-profile law firm that is accepting foreign interns. That's how I found Valters Gencs law firm.
Q: Was working in our office in Riga beneficial for you?
A: Yes. Initially, I was really nervous. The core of the work stays the same, because you have to search for arguments, you have to deal with a lot of paper-work. That stays the same regardless of your workplace – huge firm, small firm. Difference was the level of clients. Dealing with McDonald's, Oracle or Alstom brings initially certain amount of shock & awe. I also visited Gencs Valters Law Firm's offices in Tallinn and Vilnius because of my work and I realised how great is the job that the firm is doing. I surely was impressed by all that, I learned a lot and I hope I contributed a bit of my part.
Q: What were you doing? Wasn't it difficult for you because of the language barrier?
A: At least I was sure to keep working only on all those big cases. (laughter) But now seriously. Of course I couldn't work on everything that kept pouring into the office because I barely know any Latvian at all. But as long as I am fluent in English, I understand Russian and French, I have never been bored. In a firm that big with such a huge international clients, even if you do not know local language, you're still going to be fine and get considerable workload on your shoulders. I was sweeping for arguments in intellectual property litigations, preparing registration of EU trademarks, dealing with some of our Czech clients etc. So the language barrier was definitely present but I doubt it made any difference. After all, Gencs Valters Law Firm is international firm present in three countries with different languages. Everyone there speaks at least two or three languages.
Q: Since September until December, that's four months. Would you consider going back to Latvia for longer period of time?
A: Well, not only Latvia. Whole Baltics is full of great opportunities. Despite being regarded as not a worthy business partner from the point of view of many companies from the rest of Europe, all those smart ones already realised that Baltic countries matter. Great offer can come even from there and I see no point why to refuse only based on prejudices. My internship in Gencs Valters Law Firm gave me a lot and definitely swept all my doubts about Latvia away.
Brno, Czech Republic