Does being a lawyer mean a career stuck in court or a law firm? Not necessarily!
byGroup General Counsel, Krakow
12 Feb 2019
Think that being a lawyer means that you have to work in court or in a law firm?
We talked to our Group General Counsel (GGC) friends in Poland to find out why it doesn’t have to be the case.
Hi all. So you're all lawyers, but you work in a bank. Is this a common thing? Jakub - I think it should be. What we do is very important for financial institutions. But yes: there is a perception that lawyers only work in court or law firms. Working here in the GGC has given me a completely new perspective on it.
Pawel - To give a bit of background to GGC, we actually started in 2008 with the intention of supporting various divisions globally. At the moment, we negotiate agreements, deal with the legalities around various products and assess investment funds. We also review data protection issues and support our business partners with operational issues too. It's a really exciting job!
Ettore - As a lawyer, you always need to try to increase your professional value. In other words, keep your legal expertise up-to-date. This is not only something you can develop by working as a lawyer in court. Working in a big company can also give you that opportunity.
How does UBS support your growth? Maria - Working here is both interesting and challenging. It’s inspired me to extend my knowledge in the field of contracts. As a matter of fact, I've decided to devote my doctoral thesis to this subject.
Ettore - In GGC, not only do I find plenty of opportunities to meet others in a role similar to mine, but I also have insights into how other teams and enterprises operate. It makes for a perfect hub for providing client solutions, where everybody is welcome to add a personal touch.
Jakub - Apart from the training we get, we also share knowledge with students. I’m one of the UBS trainers and ambassadors at universities, and this is also a great opportunity to develop my skills. We also make students more aware about various careers opportunities. Not so many of them know about teams like ours.
How’s the balance between your personal life and your work? Maria – As I'm currently working towards my doctorate, both worlds are pretty close to each other. But it was my job that inspired me to take on this academic challenge.
Pawel - Some people say you can't have it all – a family and career. As a happy father of two and a legal professional, I'm really glad of where I am right now. I can definitely say it’s possible if you have a supportive employer that helps you along the way.
What do you predict for the next generation of law professionals? Pawel - They should definitely consider various options and new paths after graduation. Coming back to the first question, legal and compliance experts are really important (and valued) in big companies.
Maria - Currently, I have access to many academic materials, interesting publications, professional comments and legal opinions. In addition, I get to collaborate with experts from whom I can learn a lot and with whom I can consult for my on-the-job negotiation cases. I think this is what the next generation will also do. I am sure there are still many new and interesting legal cases to come!