ML: Why is a good lawyer or law firm with local knowledge so important for business in Poland?
BWHS: In the Polish business environment, the role of a proficient lawyer or law firm with local knowledge cannot be overstated. This importance stems from several critical factors that differentiate business practices in Poland from those in countries like Denmark, for instance.
In contrast to countries with a high degree of trust in government institutions, like Denmark, Poland's historical context has led to a pervasive skepticism towards both the state and individuals. As a result, in Poland, the cornerstone of business transactions is often a well-crafted agreement. Agreements hold a more pronounced role in ensuring security compared to many Western and Northern European nations.
Cultural disparities further underscore the need for local legal expertise. These differences can profoundly impact how issues are evaluated and resolved. Consequently, we strongly advise our clients to not only acknowledge these cultural distinctions but also explicitly incorporate them into their agreements.
A meticulously prepared agreement, coupled with a thoughtful, comprehensive process, can prove immensely beneficial for companies. It has the potential to save substantial amounts of money, foster a sense of security, and optimize time management. Our steadfast recommendation to clients is to consult with us extensively, particularly focusing on potential conflict points, and to prepare their agreements to adapt to the issues that may surface during trials and negotiations.
As a foreigner in Poland, one persistent challenge I've encountered is the intricacy of agreements. Could you please elaborate on your perspective as specialists in dealing with this complexity?
When it comes to the business landscape in Poland, the availability of legal counsel isn't just about having the financial means; it's about acknowledging and embracing the unique Polish culture and its intricacies. In Poland, the reliance on informal gentleman's agreements is less prevalent compared to some other cultures. Here, the cornerstone of trust and security lies in well-crafted agreements and expert guidance.
However, our perspective on a good contract goes beyond being a mere weapon in a legal battle. To us, a meticulously crafted contract serves as the proactive solution to prevent conflicts and resolve disputes swiftly and cost-effectively. In Poland, virtually any business situation has the potential to escalate into a courtroom confrontation. When business partners fail to find common ground and resolve issues amicably, litigation becomes the last resort.
Therefore, our advice to international companies operating in Poland is clear:
Prioritize a Solid Agreement: Invest in a comprehensive and well-structured contract right from the start to lay the groundwork for a successful business relationship.
Consult with Experts: Engage experienced legal consultants who understand the Polish legal landscape and can guide you effectively in navigating potential challenges.
Embrace Conflict Resolution: View contracts not just as legal documents but as instruments for preventing disputes and facilitating resolutions.
Communication is Key: Foster open and clear communication with your business partners to avoid misunderstandings and disagreements.
Prepare for Litigation as a Last Resort: While litigation is an option, it should always be the final step after all other avenues for dispute resolution have been explored.
Arbitration often stands out as a superior alternative for businesses – it's quicker and more efficient. However, it's advisable to consider incorporating arbitration clauses into agreements proactively, well before any disputes emerge.
In Poland, being proactive and well-prepared is the key to successful business operations and minimizing the risk of costly legal battles.
What alternatives to litigation should I explore when dealing with a potential legal dispute?
When faced with the prospect of a legal dispute, it's imperative for us to establish a partnership with our clients and act as trusted advisors. Building this trust allows us to provide tailored advice and explore alternative solutions. We often represent our clients in negotiations, and we approach the entire process much like a strategic game of chess. Every move we make is meticulously planned, anticipating our opponent's actions several steps ahead. In our experience, thorough preparation is the key to success.
Another element is always remembering that time is money. Therefore, we always seek efficient and effective solutions. Our approach to handling legal disputes is one of the most intriguing aspects of our work. It involves delving deep into the case, understanding the financial intricacies, and gaining a comprehensive understanding of the client's business, often to a greater extent than the client, their adversary, and even the judge. This deep understanding enables us to effectively present and advocate for our client's case before the court.
One notable distinction lies in the level of support provided by the Polish legal system compared to systems in countries like Germany or Sweden. In Poland, an assistant in court typically supports three judges, whereas in the latter examples, one judge has two assistants and a secretary. This disparity places a significant responsibility on the lawyer to present the case with clarity, professionalism, and persuasive language since the judge may not have the capacity to delve into all case details. This is where our expertise shines. We even provide our lawyers with an internal manual on how to simplify and convey complex legal matters succinctly. Doing so respects others' time and strengthens our ability to emphasize the key points in our arguments.
Is it reasonable for foreign businesspeople to have concerns about potential unfair treatment within the Polish legal system?
Absolutely not. There is no reason for a foreign businessperson to fear the Polish legal system, especially when they have proper representation. It's important to keep in mind that judges are typically occupied with a substantial caseload, and success often hinges on presenting your case effectively with the right tone and arguments.
Furthermore, a reputable law firm can often facilitate conflict resolution even before matters escalate to court. This should be the primary objective and a source of satisfaction for any company or individual involved in legal matters.
What factors do you attribute to your law firm’s remarkable success and continued growth? With a workforce exceeding 100 individuals in your law firm, what are the key elements contributing to your achievements?
Our success can be attributed to a combination of factors, with our unwavering commitment to excellence at the core. Some key elements that have contributed to our rapid growth and thriving reputation are:
Client-Centric Approach: Our foundational principle is delivering exceptional service. We invest the necessary time and effort in each client's case to ensure high-quality results and, most importantly, client satisfaction. When an opposing party, initially at odds with us, eventually turns to us for assistance or recommends our services to others, it is a testament to our ability to win trust through excellent performance.
Internal Optimization: Like any business, the legal field has processes that can be streamlined and made more efficient. We, as partners, have dedicated time to optimizing our internal operations. This has allowed us to handle cases effectively and respond to client needs promptly.
Reputation Building: As we grow, our reputation serves as a significant asset. We've observed that our size and diverse service offerings attract clients seeking comprehensive legal assistance. Our reputation becomes a key driver in acquiring new business opportunities.
Comprehensive Services: We take pride in offering full-service legal support. Our obsession with providing clients with a broad spectrum of resources, both internally and through external experts, ensures that we can address even the most intricate and specialized aspects of business law.
In-Depth Understanding: We hold ourselves and our practicing lawyers to high standards. Understanding our clients' cases and the financial intricacies of the companies we represent is a non-negotiable requirement. This depth of understanding allows us to effectively communicate and convince judges of the merits of our cases.
In summary, our success story is built on a strong commitment to our clients, continuous internal improvement, reputation, comprehensive service offerings, and a deep understanding of our clients' needs and the legal intricacies of their cases.
How do you successfully balance your role as managing partners with your active legal practice in serving clients?
In recent years, our growth has been remarkable. The members of our management board share a long history that dates back to our days as students, creating a strong foundation of positive emotions and interpersonal bonds. Although our individual journeys took us from Poznan to Warsaw through distinct paths, nearly 15 years ago, we collectively decided to build this company together.
The initial years were a learning curve, but over the past 4-5 years, we believe we've discovered our company's DNA. This DNA is rooted in principles such as treating people with respect, ensuring the presence of highly competent and motivated individuals who receive the support necessary to excel in their roles. We often seek external expertise from consultants to enhance our processes, refine our organizational structure, and facilitate continuous growth. Additionally, regular coaching sessions for our management team ensure we're on the right path.
Our office is distinguished by a remarkable working atmosphere and camaraderie among colleagues. Each partner brings a unique skill set to the table, which we recognize as a key driver of our success. It's crucial to underline that BWHS is not solely a place of rigorous legal preparation; it's also a place of trust, mutual support, and positive relationships that significantly contribute to our professionalism.
We are fully equipped to take on the most demanding challenges and provide comprehensive services to our valued clients.
Attorney-at-Law, Managing Partner, BWHS Wojciechowski Springer i Wspólnicy sp.k.
He steers the helm at BWHS Wojciechowski Springer & Partners, a premier independent law firm in Poland renowned for its dynamic approach. With over two decades of rich experience, he has been the go-to legal advisor for top-tier telecom companies, financial institutions, government-backed infrastructure projects, and innovative private equity funds fueling startups.
Originally an expert in litigation and consumer issues, he still plays a hands-on role in high-stakes courtroom battles. He masterfully manages mass litigation involving thousands of banking clients while supervising the robust corporate department at BWHS. Recognized for his exceptional skills, he has earned accolades from international platforms such as Chambers for dispute resolution and arbitration, Rzeczpospolita for consumer law expertise, and Forbes and Legal 500 for his prowess in white-collar crime cases.
His focus has recently expanded to business development, mentorship, and managerial roles. He collaborates closely with clients to devise strategic legal solutions that align with their business objectives.
Advocate, Managing Partner, BWHS Wojciechowski Springer i Wspólnicy sp.k.
Mirosława Żytkowska specializes in civil litigation, including commercial litigation and labor law litigation. She also provides day-to-day legal advice to clients in these areas of law. With over 20 years of experience, she has conducted numerous dispute cases involving acts of unfair competition, particularly in the telecommunication industry, complex commercial disputes, and representation of employers in labor courts. Her unique ability to identify and qualify complex facts in multithreaded cases spanning various aspects of business and law sets her apart. Additionally, she provides legal training to clients and is accredited to conduct Facet5 psychometric testing.
Advocate, Managing Partner,,
BWHS Wojciechowski Springer i Wspólnicy sp.k.
Mirosław Skrycki specializes in litigation and arbitration proceedings, particularly related to commercial trading, antitrust and competition law as well as criminal proceedings. His experience in this field includes, among others, the practice of law as an advocate, many years of work as an assistant judge in the Court of Appeal and personal experience in conducting activities in the markets related to investment processes, commercial and training activities. He has conducted trainings and lectures on substantive and procedural civil law, including among others postgraduate studies for developers organized under the auspices of the Warsaw School of Economics by the Polish Association of Developers, events organized by Puls Biznesu and Pro Futura Foundation. He has worked with Polskie Wydawnictwa Profesjonalne, Wolters Kluwer Polska, as well as with personnel consulting companies, such as Specialist and Friends, Idea! Management Consulting, ACCESS – Doradztwo Kadry Zarządzanie, and IMPACTIVE Key Polska.