Andrey Goltsblat for CEE Legal Matters about the start of his career


The Corner Office: Change of Practice

In The Corner Office we invite Managing Partners at law firms from across the region to share information about their careers, management styles, and strategies. The question this time around: Is your personal practice more or less the one you anticipated when you finished law school, or did it change somehow in the interim?

Andrey Goltsblat, Managing Partner, Goltsblat BLP, Russia:

"My current personal practice far exceeds what I could have imagined. I was admitted to the Law School of the Soviet Union Interior Ministry and graduated in Law with distinction. It was the time of Boris Yeltsin, when the USSR was collapsing and history was being created right outside my office at the first Russian Parliament, where I held the position of Head of Staff of the Constitutional Commission. In August 1991, tanks went out into the streets of Moscow and this saw the demise of the Soviet Union. In 1993, Yeltsin dismissed Parliament. The work on the First Russian Constitution was almost completed and he put it up for a referendum. It became Law, a new Russian Duma was elected, and I quit my job, as the enthusiasm had waned.

A new era of my career began. In 1993, bold foreign investors were seeking legal support in Russia. One of them was Mars, Inc., which desperately needed support for construction of its confectionery plant. I was introduced to them by their UK lawyers and tasked with making a land deal with the local Mayor for building a plant. They had been negotiating six months with no visible progress, so I stepped in. The UK law-governed lease they were negotiating was poorly translated into Russian and made no sense to the Mayor, so they got stuck. This was my first experience as a commercial lawyer and I didn’t have a clue about land leases, but I delved into the Land Code of Russia and drafted a six-page lease; in two weeks, the deal was done. I realized I could be a commercial lawyer, as this was a huge success for my client. The venture began and brought me to the point where I am today. Mars is still our major client."

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