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In my third year at law faculty, I went to Professor Bejček's lecture on competition law and ... I was lost. I was dealing with antitrust law as a student, as a trainee at the Office for the Protection of Competition, as an author of several books, as a lecturer, as a deputy chairman of the Office for the Protection of Competition, I worked at the court, until life took me to the legal profession. I like to learn how markets work, it fascinates me to be around great things. Competition law is the most, it sucks you in, but there is a risk it will drive you crazy. That's why I compensate: I run furiously and cheer a little less furiously at hockey games.
Petra Joanna Pipková
I actually hated the study of law, or law as such. Until one day my father told me, try one more year in Germany and, if you don't enjoy it even then, you can go and study something else. In Germany, I got on a course in competition law by mistake and completely fell for it. Although it is actually a question to what extent competition law is still about law and to what extent it is actually about economics, behavioural economics, sociology, psychology, etc. In any case, it is fascinating. Then, during a visit to a research library, my second passion caught my eye, and that is contract law. Thanks to the increasing number of damages claims for breach of competition law, I can finally link these two passions.
Why have I been practicing corporate law for fifteen years? The question should rather be "why on earth not?" Corporate law contains everything a lawyer can wish for. From the contractual agenda in the form of drafting shareholder agreements to the contentious agenda in litigating shareholder disputes in court or hostile shareholder meetings. From the clear-cut rules of mergers, demergers or changes of legal form (yes, I like rules) to the routine (and sometimes reassuring) small-corporate officialdom of changes of directors, headquarters or trading companies. If you add to this the largest and most importantly the best (!) corporate law team in Central Europe, you will understand why I have been with HAVEL & PARNERS since college. Oh, and I also play tennis, hockey, run, cycle and spend most of my time on the golf course looking for golf balls.
I've always liked photography, fast cars and new technology, which naturally led me to pursue a career in law in the areas of intellectual property - with a particular fondness for anti-counterfeiting, and information technology. Slightly outside these two fields, my other specialisations are consumer law, unfair competition, and contractual law focused on customer-supplier relations. If you can't find me in the office, I'm probably travelling and taking pictures in America's national parks.
When I was deciding on law school, I had a feeling I was going to miss something. I also enjoyed science and mathematics, and at grammar school I studied in a class focused on programming. So I added a degree in economics to my law degree. Subjects that repelled others, such as statistics and economic and mathematical methods, I really enjoyed. After school, competition law was a logical choice for me, but during my short stint at the Office for the Protection of Competition, I also “sniffed” at public procurement. Today, with hindsight, I feel that it all came together quite nicely. Competition law itself is halfway between law and economics. My knowledge of public procurement gives me a good understanding of bid-rigging agreements. Well, and programming? That's there too, only instead of using “if then else”, you use the terms hypothesis, disposal, sanction.
My path to law was not at all straightforward. My mother suggested studying it in my fourth year at grammar school without much success - I told her then that she must be crazy and I went to study psychology. But a year and a half later I was already sitting in seminars at the Brno Law School. Without being quite aware of how I got there in the first place, I found a liking for paragraphs. Among all the legal disciplines, I was most passionate about business and especially corporate law, which is what I am currently focusing on. My enthusiasm in this area has not left me to this day.
I chose corporate law as my major in high school. It remained my personal favourite during both my master's studies at the law school and during my postgraduate studies and rigorosis proceedings. I focus specifically on the area of corporate equity, which is very little covered in the Czech environment compared to the abroad, also due to the break of rational rules of commercial law in our country for almost forty years. Thus, to some extent, I find the re-discovery of the foundations and principles of capital companies for the Czech context very interesting even in this otherwise relatively conservative area.
You'll find me everywhere that smacks of the Netherlands and Belgium. And it doesn't matter whether it's culture, sport, gastronomy or law. Besides fries, herrings and cycling, it is also one of the most innovative regions in the world. I specialise in intellectual property law in modern (digital) society and I have a special interest in artificial intelligence and virtual reality. In my free time, however, I prefer activities where I don't encounter any technology (i.e. all outdoor sports in nature).
While studying at law school, I gravitated, perhaps out of laziness at the time, toward public law. I believed that within its framework all the rules would be clearly described in the laws. Then I got to competition law. I found out how naive I was. There is not much to describe in two paragraphs. Perhaps that is why competition law in all its complexity "caught my eye". Over time, I have become slightly concerned about how little fundamental rights and freedoms are protected in its enforcement. So I started studying constitutional law so that I could contribute to improving the situation. I would like to enrich the competition law section of the blog with insights from it.
I enjoy learning about the still unexplored corners of private law and the commercial aspects of our clients' practices, and I prefer to set up and negotiate any commercial agreements, especially those involving technology or intellectual property. My children still make me approach things practically enough and with an eye for detail, my penchant for playing the ukulele trains my patience and pursuit of precision, and travelling gives me the opportunity to take things easy. I try to make the most of it all when providing legal services, which I do not consider boring in the least, as some might think.
My journey through competition law began sometime at the beginning of my student internship when I was asked to define the relevant market of the anthracite coal. When they explained to me what a relevant market is (I knew coal from my granny’s cellar), I found that competition is a good fit for me. When not attempting to understand law, I’m a keen photographer and music listener (tending towards classical). As for my team affiliation, I am a Czech Philharmonic fan, supporting them both on their home turf in Rudolfinum and at away matches.
I should probably write that I’ve wanted to be Perry Mason in skirts and fight for the rights of the weak in courtrooms since I was a kid. But it wasn’t like that – I wanted to be a professional gymnast. I’m glad my dream didn’t come true and life led me to the law. Instead of the gym, I’m now competing in front of a judge, and the counterparty’s counsel is my opponent. I enjoy my work in IP litigation (i.e. litigation with an IP and unfair competition element) immensely because of its diversity and indeed because of the competition aspect. If I had become a professional gymnast, I would be long past my zenith – but I can still compete in the courtroom for a few more decades. And I’m grateful for that.
Law can be a good servant, but in its ignorance, it can also be a bad master. What pleases me most about it is when I can conjure up from a jumble of paragraphs a seemingly simple piece of advice that will be a good and sensible servant. I mostly specialise in health and pharmaceutical law in conjunction with personal data protection. I also like media and advertising regulation, and everything related to food (from paragraphs to culinary travel experiences).
I like to try new things, and my curiosity, which sometimes knows no limits, led me to photography. A good photograph tells a story. In the same way, people and companies write their own stories and I enjoy writing them with them. That's why I'm fascinated by the areas of advertising law and personal data protection, which bring stories to life. In addition, I specialise in contractual obligations and consumer law (including e-commerce projects and administrative proceedings) with a focus on the automotive and cosmetics industries. When I'm not travelling (or at least pointing my finger on the map), you'll find me in the water, on my bike or running, i.e. at a triathlon.
I still remember the day when my father brought home a telephone modem and I first heard the loud tones that this fascinating device made when connecting to the Internet. At that time I didn't know yet what all was possible thanks to this playing box, but after more and more intensive research with the care of a prudent manager, I gradually got to know all those internets that Mrs Věra Pohlová wanted to ban (Metro daily, 17 September 1999). Since I never excelled in mathematics or physics due to my legal background, law was an obvious choice for me to connect these two worlds. Currently, I specialise in information technology and intellectual property law, with a focus on the legal aspects of these areas in the context of the Internet. I like to spend my free time travelling, practising martial arts and cooking, but I also enjoy a good book or film.
All my life I have aspired to a career in journalism, but my father, brought up in hard-line socialist Russia, did not recognise any other profession than lawyer, doctor or engineer (ironically, he himself does not work in any of these fields). In the course of my studies, I jumped from one legal practice to another - constitutional law, international law, sports law - but nothing awakened a sense of purpose in me. But one day I thought, why not combine my natural curiosity and interest in new technologies with my future career path? And so it was that I found myself, a little bit by chance, at H&P surrounded by the best of the best. If I'm not working on comprehensive analyses for our clients, I'm probably watching AC Milan games, fighting with my cat, travelling to exotic paradises with my amazing girlfriend, or watching films or TV shows with a minimum rating of 80% on ČSFD.
Few people are lucky enough when their work becomes their hobby. But who can resist when you have the opportunity to deal with the icing on the cake of law such as FinTech, blockchain and cryptocurrencies! Of course, it's never a bad idea to spice up your professional day with the attractions of electronic legal acts, personal data protection or even IT law and TelCo. Relaxation is hardly necessary then, but if it is, I seek my peace by meditating in the forest.
As soon as I got the opportunity to do a one-year postgraduate course in European law in the Netherlands after my studies at a law faculty in Prague, I knew immediately that I wanted to specialise in international trade law, technology law and intellectual property, as well as related aspects of competition law. I started in the Prague office of a global law firm where I was also interested in telecoms and technology transactions, as we were going through the dot.com boom, and I had the opportunity to work briefly in London. In 2001, we founded our law firm Havel & Partners and I continued in this specialisation. After 2008, I formed our dedicated Commercial IP and IT advisory group, where we are now fully engaged in all areas of intellectual property, digital economy, e-commerce, fintech, drones, autonomous cars, blockchain and technology transactions and all possible types of commercial contractual relationships, both domestic and cross-border.
Even as a little girl, I was most interested in the fashion and cosmetics industry, and I helped my grandmother sew according to Burda magazine. In the end, I became neither a fashion designer nor a fashion blogger, but at least I chose a field of law that is closely related to fashion and cosmetics - intellectual property and especially trademarks. In my free time, I practice yoga, run, learn Hebrew, or get inspiration from Instagram or ELLE and VOGUE.
While most children are given picture books as their first reading, I entered the world of language and stories through ancient Greek myths. And there is no story that does not have its origin in history. That's not the only reason I started building my own story, inspired by the previous two generations, on my family's tradition of studying law. However, my love for history and stories has remained, so my professional interest is mainly in copyright law, and since I like to look for parallels, I am also close to EU private international law. In my spare time I like to play basketball or board games, practice historical fencing or plan trips to explore.
I first encountered competition law in my second year at law school in one of the last lectures on European law. Honestly, there is only one thing I remember from that lecture to this day: "I just hope I will not pull it out in the exam!" I didn't. At that time, I guess it was still fortunate. However, I am a person who really doesn't like not understanding something. So a few months later I had my best idea yet and enrolled in a course on EU competition law. And as the saying goes, who is enthralled by competition law never comes back. So here I am. And if I’m not, you'll probably find me on the dance floor. In my free time I like to dance salsa, bachata and urban kizomba.
When I went to college, I couldn't decide between law and economics. In the end, I came out just somewhere in between. Competition law is great - intellectually interesting, evolving, and relevant. In addition, I am very lucky to have good colleagues. If you didn't know, the H&P competition team is top!
I started studying law because this in fact was what I had left after having eliminated all the fields that I felt would not be right for me. Actually, it was also by coincidence that I became involved in employment law, which is my primary focus. It was when I needed to achieve some additional credits in university and signed up for an optional Friday seminar taught by my current colleagues on the employment law team. Employment law can sometimes be very inflexible, but it also presents challenges for us lawyers to find the simplest possible solution for our clients among strict rules. In my spare time, I like to unwind with a round of golf, by practicing yoga or watching any episode of The Office (the US version!) or Friends for the umpteenth time.
Law is my biggest hobby and I can't imagine doing anything else. What I enjoy most about it is that every day is different and brings new challenges. I specialise mainly in pharmaceutical and health law, which I interweave with the agenda of contract law, intellectual property law, unfair competition, advertising, and public regulation. In my free time I like to get to know other cultures through the study of foreign languages. I always learn at least the basic phrases before I go abroad on my vacation. If I had to move somewhere, it would be Switzerland.
Originally, during my law studies in Slovakia, I focused mainly on criminal law and I saw my future in this field. But in the fifth year, the combination of the attractiveness of the international element, the dynamism and the overlap with almost all walks of life caused a deflection of the course and I decided to further study competition law. In hindsight, I think it was a great change because antitrust is a constantly evolving area of law where you’re always learning new things, which I enjoy immensely. And lest I should feel sad for criminal law, the stakes are also high for competition law infringements.
How did I become a technology lawyer? My grandfather František hated lawyers. He was a mechanical engineer, he designed aircraft, and like my other grandfather and dad, he liked to invent. By way of explanation, my grandfather studied engineering in the 1950s, and law school students at that time were not usually among the nation's ethical leaders, and my grandfather often had clashing opinions with them in the dorm. After the revolution, however, the family needed lawyers because of the restitutions, so after some difficult experiences with lawyers as grandchildren, he called us in. He said: "I hate lawyers, as you know, but some of you should learn the trade. We need a good lawyer in the family." So I hit the road. Even in grammar school I was attracted to intellectual property law; I remember a lengthy paper on franchising and how I, who was not familiar with law at the time, was completely fascinated by it. At the law faculty, I naturally started working as a research assistant at the Institute of Copyright, Industrial Property and Competition Law. My passion for a field that naturally combines law (as a rather human science), business and technology never left me. That's why I'm where I am, doing what I'm doing. And I love this job.
I specialize in mergers and acquisitions, private equity/venture capital, legal audit and legal due diligence investigations, labour law and employee benefits. I have represented numerous sellers and buyers in mergers, acquisitions and restructurings in the Czech Republic. In the area of labour law and employee benefits, I have been involved in a number of projects, primarily dealing with contractual arrangements between companies and their top managers, restructuring of human resources, and setting complex employee remuneration systems.
I came to competition law in a bit of a roundabout way - through American history. Pretty soon it became clear to me that I wanted to know more about this field with huge implications for everyone's life - after all, lawyers are also consumers. And that there is a lot to explore in competition law!
I am the co-founder and managing partner of HAVEL & PARTNERS, which provides the most comprehensive legal and tax services on the market to more than 3,000 clients. With over 320 lawyers and tax advisors, and offices in Prague, Brno, Bratislava, Plzeň, Olomouc and Ostrava, the firm is the largest independent law firm in Central Europe and the most successful Czech-Slovak law firm. I focus on developing relationships with the firm's most important clients, strategic business partners and leading international law firms. I provide strategic legal advice and lead the firm's team in the most important, complex or sensitive client matters, from transactions to major litigation, in administrative proceedings and criminal matters. My services are sought by top Czech and Slovak entrepreneurs, investors and managers thanks to my extensive experience, reputation and exceptional work commitment, including unique contacts in the legal and business circles in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. I provide comprehensive advice to owners and members of top management of the most important Czech and Slovak private companies. In more than 20 years of legal practice, I have gained extensive experience through a number of high-profile Czech and Slovak legal cases, particularly in the areas of banking, finance and capital markets, M&A and joint ventures, private equity and venture capital; this experience also includes engineering, energy, transport, media and healthcare.
For a long time, the concept of IP meant nothing to me; apart from my duties at the faculty, I had not even come across a trademark, patent, or copyright. Because of my interest in this area, I had to travel to Germany, where I spent several years absorbing knowledge about patents, trademarks and designs in the practice of an international law firm. The world of IP is a rapidly evolving area in which there is always something to look forward to and I'm glad to be a part of it.
Lenka Štiková Gachová
I must admit that competition law completely passed me by at university. From the beginning of my legal studies (or even before that, due to my grandfather's influence as a police investigator), my dream was to become a prosecutor. It was only by coincidence and a nudge from one of my former classmates that I applied for a job advertised by the Office for the Protection of Competition, which was looking for new staff for the competition section. When I was hired at the Office for the Protection of Competition, I considered it a transitional experience. However, I was so engrossed in competition law that I have not been able to detach myself from it to this day (i.e. since I graduated from university in 2002). And why did it happen? Probably because I have always enjoyed mathematics and technical fields alongside the humanities. Competition law ties everything together. In order to apply it correctly, it is necessary to know how the different and very diverse markets work (from food sales to electricity distribution, steel production, etc.). Therefore, advising on competition law never gets boring, you are always discovering something new and new things to learn.
When I was a little girl, I liked to write short stories and tales that are still in a drawer somewhere. Although I did not pursue the path of a sombre writer, I returned to writing thanks to law, specifically when dealing with (extra-)judicial disputes. I spent part of my studies in Munich, Germany where I mainly focused, apart from ADR, on European law, IP, and mountain hiking. I continue to pursue these interests enthusiastically at work and welcome any opportunity to learn something new. In my leisure time I like to exercise, jog, bake, and discover new views from the mountain tops.
I specialise in the areas of banking, finance and capital markets, where law and the world of finance are naturally intertwined. I like to learn about previously unexplored corners of the regulatory aspects of providing financial services, and I particularly enjoy setting up business models for emerging FinTech companies. What I like about the legal profession is that I am never bored - thanks to the wide range of clients, every day is different and brings new challenges. And that's what I love most about this job.
The publication titled "Can a machine think?" by renowned scientist Alan Turing, and my first encounter with Pepper the robot, ignited a lifelong passion for the challenges of technology. This field, like any other aspect of human life, cannot do without belated state regulation, which encourages legal creativity in an unregulated industry. Information technology law and closely related intellectual property law and data protection are my daily challenge, which with each new case reinforces my curiosity and thirst for new information in this unexplored area.
I knew I wanted to go into the field of law when I was in elementary school. Of course, I had no idea what it would entail and expected the word "objection" to follow me more often than it actually did. Nevertheless, I am convinced that I made the right choice, and I continue to maintain my initial fervor. I have long focused on consumer law and legal specifics in the automotive industry.
In high school in the US in the early 1990s, I was most interested in politics. Law is a conservative discipline, and in post-revolutionary Czechia it was still too reeking of the past regime. That's why, after I returned to the Czech Republic, albeit with a Czechoslovak passport (the federation broke up during my stay in the US), I first started studying political science in Prague. After three years I also enrolled in law school. For two years during my studies I gained experience at internships at universities in the USA, Germany and Denmark. I also had an adventurous six months at the OSCE diplomatic mission in post-war Kosovo. After graduation, however, I began to devote myself fully to advocacy in Prague. Much of the work was done in English. Prague was still full of expats in charge of privatized companies. However, the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union gave me a new impetus - I had previously devoted my rigorous thesis to EU law. I won a competition and left my position as a lawyer to try my luck in Brussels, at the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition (DG Competition). I spent three and a half years there as an investigator of anti-competitive practices. I also went on unannounced inspections, dawn raids, to companies in various Member States, but I was still a bit bored as an official. So I took the opportunity to go back to the big advocacy, where I cannot complain about the lack of adrenaline. I do law mainly in the area of large public sector projects and I like to return to Brussels from time to time for work.
My first contact with pharmaceutical patents was in my childhood, when I had no idea what law was. My father, who worked in a pharmaceutical company, often mentioned news from the pharmaceutical world at home. This was one of the reasons why I decided to focus more on intellectual property during my law studies. The second reason was that during the Erasmus programme in Lisbon, we could only choose between English courses focused on intellectual property or other courses in Portuguese. And so I had no choice but to choose intellectual property. To my surprise at the time, new technologies became my passion and I have been pursuing them ever since. In addition to intellectual property and ICT law, I also like to deal with personal data protection and contractual relations.
I have always been drawn to music and as an active musician moving among creative people, I found a passion for intellectual property that led me to my specialisation in industrial property rights enforcement. In addition to this area, I also specialise in contract law, in which I like to focus on relationships relating to the development, licensing and protection of technology and related know-how, as well as FMCG and settings of contractual relations in the food industry. Currently on my radar are licensing proceedings before the Council of Radio and Television Broadcasting. In my spare time, I enjoy music and travelling.
I mainly specialize in the area of banking, finance and capital markets, especially in the area of regulation of FinTech companies. This field fully fulfills my passion for finding new ways and solutions to complex issues that at first glance have no solution. Alongside this, I also focus on litigation and arbitration.
I realised in early childhood that studying law and becoming a lawyer was the path I wanted to take. Over time, I have found out that I would like to apply the somewhat grey theory of law and paragraphs in a field that is dynamic, innovative and intertwined with our lives. That is why I have chosen the area of pharmaceutical and health law, which undoubtedly fulfils this.
Since I was a child I was interested in technology, so I took a technical direction of education, which I finished by studying at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Czech Technical University in Prague. However, due to my family tradition, I soon started to focus on patent law, which I still enjoy. I am a big fan of cars and motorbikes and in my spare time I like to go on motorbike trips, for example in my beloved South Tyrol. I am also learning to be a helpful and loving grandparent.
I had been exposed to computers and various types of technology since my early childhood and have never stopped to be fascinated by them ever since. One example that shows quite clearly the promise and interest of this field is the fact that we currently have more powerful devices in our own pockets than those that put mankind on the moon. Despite many of my childhood (and some successful) attempts to create websites, my programming skills are not at a level where I can help take humanity to another planet. So I found another way to pursue technology professionally - I went to law school.
My law practice is now mostly focused on pharmaceutical and health law. I discovered my interest in these fields during my studies at university, when I first started working in the pharmaceutical industry, and it hasn't left me even today. I gained experience in these areas not only in the legal profession, where I focused on corporate law and tax, but also in the association of pharmaceutical companies and during my internship at the Council of the European Union in Brussels, where I worked for the Public Health and Foodstuffs Department.
I specialize in court and arbitration proceedings, especially in the area of compensation for property and non-property damage, as well as in the area of sports law. In addition, I also deal with insurance issues.
In my work and personal life, I like to choose a path that is a little more difficult but more fun. In the office, I am most passionate about pharmaceutical and health law, on which I focus along with the commercial agenda, including food regulation, advertising, and digital technology. I spent part of my studies at the University of Antwerp, where I focused on European law. I was excited by my experience abroad, and so I went again, northbound – to study IP and life science in Copenhagen and to cycle through even more rain. I try to approach my work and what I can learn from it with the same enthusiasm. In my leisure time I like to run half marathons, bake banana bread, or travel.
I first encountered IP as a college student in the UK, where my classmates were happily drinking American Budweiser beer. As a proud Czech and a consumer of Czech beer, I was so outraged by this name that I decided to dedicate myself to intellectual property not only in my studies but also in my subsequent professional life. Now I mainly deal with trademark and design registration and therefore have the opportunity to help companies obtain protection for their products and brands. Working with fakes also adds an extra spice, where I get to see a lot of fun imitations of legendary fashion brands.
I specialise mainly in pharmaceutical and health law, which I dare say I did not choose, but it chose me. First I left Brno for Prague after graduating from university. I started as a young lawyer in state administration in the field of the supervision of medical products and medical devices. Although I left state administration after a couple of years, wherever I went I stumbled upon pharmaceutical and health law. Eventually I landed in the legal profession, whose more brisk pace suits me. Working with clients from the business world has taught me that the most valuable advice is clear, concise and fast. This is what I try to follow and suggest practical and simple solutions to clients. In my free time I like to play tennis or practice yoga.
What attracted me to law from a young age was its elementary and necessary presence in everyday life, culminating in the idea that with its knowledge I would be able to help all people. What began in high school as a fascination with the concept of human rights, turned into an interest and fascination with intellectual property law and e-commerce during my studies, which is my primary specialisation at our law firm. Since my studies in Luxembourg, I have been a big fan of space law, which I secretly hope will soon be added to the scope of our practice areas. In my free time I like to read, run, discover new places and spend time in nature, especially when I manage to be at home in Slovakia.
When Martin Bursík called me, as a village lawyer for the Green Party, after the elections in the summer of 2006, with an offer to become Minister for Legislation, I had no idea how long this topic would stay with me. I spent seven fruitful years in the legislative department of the Ministry of Justice and, mainly with Jiří Pospíšil, we reformed "half" of the legal system. Mainly the new civil law and criminal law codes remain in the mind of the public. I didn't really expect to stick to the legislative area with the "Havels’". But it's true. We monitor, we comply, but we also write. Now mainly the new Construction Act, the Digital Services Rights Act (447), and the SONIA/bankID electronic banking identity.
I chose to study law because of my affection for history, politics and social sciences. I am mainly interested in privacy and data protection law, together with consumer protection law. I prefer to spend my leisure time away from monitors and displays, travelling, reading, taking photos and doing sports, such as chess, which is fortunately now also considered a sport.
In our law firm, I mainly specialise in contract law and real estate law. I also like to dabble in other areas of private law or copyright law. In my spare time outside the office, you can find me on a grassy football field or hiking up a mountain, especially in the Slovak mountains. Outside of law and sports, I like to travel and explore interesting and unexplored places in Europe.
I never saw myself as an expert in administrative law and construction law. When I was studying at law school, I found these fields to be an incomprehensible well of theoretical rules. Actually, I don't even know how I found myself writing my thesis in administrative law, and I was honestly struggling with this phase of my studies. But then I started to practice administrative and construction law, and I have found out that it is actually a complex and multifaceted field that never ceases to surprise, always brings new challenges, and it is impossible to fall into a routine. In addition to administrative law, I specialise primarily in real estate law - from contractual relations to permitting processes, where I find a beautiful intersection of private and public law. So, friends, don't be afraid of administrative law!
Unlike most of my colleagues, studying law was not an obvious choice for me from a young age and I was also attracted to economics for a long time. Since I was never very good with functions, matrices or equations, I decided pragmatically for paragraphs and have no regrets. Within our firm, I specialize in financial market law and regulation. Eventually, I will get around to working with numbers on a daily basis anyway, and in a much more pleasant way.
For almost 20 years, I have addressed complex disputes in court and arbitration proceedings. I enjoy big challenges. That is exactly what dispute resolution offers. I have won disputes for clients with a total value of over CZK 100 billion. I specialise in IP and (economic and unfair) competition litigations. In the area of unfair competition, I have co-authored, among other things, a major commentary on the Civil Code.
Personal data protection, public law and public procurement was the obvious choice for me...although it took me a while to figure it out. For eight years I was a representative and for most of that time a deputy mayor with responsibilities in the field of education in a central Prague district with a population of 50,000. At that time, I already dealt with personal data protection within the municipality, in addition to personnel, budget and strategic planning, and I was able to see that there really WAS something to protect. So I focused all my energy on this area with a determination that was all my own. I am convinced that it is a long run today and every day. And I know that as long as hotels continue to scan my ID or ask what nationality I am without notice, I will always have something to do.
What I enjoy about law, and specifically the practice of law itself, is how diverse it is. It requires a lot of silence, questioning, and criticism to proposals of one's own solutions when seeking answers to complex questions. But at the right moment, it makes you to trade all of that for 'healthy courage'. To write and speak forcefully, yet politely and persuasively. It cultivates a lot of good in me. Curiosity, dynamism, creativity, rationale, but also self-denial and humbleness to difficult challenges. In the field of litigation and public procurement (as the basis of my specialisation), these are plentiful. Outside of work, I manage to balance it out. At a yoga class, over good food, in the culture and art of others, or just out and about; alone or with those I love most.
Start-ups, venture and private equity funds are the most interesting economic actors for me. This is because they offer a glimpse into an economic future based on creativity, the courage to start your own business, the freedom to make your business dreams come true and, above all, the ability to take increased risks. I'm happy to be part of this creative ecosystem, whether through transactional legal advice to founders, investment professionals or UBOs, or by founding my own legal-tech start-up for online B2C legal services.
I do not like information technology very much (because of the increasing dependence of everything and everyone on IT), I do not spend time playing (including gambling) games, and regulation, or its smoothest possible management (including personal data protection), interests me "only" as a legal phenomenon. However, I do believe strongly in the cultivating role of legal communities of states, like the EU, even though - or because - it is just pouring those regulation regimes out of all almost three dozen sleeves (because they are always backed by Member States and their governments).
Jitka Ivančíková Soukupová
I got to my specialisation - personal data protection - by accident. Well, rather, I got it as a punishment... and it was long before the GDPR became a debated issue. That was my beginning. Then I discovered the world of artificial intelligence, the world of software that already knows what I will have for breakfast tomorrow, what my mood is and what will make it better. Quite simply, the world of the Matrix and the use of our personal data has completely captivated me. Dealing with the thin red line between encroachment on personal freedom on the one hand and making life easier by using modern technology on the other becomes a fundamental philosophical question for every person. Contributing to the awareness of all aspects of new technologies is a beautiful mission.
Three years ago I was lucky enough to become one of the lecturers in the MBA Real Estate and Valuation course at the University of Economics, in the subject of Construction Law. Compared to my previous law practice (and legislative work with František on the new Building Act), I immediately gained a different perspective and a different form of joy. So much so that one of the participants told me with surprise that he had no idea how fun law could be. And it can. Well, is there any better entertainment for an evening than to read, in addition to Shakespeare, the brilliantly argued decision of the expanded panel of the Supreme Administrative Court?
It was almost a coincidence what brought me to the M&A department at Havel & Partners. Now, however, I know that it was one of the things that can change your life. Transactions and venture capital is what truly fascinates me about law. The combination of law and business is what makes sense to me and gives me opportunities to explore the unknown. I see a great professional and life challenge in improvement in these fields. Having been born in the suburbs of Zlín, I like to go back to Tomáš Baťa, and although I have no ambition to build an empire like his, I share his motto: ‘If you want to build a big business, build yourself first’.
Computers and technology have been a big hobby of mine since I was young. I studied technology fields for several years and later added a law study. Since the beginning of my professional life, I have tried to intersect these two worlds and therefore I have enriched my specialisation in M&A with the area of start-ups and venture capital, which is mainly focused on technology. The combination of the worlds of technology and law was therefore an obvious choice for me. At the same time, expanding and deepening my knowledge in the field of progressive business and transactional law is a constant challenge for me.
How best to use and test your acquired theoretical knowledge? Or, what they don't teach us at school! The possibility of simultaneously refining practice and theory offers students a unique chance to connect these two aspects in a deeper way during their study years. I'm in my fourth year at the law faculty and I'm approaching the finish line. So why did I choose Havel & Partners for my practice? Well, where better to sharpen your knowledge and connect it with practice than on diverse and interesting projects for the largest clients in the country. Commercial law? Technology law? Civil law? Practice areas in which I may also one day provide you with my expert advice!
I enjoy dispute resolution. Often, dispute matters are full of adrenaline and a fierce fight for the client's rights. But disputes are even more interesting because of their enormous creative potential - if the parties can unlock that potential, 'untangle' the dispute, and understand each other, it can be mutually empowering. Therefore, I have long been specialising in disputes, conflicts, and their resolution - first in the field of "conflict intervention" in conflict zones (e.g. in Northern Ireland or Israel/Palestine), and then in the legal profession (about 15 years of experience in resolving complex litigation, arbitration, and also out-of-court disputes in the Czech Republic and Slovakia). Even after all these years, I still enjoy this field and am pleased with every successfully resolved case.
What describes me? Probably the following quote: "Work in silence, celebrate in private. People may not know who you do business with, what you have, or how you got it." Ralph Smart, psychologist and author
Mergers, acquisitions, investments, venture capital - in short, everything around commercial law became my interest as soon as I started studying at university. Law with a focus on business is the right “coffee” for me. I like to study things that are not only the subject of academic discussion, but are also present in my everyday life. Then things flow naturally, and that's the way it should be. I have found a passion in investments and start-ups and I deepen my interest every day - through studying, working, but also through activities like running, listening to podcasts, spending time with friends and my dear ones. Simply, I love doing what is meaningful, thngs that help my environment, and what I enjoy.
When, as a young child, almost still in diapers, you are deciding what to do with your life (which is quite typical for people you meet in the legal profession), and at the same time the profession of a princess, a dustman or a rentier is somehow losing its charm, you may think: "How about a lawyer!" And if it happens that a similar idea sticks with you longer than is healthy, you will find after x number of years that you have found yourself in a law school overwhelmed by books and papers whose text is in many cases not very clear to you at first. That is my story as a lawyer. Perhaps such a course is also to be applauded, for when one subsequently, in the course of further study and practice, begins to penetrate with difficulty the complicated structure of texts, legal jargon, and other secrets of lawyering, he is aware of the intricacies that he has been taught to spout, and is then, in the better cases, interested in replacing them with human language. It is my hope that the articles on this blog from my “pen” and pens of my colleagues will also be a source of information that is created by the people, humanly, and for the people, despite the fact that we all have on our business cards that we are united primarily by success.
I freely admit that I have not wanted to become a lawyer since I was a child. I was more attracted to typical girly jobs like stewardess or actress, but I also liked the dustmen I waved to out the window every Tuesday morning. However, with hindsight, I realised that it might have been better to go in a different direction. So one day I went to the Open Day at the Faculty of Law of Charles University and it was clear. Law has been a hobby of mine for several years and I first encountered my current specialisation in IP at the beginning of my second year in my first student job at a smaller law firm. Although I really knew very little about it at the time (after taking two semesters full of history and Roman law), I understood that this would be the direction I wanted to take one day. If I had to choose a country to live in besides the Czech Republic, I would choose Sweden or Finland.
At the beginning of my journey into the legal profession, I had a somewhat romantic notion of the courtroom and me as "Perry Mason," objecting to the inadmissibility and irrelevance of evidence. After fifteen years of working in a broad legal scope and reality in a large corporation (where even the courtrooms were involved), when I was deciding what to focus on, what I enjoyed most, the choice was a little different but clear - data protection, compliance, and employment law. I'm simply most content when I'm around buzz, a lot of people, a lot of activities, a lot of technology, information and communication, of course, only the communication I request. And this is exactly what unites these fields. In my spare time I enjoy all things French - history, wine, French language, The Three Musketeers, fashion and food. That's where the romance lasted.
I specialise in competition law. When I started in the competition team as a student, I was worried that my specialisation would be too narrow. I quickly discovered that I was worried for nothing - a few paragraphs hide countless questions, problems and their solutions. In order to find the right one, it is also necessary to delve into the specifics of a given market and take into account its (often very dynamic) development, as well as the details of the client's activities and line of business. When I add to this the often quite action-packed course of inspections by competition authorities, I am not afraid that competition law will ever lose its appeal to me.
When I chose not to go to training camps with the Czech national under-20 rugby team so I could learn, my career as an athlete ended. So a few books down the road, I'm here to enrich you with insights from the video game industry. And when I'm not practising law, I'm hiking, playing sports, reading, or playing RPGs on the PC.
Ever since childhood I have been fascinated by the world of computers, all the wires, lights and other nonsense inside it. As the gaming industry evolved, I gradually built and modified my gaming computer until one morning it stopped working due to my “skill”. My enthusiasm for new technologies has not left me, on the contrary. The combination of law and technology represents a unique combination of two different worlds and a dynamic field of activity. You have to stay alert, and I enjoy that. I balance my free time between family, various sports activities, platform games and audiovisual content of all kinds.
The scope of my interests and activities does not match the time I have available. So I love to discuss anything interesting from law to travel to sports. As I have found from wiser heads, one always gets to the most interesting topics and things in life by chance. And so it was with my legal specialisation. My first experience with regulated markets started at Amsterdam Law School, where I went primarily to study European competition law, but regulated markets were also part of my programme. As a convinced supporter of the free market and the positive impact of competition on it, I had no idea at the time that I would one day be primarily involved in regulation, but after my return to practice, my specialisation gradually shifted to regulated areas of law, particularly pharmaceutical and health law.
Since my childhood, I spent a considerable amount of my free time on the computer. I was especially into PC games such as MMORPG and MOBA, but also standard single player games. It was this hobby that led me to deal with and follow information technology. Finally, I managed to combine my interest in information technology with a job where I focus on this field. I primarily specialise in information technology and electronic communications law, consumer protection, data protection and personal data protection.
Ever since I was a child, my dream was to help people and I aspired to become a doctor. However, it only took one hospital visit and at the last minute I applied to study law. After years of practicing law, I find that a lawyer can also help people, whether in realizing their goals or solving problems, and thus my childhood dream has retained its essence.
As part of my legal specialisation, I provide comprehensive advice to private clients and family businesses. These areas have a very strong human dimension, which is closely linked to the life stories and current family or other private situation of the clients. This is proof that even in a large law firm the most important thing is not lost with clients, namely their humanity, and individualised approach to clients. Coming up with sophisticated solutions for them and helping them to solve their, often at first sight unsolvable, problems in their personal and family sphere is what I enjoy and find so fulfilling about it. However, if I want to switch off a bit from this human dimension, I fill my working hours by providing services in the field of corporate and M&A law, where the human dimension is unfortunately sometimes hard to find. As I have also successfully completed my studies in hydrogeology and engineering geology and practiced it, the field of environmental and ESG law is a matter of the heart for me when providing legal services. Thanks to my studies and practical experience, I have a more technical and scientific perspective than most of my fellow lawyers.
I was extremely tempted to explore the world back in the days when it was only possible from the 100+1 magazine, and since I was not satisfied with one world, I became interested in all technical innovations from aviation to astronautics - technologies based on high speeds. Maybe it's a sign of maturity that one stops fooling around and tries to come back down to earth and slow down, so I noticed a law whose number was also 101: on personal data protection. Its modest mission, underscored by a fairly small volume of paragraphs, namely the protection of privacy, still keeps me awake to this day and it always amazes me how big the universe can hide in one small human privacy, which with more or less good intentions, is being invaded by technical conveniences that have long been moving at the speed of light. Humanity's journey to Mars is, in this comparison, a crawl between the natural laws of gravity, and while the 100-1 articles of the GDPR are meant to protect us from the ever-quickening effort to strip away our individuality, we must remember one thing: to remain human.
I already enjoyed competition law during my studies because of its complexity and diversity, so that's why I decided to specialise in it in practice. And because I managed to graduate faster than usual, I am extending my studies in the PhD programme in commercial law, where I am also dealing with competition law, with a focus on the digital sector and behavioural methods of targeting content on digital platforms.
Already when I first read Vojtěch Zamarovský's History Written by Rome in one summer day at a young age, it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue history professionally. After the Greek miracle, philosophy and other social sciences joined in. But being a smart child, I quickly found out that the only one of the social sciences that would support me and allow me to pursue the other areas in an amateur way (books are terribly expensive) was law. So now I'm a lawyer specialising mainly in the areas of intellectual property, drones, IT, gambling, business contracts, personal data and Internet law in general. This gives me a good excuse to be an expert in everything and nothing, because of course everyone understands that I can't focus on one area when I spend so much time becoming an expert in a completely different area of law. But don't tell anyone.
I believe that everyone should do what they enjoy and love. Well, that's why I specialise in information and new technology law, intellectual property, data and information, commercial obligations, and e-commerce.
After two years of dealing with the issue of public procurement, I came to the conclusion that I am too good for this field and that I had to make use of my repressed, magnificent creativity somehow. Therefore, I started to profile myself in the field of intellectual property, especially unfair competition, where creativity is often unlimited. And of course, like any woman, I am interested in tabloids and gossip, so to add to my repertoire of what I claim to be good at, I started focusing on protecting the victims of publicly spread gossip (only those who are bothered by the fact that they are written about, of course). Due to anonymous and therefore courageous expressions on social media, this field has, in my view, a great future .
It has been a long time since I first sat down at a PC at the age of four, smaller IT companies have become multinational corporations, start-up communities have been formed, cryptocurrencies have been created, but my enthusiasm for information technology has not left me, quite the opposite. Although I considered becoming an IT analyst or a system architect during my studies, I decided on the legal profession. So I now look at IT and overall client business from a legal perspective. In my free time I try to devote myself to sports, travel and cooking.
During my studies at law school, I became so interested in pharmaceutical and health law that I devoted my thesis to it, and my enthusiasm did not leave me during my time as a legal practitioner. In this constantly developing field, which includes, among others, contract, competition and IP law, one is simply never bored. I am also interested in corporate law. In my leisure time I like to play volleyball or ping pong, travel and experience new cultures.
As part of my studies at law school, I decided to diversify my life by studying economics. When I subsequently got into the field of competition law, law and economics came together in a very interesting mix that caught me with its brevity (a few paragraphs) and complexity (a lot of issues) and has stuck with me ever since. Outside of the legal world, I love volleyball in both active and passive forms and am a fan of superheroes and their worlds in comics.
Family law elegantly combines two of my favourite disciplines - law and psychology. The very frequent and quite intensive contact with clients, the possibility to be a support, a filter of conflicts, a shield, a negotiator and also a willow, which does not just keep silent and sometimes slightly (sometimes more) directs the client's view of the situation, are probably the main reasons why I like doing family law. I work with the feeling that what I do makes sense, that I am really helping someone, and the team of extremely skilled and inspiring people I have around me enhances that feeling. Although not everything is always sunshine. After all, every filter needs to be cleaned regularly, and I clear my head of extraneous worries by running around and mostly playing with chocolate while making homemade pralines, table chocolates and other confectionery.
For me, law is like climbing mountain ranges, rock walls or long runs through the woods. It is a challenge, fun and an opportunity to get to know the world around you and yourself better. Since I see life as one holistic experience, I naturally connect my "personal" interests and my "professional" specialisation. I have always been interested in modern trends, which is why my specialisation is, for example, personal data protection, which I consider to be the gold of the 21st century, or EU law in general, which often sets the tone not only on our continent.
When I came to Havel Partners after graduating from university in 2005, I was asked if I wanted to deal with M&A. Four years later, Jarda Havel asked me if I would take charge of pharmaceutical and health law. In both cases, I couldn't imagine exactly what opportunities these fields would bring. At first, all I could only see in my mind were the typical clichés of the chaotic life of the New York Stock Exchange and the pulsating operating theatres of teaching hospitals. The reality was even more colourful... Today I am grateful to have taken on these challenges, because in that time we have managed to raise a new generation of top transactional and life sciences lawyers and to interconnect both these teams. Thanks to this, I can now daily experience the compelling stories of Czech and global market leaders, which often inspire or challenge us. I combine law with finance, technology and business thinking. And I find that very enjoyable and fulfilling... it's an honour and a pleasure to be a part of this story.
I didn't finish my studies in history and political science and stuck to preparing for the legal profession. Since then, my ambition has been to be a good legal craftsman who does not succumb to the fachidiotism of a narrow specialisation. Although I am now more dealing with private law, I still have some interest in public affairs, so I find time for the right to information, including the register of contracts.
Since I was a child I liked technology and computers and for a long time I planned to become a programmer. That didn't happen, but I did eventually get closer to information technology. My primary specialisation is ICT law. In addition, I also specialise in other areas relating to the protection of clients' intellectual property. Moreover, I have a particular fondness for contract law, which allows a lawyer to look under the lid of his clients' real business and operations in more complicated transactions. And as business is increasingly cross-border, I enjoy dealing with these legal aspects hidden under the name of private international law.