TOP LEGAL BUSINESS of the Euro weekly: Interview with Karel Muzikář

Karel Muzikář, Managing Partner of Skils, answered questions for the TOP PRÁVNÍ BYZNYS magazine (a special supplement of the Euro weekly) that were prepared by partners of sixteen extra-league law firms as part of a series of cross-interviews.

In which areas of law do you expect to see a significant increase in demand in the coming months, and in which areas do you expect to see a significant decline in demand for legal services?

In some areas, demand for legal services is likely to decline, especially in real estate and immovable property area. On the other hand, I expect to see an increase in demand for litigation and insolvency. However, I do not think there will be any significant changes in the upcoming months, I do not expect any big upheavals. Legal business, if it is built on a broad platform of various legal expertise, is naturally protected against this – work in one area decreases, but increases in another one. And that’s why it is important to have top-notch lawyers sufficiently knowledgeable in various legal specializations. At Skils we have those, so I stay calm.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge for law firms at the moment?

Speaking on behalf of our law firm, the biggest challenge for us at the moment is to find and address young and capable lawyers who want to devote themselves intensively to real advocacy at the highest level as a service to the customer.

How big challenge is for your law firm to expand the range of legal services and advice in areas on the border between law and management – see corporate governance, corporate compliance, ESG, etc.?

Frankly speaking, legal advice in areas on the border between law and management is not a challenge for us. This is an area that we are dedicated to for a long time. We have always believed in an interdisciplinary approach, and many of our lawyers are also educated in the fields of economics. I am, therefore, convinced that we are ahead of other law firms in this area.

How have you felt, or are you currently feeling, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic / energy crisis / war in Ukraine / inflation on your activities?

The law business, as well as other types of business, is of course influenced by such events and issues, but I cannot define what specific impacts the individual events and issues have, they cannot be isolated from each other. We understand them as a natural development of the business environment to which we must adapt.

On behalf of your law firm, what opportunities do you see for increasing hourly rates for legal services so that they begin to approach the standard rates of large law firms abroad?

I see the increase in rates for legal services as a natural trend reflecting the development of the business environment. Therefore, I expect that there will be pressure to raise rates in the light of current inflation.

Whether and how professional specialization of lawyers, and its deepening, is provided in your law firm?

At Skils, we have long supported lawyers who want to educate further and we try to accommodate them as much as possible in this respect. Therefore, we also provide them with financial support for postgraduate studies at elite universities in the United States of America and Great Britain.

How does digitalization affect the work of a lawyer?

As in any business, the law business is also experiencing an intensive use of new and modern technologies. Of course, this applies in Skils as well. If we get a technology that we find useful, we use it.

When it comes to finding new employees or collaborators: do you feel that employers’ demand exceeds the supply of candidates, or is it the other way round?

We clearly feel the oversupply, but unfortunately not the top-notch lawyers we are looking for. I have mentioned it before, but it’s currently quite difficult to find high-quality young lawyers who want to devote themselves fully to advocacy. Advocacy is a service, hard and dependent on the time needs of clients. When a client needs me, I have to be available to him/her. Unfortunately, such an approach is becoming rare for young lawyers.

Do co-workers have requests for so-called sabbaticals in your office?

I have not come across requests for a sabbatical recently, but historically we have agreed on a similar scheme.

Does your law firm have a profile on any social networks? If so, what is your experience with using this profile?

Skils has a profile on the LinkedIn social network, where we see a clear benefit given mainly by the specific environment and the composition of users.

The printed magazine TOP PRÁVNÍ BYZNYS is available together with the weekly Euro for subscribers  or at newsstands. The digital edition in PDF format can be found here.