BUSINESS FOCUS: Demand for free legal advice increased in pandemic, pro bono specialists say

The use of AI in law firms, the CSR activities of law firms, an interview with Special Prosecutor Daniel Lipšic and gender equality in law firms are among the highlights of the latest Business Focus.

Lawfirms provided legal advice pro bono related to the negative impact of the anti-pandemic measures on retail.Lawfirms provided legal advice pro bono related to the negative impact of the anti-pandemic measures on retail. (Source: TASR)

In June 2021, The Slovak Spectator published its Business Focus on legislation. Here is your overview of stories from this focus issue:

How the largest law firms cultivate some areas of law

Law firms can help communities or society as a whole, and not just through their pro bono activities when representing or advising individuals or organisations free of charge. Many offices are active in other socially beneficial activities that are not linked with a specific client but still perceived as important by lawyers, for instance, because they enhance the quality of the legal environment.

For the first time, the Sme daily and The Slovak Spectator compiled an overview of the socially beneficial activities of the largest law firms in Slovakia.

How the largest law firms cultivate some areas of law Read more 

Pro bono: Unfair notices and groundbreaking asylum granted

Employees who believe they have been laid off unfairly are among the clients that several large law firms working in Slovakia represented pro bono in 2020.

This is the type of pro bono consultancy that appears most frequently in the overview of the pro bono activities of Slovakia’s largest law firms, compiled by the Sme daily and The Slovak Spectator for the Právo magazine with the rankings of the largest law firms on the Slovak market.

Pro bono: Unfair notices and groundbreaking asylum granted Read more 

Pandemic greatly increased demand on free legal advice sector

Large transnational law firms coordinate their pro bono activities on both a national and global level.

Helen Rogers is a London-based senior pro bono manager of the Allen & Overy law firm. On the national level, pro bono lawyer Barbora Olžbutová coordinates the pro bono activities of the firm’s Bratislava office. The Slovak Spectator spoke to the two lawyers about how they select the cases to be represented by their lawyers free of charge, what it means for the client when the work done by lawyers is voluntary, and what the red lines are for the company when choosing whom to represent.

Pandemic greatly increased demand on free legal advice sector Read more 

Artificial intelligence helps lawyers sort documents and protect sensitive data

Law firms in Slovakia innovate the processes they follow to provide legal services. At the same time, individual innovations correspond to world trends and predictions. Several offices have implemented tools that involve artificial intelligence (AI).

“I think that the next two years might be a turning point for AI adoption,” Mori Kabiri, founder and CEO at Counself, a company providing software and technology solutions to law firms, wrote for Forbes magazine in April. “AI algorithms are not here to replace lawyers but to equip them with the tools to automate daily repetitive tasks so that they can focus more on specialised tasks that require their creativity and intelligence.”

Artificial intelligence helps lawyers sort documents and protect sensitive data Read more 

Attorney-turned-prosecutor: Penal law can be an opportunity for large law firms

In the US, we were trained by dealing with specific cases, recalls Special Prosecutor Daniel Lipšic of his studies at Harvard University. The career decision to go into the prosecution service does not need to be final, believes the special prosecutor who took up the post in February 2021, until when he served as an attorney.

Attorney-turned-prosecutor: Penal law can be an opportunity for large law firms Read more 

They thought I was an assistant. Women in law still struggle with prejudice

Motherhood comes with the risk that the attorney will not have sufficient time to build her own clientele, or will lose the clientele she had built before going on maternity leave. Successful attorneys recommend that women maintain contact with law firms during maternity leave and that male lawyers go on parental leave to discover how a few months out of the office affects their expertise.

Women make up 42 percent of the workforce at the largest law firms in Slovakia. There are significant differences between individual firms, and it is not the case that only large transnational law firms automatically have a gender-balanced team. This stems from data the 43 largest law firms in Slovakia provided to the Sme daily and The Slovak Spectator.

It is not clear if the representation of women among Slovak attorneys is on the rise or decline because there is no systematic tracking of data.

They thought I was an assistant. Women in law still struggle with prejudice Read more 

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