[Interview]: Cristiana Irinel Stoica, Ph.D – Founding Partner @ STOICA & Asociații
Since the last years have seen a steady growth in the number of law graduates and universities are getting ready to welcome their new students soon, we wanted to know some inside details that might also help aspiring professionals on their journey. We turned to Cristiana Irinel Stoica, from STOICA & Asociatii, to answer our questions about practicing lawyers, what it takes to be successful in this career and what the recruitment challenges are for a law firm.
1. How does the legal job market look like in 2016? How many students graduate from specialized universities and how many of them subsequently work in the field?
There are almost 28000 registered practicing lawyers (as independent attorneys or in partnership) in Romania at this moment. As early as 1990, there were around 10000 registered practitioners; therefore we may say there is a significant growth in number of law graduates. On average, there are probably around 100 to 200 law graduates per faculty of law, of which a few are public and others are private. However, the access to the law practice is subject to a serious examination organised, for the independent attorneys, by the relevant bar institutions of Romania-The Union of Bars and the county bars. Those who do not choose being practicing lawyers, may opt for a career as magistrate (judge or prosecutor), also subject to a very competitive examination or may register as in-house lawyer or, in limited situations, as public notaries. There are few others who do not practice law at all, and these ones choose to get into other business sectors.
2. What is the usual career path for a successful lawyer? What are the main stages a future successful lawyer passes through, beginning from college?
A successful career takes many years to build, starting from law school until a relevant experience is achieved in specific fields of law-e.g., family law, construction law, company law, administrative law, IP law etc. The choice for such specialisation is made when being a student in law and continues with practice during the studies, followed by a master’s degree or by a doctorate thesis sometime; scholarship in Romania or abroad may be a plus in achieving experience at theoretical level. Then, performance as practicing lawyers either in a law office or in an important institution or company may support the access to a further stage of practical experience. And above all, a continuous individual learning and consistent information from the legal field are a must.
3. What are the challenges of recruiting for a law firm, when it comes to both experienced professionals and junior lawyers?
The selection of good professionals by a law firm is a serious exercise. The applications are subject to an in deep (not formal) selection following the professional criteria proposed for this selection. Then, an individual examination is advisable, to observe directly the capacity and the profile of the targeted lawyer. Sometimes, this process could be longer or shorter, depending on the person who is examined. Also, a trial period is recommended, to observe how both the lawyer and law firm may accommodate in a medium-long term relationship. The result may be positive or negative, but if both parties are of good faith, transparent and work in close cooperation, they may all benefit of such professional collaboration.
4. How does STOICA & Asociații usually recruit? Is there an internal selection, do you take referrals into account, post job announcements on specialized websites or recruit future professionals when they are still in college?
Selection of lawyers by STOICA & Asociatii usually happens by recruiting students who have been practicing in the law firm for a while to check their capacity to work as a practicing lawyer and other professional skills. Once this stage is over, the lawyer has to pass the bar examination for getting access into the legal profession. And if this stage is also performed positively, then the lawyer may work for the law firm as junior lawyer and, after another bar exam, as an associate lawyer (avocat colaborator). Some of the lawyers opt for a long term career inside the law firm, and they are encouraged to develop their professional capabilities as practicing lawyers, enjoying of a good reputation.
5. What are some of the selection criteria for future STOICA & Asociații employees? What are the filters they need to pass and what are the relevant abilities in order to be eligible for a position in your company?
The first condition is to be a law graduate who achieved positive results during the studies. Second, they have to be open for a long term practicing lawyer career. Third, they have to show the capacity to work in a team, to provide serious legal examination of laws and jurisprudence, to have an easy learning spirit and to apply the theoretical knowledge in good balance with the practical approach on a case by case basis. They have to define the limits of their professional exercise and support the clients’ interest and needs within the limits of what the law prescribes. And, of course, they have to show respect for the professional institution to which they belong and provide permanent support to their colleagues in all the activities entitled to be performed for the law firm’s clients.
6. Why did you choose 1tedjob as a solution for recruiting?
1tdjob.com is an efficient platform which helps the business sector to identify the right person a company may need at some moment in time. It is a tool created by real professionals, which is of much help in the selection of a particular person to work for the company, since law firms work not only with lawyers but also with technical support-e.g. secretaries, paralegals. Also, this platform offers a certain guarantee that the selection process is seriously deployed based on a relevant analysis of the exact needs we may have and offers solutions for long term work.