Part of RGSL story
Our law firm has been part of the RGSL story not just for the 20 years of RGSL’s existence, but even for a year or two prior to that. We represented the Swedish government in the establishment of the school and were involved in the initial feasibility studies and negotiations with the Latvian government and Soros Foundation which took place a year or two prior to the establishment of RGSL. We had represented the Swedish government in the establishment of SSE in Riga, and this led naturally to the work we performed to establish RGSL in 1998. Our firm is very proud of both projects, we were very excited about bringing these respected institutions into Latvia and the Baltics.
The next contribution by our firm to RGSL was in 2001, when we contributed “in kind” by donating a Volkswagen bus to the school. We wanted to assist the development of the school from a practical perspective, and after some investigation with the RGSL administration understood that the school could really use its own vehicle. I understand that the Volkswagen bus had a good long life and served RGSL well for many years.
Teaching at RGSL
Since 2008 we have been teaching the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) course at RGSL, which was originally developed as part of the Law and Finance masters programme. This course was an idea that Waleed Gumaa came up with in 2008 as he was developing the new Law and Finance programme. And, since M&A work had been the backbone of our firm from the time of our establishment in 1992, this made sense to us and we were happy to participate. As co-leaders of our firm’s M&A practice group, Zinta Jansons and I developed the course.
We taught the first M&A Workshop at RGSL in 2008. At the time it was an unusual experience for us, as we are not academics but practical lawyers. We have really enjoyed the course over the years. It is refreshing to be back in an academic atmosphere and interact with the students, as well as the administration and the other faculty at RGSL. The course has gone through different variations - from the beginning it was a master’s course, which we continue to present every year, but we also developed a lengthier bachelor’s level course. And as the course has developed, we have involved other colleagues from our firm to lecture with regard to their specific areas of expertise.
Apart from the M&A course I have had the pleasure of participating in various other events at RGSL from time to time. I have enjoyed the Open House events where I have had a chance to speak to potential students and candidates about what RGSL could offer them, and what life is like after graduation.
Working with RGSL alumni
Of course, when we are looking to fill positions within our firm, RGSL is one of the first places we look for young lawyers. Out of the 45 lawyers in our firm, more than 10 are RGSL alumni, including 2 of the partners of our firm – Pēteris Dalderis and Ivars Pommers.
We ve found that RGSL graduates have learned to research and think creatively and are able to communicate their thoughts very well – both qualities that are essential when working with demanding clients in the real world. They’re able to think practically, digest what the law says, understand the concepts, come up with the answer from a legal perspective, and then communicate that answer to a client in a way that the client understands. Those are some of the qualities that our firm looks for in the law school graduates we interview.
The Riga Graduate School of Law is part of our firm’s story and our culture – something I am very proud of.