Walking around Oxford in wellingtons
I’ve caught you on a break between classes at the Faculty of Law at Oxford.
That’s right, I just went out to get some tea. Everybody drinks tea here. But they eat sweets or savoury treats with it, which is not good for you.
But cycling everyday is, and this is you only means of transport in this city.
The distances I have to cover are not large. It only takes me 15 minutes to get from my house to the University. Oxford is a small town. I live in the old Victorian district of Jericho. Before the war, there were factories here, rows of terraced houses line the streets where the factory workers used to live. The area is now a trendy district for young people and artists. The factories have been turned into coffee shops. The district is bordered by Walton Street and the canal. Water birds liviving along it make it ever so charming.
Lots of students everywhere and an atmosphere of studying, but also parties – it must be an exciting time for you, going back to university.
I still feel young, although perhaps I really am younger here (laughs). I have a feeling that I have an interesting road ahead of me, that I’m going to write so much, read so much, and study so much.
I came here as a visiting academic with no teaching obligations. That’s why I want to research my post-doctoral thesis on mergers and acquisitions.
In Poland, you are an expert on arbitration, and mergers and acquisitions. You are one of the founders of the GESSEL law firm. Why Oxford?
It was a natural decision. The firm was established 24 years ago, and initially only dealt with mergers and acquisitions. People needed reliable advice in this area. The firm has an extensive array of practical measures, enhanced with a strong academic and theoretical basis. The experience gained in the course of my practice, along with theoretical analyses of the cases I’ve worked on, found their way into my PhD thesis. In my post-doctoral work, I want to compare the solutions applied in England, but in the context of Polish law. The decision complemented my daily work. Why here? I have over 200 judgements on M&A transactions to analyse. There are only about 10 such judgements available in Poland. But I am in constant contact with the firm.
Why arbitration and mergers?
When I graduated, I started working for the Polish-American Entrepreneurship Fund. Acquiring companies was a novelty in the 1990s. I can still remember the first transactions I made. I learned through my mistakes. It drew me in and I studied this area of law for the next 20 years. I eventually got to the stage where I was appointed to arbitrator such cases.
Is being aninternational arbitrator an honour and the pinnacle of the career of a lawyer practising in this area?
Yes, it is. It’s a very demanding role. An arbitrator is someone in whom another businessperson has enough confidence to entrust the resolution of a dispute.
Have you settled into the atmosphere of Oxford and the university?
I purchased a piece of clothing that is absolutely essential in the English climate, namely wellingtons. I haven’t had a pair in years. It rains here all the time and there are over 20 nature reserves where I can walk around in my new rubber boots.