Complete, positive support in crisis situations and in typical exigencies, translating into greater peace of mind, security, and time savings thanks to improved coordination of private and professional affairs”. This is the essence of GESSEL’s new Private Lawyer service, as described by Dorota Bryndal, the partner managing it.

So what is a private lawyer ? 

Put simply, a private lawyer provides comprehensive legal services to a private individual who benefits from the possibility of having different matters in her/his private, family, and professional life coordinated by a single trusted legal professional. Where needed, the private lawyer also recommends and organises consultations with experts in specific legal or financial fields.

What’s included in the service ? 

Advice in many areas, spanning privacy and image protection, family matters, succession management and planning, employment relationships, tax advice and planning, inheritances, and real estate. The degree of complexity within these fields may vary from drafting basic legal documents such as powers of attorney to actually representing the client in civil or family disputes or in criminal proceedings, including misdemeanours.

How did the idea of offering such a service arise ? 

At the risk of sounding trite, I will point out that we find ourselves living different lives, and living them ever faster. At the same time, we are becoming increasingly aware of our needs, and increasingly open to new legal solutions. Many people are pressed for time, and many have difficulty striking a balance between their private and professional lives. The fact that the legal reality in which we live is becoming more complex also renders us receptive to the idea of retaining a personal legal advisor; we are coming to appreciate the fact that, if we try to navigate the thicket of laws and regulations on our own, we risk getting lost.

How do needs for such services break down in terms of profession, or of gender ? 

Our research suggests that women are more likely than men to find the private lawyer service to be of interest. While both groups declare interest in benefiting from the services of an experienced personal legal advisor, women are generally more receptive to new solutions, and indeed to the legal service model offered by us under the private lawyer heading.

What traits are desirable in a private lawyer ? 

Research indicates that the most desired characteristics for a private lawyer comprise professional experience and, generally, experience with the affairs of this world (18%), a substantive approach (10%), and knowledge of different areas of the law (7%). Other desirable traits include openness, professional ethics, and a wide network of contacts. Our own experience bears out these results.

What kind of relationship does the private lawyer cultivate with her client ? 

The private lawyer service is more than legal advice in the classical sense of the term – it is more about having a species of legal caregiver with whom we may work on a partnership basis. This is a special relationship based on trust and on availability of the private lawyer. Private matters, as opposed to purely professional ones, typically involve a greater emotional aspect; the private lawyer relationship accommodates these emotions and manages them in a wise way. The private lawyer and her client work together to devise a plan of action enabling attainment of the set objective without resorting to drastic measures. The client should benefit from maximum safety and peace of mind.

Ewa Chmielarz, Sense of Beauty