In 2007 I left Allen & Overy to set up my own law firm which would focus on merger & acquisitions and post-transactional dispute resolution. My goal was to provide the same consistently high quality of service as the top-tier international firms, with whom we would compete, whilst delivering services in a more personalized and flexible way. That remains our goal today.
I also had a drive to be an entrepreneur, and to create something lasting for my colleagues and clients. The decision to leave A&O was not easy for me. I was agonizing when I put my termination notice on the table. However, I knew it was the right moment and that I had to do it; without this single step, nothing would have been possible.
My decision to leave A&O in 2007 (after 14 years spent with this firm) proved to be a great success. I have never regretted it. Each time I enter my firm and look at the name ‘Woźniak Legal’ fixed to the wall, I feel pride and excitement for what we are building together.
My main priority has always been the same: attract the right talent and develop our people. I am a great believer that it is people who create a successful business through their passion and conviction. I successfully recruited a group of young and talented people who were eager to adopt the values which I learnt at A&O: integrity, competence, dedication and loyalty to clients are common across the firm and are the bedrock of our practice.
Woźniak Legal has been going from strength to strength. We are regarded as one of the up and coming group of newer firms in the Polish market. In addition to our M&A and business litigation practice, we have also developed a top-tier reputation in private client, real estate and GDPR work. Given the increased demand for our services, we have recently added a serious litigation capacity to the mix. We are one of the market leaders in business litigation in Poland. Our competitive advantage over other law firms is that – in addition to our deep and thorough understanding of the Anglo-Saxon type of transactions and our ability to handle the most complex litigations – I also had the good fortune to be involved in some smaller cases and was able to argue typical commercial cases in front of various judges. I must say that this experience, for me, was invaluable. This makes us unique in the Polish market.
Private client is also our special area of expertise. We have been ranked by both Chambers and Legal500 as No. 1 law firm in Poland in this category. We are particularly praised for our work on property restitution claims following nationalization after the WWII, defamation and wealth planning for high net worth individuals. It was the skillful handling of a property case in Warsaw in 2012 that established our reputation as brilliant restitution lawyers and helped us to obtain recommendation for this type of work from the World Jewish Restitution Organization. We are proud that we can help families of the Holocaust survivors to remedy one of the greatest evils in the world’s history.
London remains our main point of reference, both in terms of quality of our services, the values and the approach. We have been very proactive in cultivating our firm’s links in the UK. In this context, we have been active participants in a number of seminars and events at the Law Society in London, including the seminar on the CEE energy sector and infrastructure which took place in September 2017.
In 2018, merger & acquisitions are at an all-time high. M&As are an exciting time for organization. Deals create a lot of heightened expectations for shareholders, customers and employees. However, all too often, what looks good on paper does not come to life. So, it’s more important than ever to understand how to make deals work for everyone involved to avoid damaging litigation afterwards.
After 11 years, we still have that same passion, vision, and a genuine enthusiasm for the business and for what we are trying to achieve together. I strongly believe that law is a personal business and that a lawyer has got to be a people’s person. In the end, it’s all about the people.
Grzegorz E. Woźniak