CEELMDirect Profile Pick: A series of interviews with partners and firms with Premium profiles on the CEELMDirect legal directory. Today’s interview: Igor Zivkovski, Partner at the Zivkovic Samardzic Law Office in Belgrade.
CEELMDirect: Hi Igor, and thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Let's start at the beginning: What led you into the law in the first place?
Zivkovski: University usually begins at a time of ignorance about life and great interest in sports. I liked to win in sports and, at that time, I saw law as a competition in which I would be able to satisfy that need. Time has shown me that law is only in rare situations a competition, and that this element is not that important, but I am glad that my choice at that time fit well with my subsequent knowledge about life, which came much later. I have never regretted that choice and I am proud of it.
CEELMDirect: What was your favorite course and professor in law school and why?
Zivkovski: It is fascinating how personality and interests change over time. Although now my primary focus is Corporate Law, at that time I was most interested in legal and political topics, as they combined my three main interests – law, politics, and history – so my favorite course was Constitutional Law. I would not be able to single out one professor from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law as my favorite, since there were many of them who incorporated their values and knowledge into my personality – for which I am immensely grateful – but it is an honor and a privilege for me that through my work I have had the opportunity to associate with Professor Milos Zivkovic, whose style is special in its combination of exceptional academic knowledge and a practical approach.
CEELMDirect: How would you describe your job? What is it, at a fundamental level, you do for your clients?
Zivkovski: What I try to do – and I hope I succeed – is to bring my clients a sense of peace and tranquility and the knowledge that there is someone who really cares about their problems and needs. I do not believe in work-life balance in the legal profession. On the contrary, I believe that a reliable lawyer must be available to their clients at all times and that legal practice is a way of life, not a job. It is precisely because of such closeness that many of my clients have become my friends over time, which I am very proud of.
CEELMDirect: Do you personally participate in any ongoing or annual volunteering or charitable activities? Which ones, and why?
Zivkovski: As a lawyer, I believe most in the power of the word. Words are what can completely change the course of events, any misfortune, someone’s life, in the end. My volunteering activity is aimed in that direction: Before every Christmas, I write an anonymous letter to someone who I believe that with a little motivation can move towards success and joy, even though they are currently in difficult circumstances, and I describe what kind of life they can live if they work on it. I also send a letter with a gift to an institution where children without parental care are placed. I encourage everyone to do the same – it is real magic, that can make the world full of kind and successful people.
CEELMDirect: What’s your favorite book or movie about the practice of law, and why?
Zivkovski: I am not sure whether it can be considered a book about legal practice, but a novel that is very important to me is Franz Kafka’s The Trial. As part of compulsory reading in Gymnasium, in my most sensitive years, I remember being amazed by the fate of a small man against big and invisible laws, and my power, as I experienced it then, was precisely in mastering legal norms and integrating into that system. The most interesting thing is that even after so many years of practicing law, I do not think that I have mastered legal practice enough and there are still a lot of new things to learn, which keeps me curious and motivated.
CEELMDirect: Thanks, Igor. And continued success in the months and years to come!