Once SLS became an Italo-Yugoslavian firm for all purposes, having welcome Serbian partners and associates in its rank and established an office in Belgrade, it also obviously started a specific recruitment program for Yugoslavian lawyers and trainees, who are considered no more as “foreign lawyers” for recruitment purposes.
As already mentioned in the Section on Italian candidates, in view of our current expansion plans, and the extraordinary importance we attach to human resources, we devote enormous time and effort in the selection of our new colleagues, and try to meet and evaluate as many candidates as possible at each quarterly cycle of interviews, taking especially into account those among them who are more internationally oriented and are more likely to bring a significant contribution to our practice.
Whenever a candidate having passed a first selection and obtained an interview with the Firm is not deemed suitable for any reason to our present needs (being for instance interested in fields of law we do not plan to practice), our way to thank him for his time is to do our best to advise him with regard to his future careeer, according to the best of our knowledge of the legal market, and possibly to address him to more appropriate targets.
While we have been very satisfied in the recent past from a number of “lateral hires”, and are willing to discuss taking on lawyers with medium-to-high seniority (especially where they bring along very specialised skills or a significant goodwill), most of the Firm’s new members join us fresh out of law schools, or even during their last term.
To apply with SLS, previous experience or the completion of your statutory training is therefore not a pre-requisite, and in any event is per se evaluated much less than other factors, such as your personal charm, your school and university background, your fierce interest and motivation in the kind of law we practice (a summarised description of which in Serbo-Croatian can be found here), your command of language(s), or your computer literacy.
New entries, independently from their seniority, are immediately admitted as full associates, participating from the very beginning in all phases of our work under the close supervision of a partner, including those involving contacts with clients, opposing counsel, courts and authorities.
In the process, before acquiring the status of senior associate and later that of partner, some of our new associates are usually given the opportunity – after a period of at least one year with the Firm and if they have not already done it in the past – to obtain “outdoor” experience, for example through a stage abroad with one of our correspondent firms, a master course, or a secondment to one of our other offices.
Moreover, we encourage and support our members in any academic interest they may develop (scholarship and legal practice are not mutually exclusive in our country), in their work as legal researchers and writers, and in their participation to international lawyers’ organisations. The time spent in such endeavours is valued on an equal basis with billable time, and taken into account in the periodic performance evaluations.
The investment made with regard to the selection and training of our new colleagues is, from our point of view, a guarantee of the Firm’s ability to survive and to expand, and it is rewarded by an unusually high degree of loyalty to the Firm.