It was not a long time ago, a bit more than 20 years ago, when the Warsaw courts were all in one place – in a monumental building at 127 Leszno Street (called Świerczewskiego then). The labor courts were located in the buildings of the mortgage court. There were 500 advocates in Warsaw and only 30 other apprentices when I was an apprentice. The Warsaw Bar paid salaries to the apprentices. All advocates knew each other personally. One of the advocate duties was a morning visit to the court – at a hearing or file reading, and then, let’s say from 5 p.m. we started our two-hour office duties at law firms. There was a gap in the middle when I could go home. I could also get downstairs to the court canteen. It was located in the court basement at Leszno Street. You could meet anybody there, Siła-Nowicki, Olszewski, Wende1. I looked at them as you would at the heroes from epic Greek poems and I was extremely proud when they noticed me sometimes by saying “Hey, buddy, can you bring me my toga”. There, at the table, you could find out which advocate defended political prisoners and if he was a security services (SB) collaborator2. You could find out from colleagues about the most recent Supreme Court and Regional Court decisions. You could discuss the legal and political issues of the day. You could even bother a judge and ask him about the date of the hearing!
Everything has changed. A new profession of legal advisors emerged and the number of apprentices in one year exceeds the number of advocates from that time. There are more judges, courts and new branches of law. We spend more time with our computers than with other people. Everything for the sake of progress and modernity. I have no doubts that the changes are generally positive. But I miss the canteen… I miss the relaxed atmosphere and chats with my colleagues. I do not miss glosses in “Law and State” or gossip about “who is with him”. I miss chatting with my colleagues about the every day work of litigation lawyers, exchanges of thoughts and information. We are different, the world is different. The old canteen will not come back. But it is not the steak that it is all about. We can, and even have to try to integrate, discuss and exchange opinions. We want this blog, which we have just begun, to serve this purpose. We want to write about current litigation and arbitration practice. And we are not ignoring mediation. We will comment on legislative changes, court decisions, famous cases. We do not limit ourselves to the Polish environment. Our practice also refers to the foreign courts. We want to be updated with the events at the most important arbitration institutions in Poland and abroad, before which we act, and in Europe. In other words, we want to write about everything that we deal with and are interested in every day and share this with the readers.
I have already been joined by Dr. Rafał Morek, who will be writing about arbitration, construction disputes and mediation: Dr. Wojciech Sadowski, who will write about international legal aspects of cases regarding Poland and advocate Agnieszka Suchecka and Dr. Wojciech Wąsowicz, who will deal with court matters. Would you line up at our table? Please join us!
- Władysław Siła-Nowicki – advocate, political prisoner durian Stalin’s regime, convicted to death, subsequently released, anti-communist opposition, defender of political prisoners; Jan Olszewski – advocate, member of the anti-communist opposition and defender of political prisoners in the communist times, Prime Minister in 1991-1992; Edward Wende – advocate, defender of political prisoners during communist times, member of parliament.
- SB – Security Services – secret police in communist times in Poland.