How a small practice founded in 2007 by ex-Allen & Overy lawyer Grzegorz Woźniak developed into an esteemed and recognisable legal brand
Throughout our history, we have had one goal – for Woźniak Legal to be regarded as a centre of excellence. Our philosophy has always been that quality is king and that we need to provide to our clients a top class service. Today, we are an esteemed and recognisable legal brand in Warsaw working at the cutting edge of the most challenging legal disciplines. Each time I enter the office and look at the name ‘Woźniak Legal’ fixed to the wall, I feel pride and excitement for what we are building together.
Since I started my law firm in 2007, my main priority has always been the same: attract the right talent, train the talent and maintain that talent. 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 the Magic Circle law firm Allen & Overy: integrity, competence, dedication and loyalty to clients are common across the firm and are the bedrock of our practice. This is what sets us apart from other lawyers in Poland.
The decision to leave Allen & Overy 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 goal was to set up my own law firm which would focus on dispute resolution. I wanted to be like Gregory Peck in Robert Mulligan’s courtroom drama To Kill the Mockingbird
who played a defense lawyer Atticus Finch in the Deep South of the 1930s. My plan 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.
I also had a drive to be an entrepreneur, and to create something lasting for my colleagues and clients. I have learned during my Allen & Overy years that a good lawyer must have high standards. In law, you cannot achieve anything if you do not have the highest standards. Our job is always to try to be more skillful in the art of advocacy than our opponents.
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. Our expertise covers all area of commercial law which may be relevant for foreign and domestic investors, including M&A, company law, antitrust regulations, real estate, employment law and regulatory issues.
We also have a strong expertise in litigation. Our position was cemented in 2014, when we handled a much publicized landmark class action case on behalf of a group of luxury apartment owners in Warsaw against one of the largest Polish property developers. It was the first such class action in the country.
We were one of the first law firms in Poland to recognise the growing need for expertise in white-collar crime. We act for businesses and individuals in high-profile cases involving business crime such as fraud, forgery, bribery or corruption.
In addition to our commercial practice, we have also developed a top-tier reputation in private client which remains our special area of expertise. We have been ranked by both Chambers and Legal500 as leading law firm in Poland in this category. We are particularly praised for our work on property restitution claims following nationalization after the WWII. 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.
On 17 October 2018, the firm received the Highly Commended award by the Law Society of England and Wales for ‘Excellence in International Legal Services’ as the founder of New Circle network of law firms, which was set up by lawyers who worked closely together at Allen & Overy in different European offices, including Germany, France, Italy and Holland.
'What makes the network unique is the shared experience of close collaboration in a large number of cross-border transactions' - the judges said.
Our dream – for Woźniak Legal to be regarded as a centre of excellence - has become reality.